I hate cats. I've always hated them. No, not always. I loved this one particular cat once. White and brown fur. She was beautiful. Not just beautiful, she was enchanting! Hazel green eyes, stunning yet frightening and claws so sharp that it could rip you off. She would come every day to our little cottage house in Nainital. I would give her milk and
regularly. I know it is not the best food for a cat; but staunch vegetarian
that my grandmother was, we did not have much choice. She did not seem to mind
the vegetarian diet anyway. The bowl would be licked clean by her, not the
tiniest bit of chapatti or smallest drop of milk sticking around anywhere.
She used to come over in the afternoons sometimes, sometimes in the evening. How I’d wait for her every day! I’d look forward to petting her, getting her a bowl of milk and
chapatti, hearing her meow as she
would walk around the house defiantly and making her sit on my lap (sometimes
forcibly, because she disliked bondage even if it came out of love) as I caress
my hands on her rich brown and white fur. Before I knew it, I was in love with
her! The agile walks, the magnificently fearless jumps she would make and
traverse several meters with just one giant leap of hers and those eyes,
although I admit they could scare me immensely but I had never come across anything
more stunningly beautiful! I would wait longingly, every day for her to come;
sometimes I went as far as going to the neighborhood to check on her when she
would not turn up until late evening.
I saw her hunt a rat once, a harmless little thing wriggling about playfully near the drains. She approached it cunningly, not making the slightest noise as it cautiously walked towards it and when she was close enough to grab it, she thumped it with her claws which made it squeak out in pain. As the little thing was trying with all its might to free itself from her grab, she hit it for the second time and when it ceased to breathe, she tore it with her canines and chewed it away with the utmost ferocity. I saw evil in her eyes that day! A soft heart, I had. I was an animal lover too. However, that day for some reason I could feel no remorse for the rat. I almost reveled at the cat’s victory, took pleasure in the satisfaction that she got out of hunting the rat. Love, I tell you, is a tricky thing! It can make beasts out of us humans.
My admiration for the cat grew with every passing day. She continued coming over to play with me each evening. One day after feeding her, I was trying to pull her into my lap to pet her. She wriggled out of my hands one time, I tried harder and pulled her more lovingly towards me for the second time. She turned her head wildly towards me, clawed me sharply on the hands, gave me the fiercest look ever and jumped away. She went far off my cottage in leaps and bounds and was out of sight in a few seconds. I was left in devastating shock! How could she do this to me! I was just trying to hold her for a while to caress her lovingly. How could she claw me and give me that devilish look; I thought it was meant for the enemies, but she met me with the same look. How could she!
‘I would not play with her, I will just give her food and then she can go back from wherever she came’, I thought. It was 5 o’clock. She was supposed to come by now. Maybe, she would come a little late. 6 PM, 7PM , 8PM ,9PM… hours passed by, the cat never came. I was hopeful that she would come the next day. The next day passed by, and the next, and the next. The cat never returned. I went looking for her in the neighborhood where she used to hunt about, but no luck. I gave up the search in a few days, but every time I sighted a cat, I would get reminded of her.
One fine evening, I was playing Hide and Seek at my friends place where I was hiding at the backdoor and there, I saw her! She was there! I was not mistaken. The same brown and white fur, thinning slightly
the skull and how could I forget her eyes!
She was out there for a hunt, I presumed. She was approaching the
kitchen door with the same cautiousness I witnessed long back when I saw her
hunt for the first time. I was right. She grabbed the rat with its sharp
canines and ate it off mercilessly. After having finished her meal, she walked
back and then, our eyes met. I could sense an air of recognition. She walked
towards me and stroked my legs amiably with her head. A moment later she jumped
athletically on a tree and was gone! My friend told me later that the cat recently
started coming to her place every day and she feeds it milk and biscuits. ‘Such
a beauty, isn't it?’ she remarked!
I felt a sharp pang of betrayal for some reason. I sensed at that moment that she did not hate me, but she did not love me either. She was not
bonded by emotions. She belonged to no one. She was wild, free and
independent. She was probably capable of love too, but not attached. She was
incapable of getting attached to people, things or places. I guess that is why
I started hating them, because I got too attached to that cat, only to get to
know later that I was replaceable, easily replaceable. It was not hatred, I
guess. Probably envy, I envied their free spirit. I envied their independence,
the way they are completely on their own, the way they can never truly belong
to anyone, the way they refuse to be owned and bonded, even in love. I guess somewhere
in a tiny corner of my heart I long to be like them-free, independent and wild!