The cat who came back from the cold
She kept following me. It was boring. I’m the nervous type. She would come in silently and when I looked up, she was there, and I invariably started. She looked at me with her big green eyes, but didn’t make a sound. It amused his family (well, my family) to no end. I was visiting my sister during the Christmas holidays.
“She doesn’t do that with other people, you know. She must really like you,’ they teased me. I couldn’t understand it. My body language perfectly indicated to anyone who wasn’t blind, and she obviously wasn’t, that I didn’t appreciate her attention. It made no difference to her.
I was sitting on the sofa and she came to sit next to me. I took my breakfast at the table and she came to sit on the chair next to me. ‘What’s wrong with her?’, I would ask others. “What does she want from me?” ‘Oh, she just wants your attention!’ “but she got it from the rest of you.” So why does she follow me everywhere? Is it a dog? She might as well be, she’s so needy.
It was a cat. I always thought all cats were like Garfield, that they would only save their unconscious owners from a fire if the can opener was in the owner’s pocket. But not this one. She clearly enjoyed being around humans, even those who obviously didn’t like cats (or any other animals) around them.
phobia of dogs
I’m so not an animal lover. I have a real dog phobia, but even with other types of animals, I just don’t want them around me, even though they are cute and furry to everyone. I even suggested to my twelve-year-old niece at one point, hopefully, “maybe if I smash it with the mosquito bat…..?”.
The kid was horrified and looked at me like I was a serial killer who deserved to be turned over to the police, or at the very least PETA. ‘You can not do that ! She would die! What would you say if someone hit you with the mosquito repellent bat? »
I realized I had dropped her estimate severely and was quick to correct her with, ‘don’t worry. I wouldn’t do that. I only said that to piss you off. Personally, I don’t like people who are cruel to animals, even though I don’t like animals myself. But I could see that she was not appeased, and for the rest of my visit the child tried to avoid me as carefully as I tried to avoid the cat.
I’ve learned to keep my bedroom door shut tight so the cat doesn’t come into my room like it belongs to him, or even worse, (horror of horrors) climb into bed with me while I was sleeping. I kept jumping, but eventually I got used to her presence enough to stop demanding others lift her up and physically move her away from me.
As my visit drew to a close, I began to feel a little sorry for her. I would surely miss him when I was gone. Who would she follow now?
So I declared, on the last day, that I would caress her, so that my niece would be happy and that I could win back her love and respect. I would do it for the purely altruistic purpose of making my niece and the cat happy, not because I had suddenly developed a love for animals, I told my sister, lest she have ideas.
She was thrilled and took the cat and started handing it to me. ‘Whoa, let’s not get too excited, okay? I said I would pat her on the back, not hold her back. Put her on the ground. I leaned down with a little apprehension, and drumbeats reached out and patted her soft fur.
The princess looked surprised, then displeased, then walked away.
Shit, I waited too long. I should have tried that reverse psychology on her from the start. She would never bother me.
Sharmistha Khobragade is a freelance writer