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The Cats of Purva

I never did imagine that one day I would do a piece on cats. I never really warmed up to them, except maybe for the stray kitten. I was afraid of their claws and their steely gaze. They could stare back at you and play a game of who would blink first. I generally avoided them and especially if they were black. Never mind one’s pretensions at not being superstitious, no one wants a black cat crossing one's way.

But in life, change is the only constant they say, and certainly a change of heart towards cats was not an impossibility. It was my son who kept giving me daily accounts of the cats and kittens whose family were growing by the day within the precincts of our gated community. He tried to educate me on the various aspects of cat habits. And so, on my morning walks, I too began to closely notice these animals and their mannerisms. They seemed to have become quite tame, getting attention, milk and food from our housekeeping staff. You could see them relaxing or roaming around freely. They were a happy part of the surroundings.

When seen with eyes that were not so biased, these animals looked attractive and distinctive in their own way. Their colours were varied: black, grey, orange with different and interesting patterns. One had fur that looked like patchwork.

Another black cat had white paws reminding one of the Puss in Boots in children's story books.

But cats are cats and belong to the family of the big cats, the tigers, and share some of their characteristics. I am yet to get over a horrifying sight the other day. I saw this cat, crouched low and intent, its body taut, totally focused on something before it. Before I could comprehend what was happening, it sprang with lightening speed towards the wall, and came out and ran away with its prey in its mouth, a hapless fully grown pigeon. Before I could react to the situation, it had sped away into the parking lot and beyond, leaving me gaping and trying to catch my breath.

Nature alone determines the rules of the game, and every species lives and instinctively behaves as predetermined. I do not question that. But one thing I know: love, like from afar. For me, no cats as pets please!

[With due apologies to cat lovers]


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