I don’t remember when I started loving cats. It probably happened when I was very young – but the earliest memory was me scaring the cat at my old house. It scratched me pretty bad and that wasn’t a good recollection…
But I guess seeing cats everywhere even when I don’t own a pet made me grew to love them. Also, they are pretty much low maintenance (unless you don’t clean their litterboxes and they poop everywhere after that!).
My family has never owned a pet pet, some animal other than fishes (and the occasional frogs). Owning a dog is pretty much out of the question because there’s so much stigma against a Muslim family owning one (even though it is completely permissible to own one!). But my family has never had a cat… and it makes me sad because I find cats the most loving companion – but not the most loyal, duh!
However, these past few months led me to actually make a commitment to feed a cat on a constant basis. Perhaps the fact that I volunteered for the first few weeks of summer for the NTU Cat Management Network (NTUCMN) has helped me understand the commitment to feed a non-human’s life, one that cannot speak and may not understand your spoken language. During the short few weeks of feeding the campus cats (namely Hall 1, 4 and 6) with another volunteer, I got to understand the body language of cats… as well as accept their (not loyal) love when you feed them.
Then… came the stray cat under my house.
I live in a flat, where the first floor is known as the void deck. One day, I met this little scrawny grey tabby kitten, often terrified into the shallow drains near the open-surface carpark whenever the big cats appear (there used to be a ginger cat *RIP* and a black/white cat, only the black/white one remains). My neighbour who feeds the cats never got around to feeding this cutie pie because it is always hiding!
One day, I tried to feed the excess food (can’t really store and it would be a waste if I throw them away) from my volunteering rounds in school. She came to relished the remains and kept coming back to me whenever I was at the void deck. I took pity and ordered Fussie Cat‘s premium Fisherman’s Basket (the same brand NTUCMN uses) and Wellness Kittles from an online pet store.
She kept coming back. And never stopped.
She grew accustomed to my presence, because my house keys had a certain sound to it. And she grew to love the texture of my pants (SHE ALMOST RIPPED THEM APART WITH HER CLAWS).
I knew she was abandoned because no cats around my neighbourhood got pregnant. Unfortunately, my family wasn’t open to the idea of having a cat in my home. But that didn’t stop me from “adopting” it. I grew to love her, and hopefully, she loves me too. She’s currently pregnant, and I wished I had the money to neuter her. Had I known what to do… I would have probably had her go to the vet.
It’s been what, four months? And they still recognise me. I named the grey tabby cat “Sayang”, a Malay word for love. She actually responds whenever I call her… and it makes me happy to see her happy and healthy.
Hopefully, she’ll still be here for a very long time.
Till next time.