I love animals! For the longest time as a child I wanted to raise a dog, but the confines of a middle class home hardly provided that kind of a luxury. My parents refused to relent, so I was happy to add a stray cat and dog to my list of ‘pets’. I had separate whistle calls for them both and yes names too, Brownie and Snowy (Ok I was 8; forgive me for being colour specific). Snowy was quite the flirt and before I knew it she had a litter of 4.  I was quite ecstatic to see my family grow, until one fateful day she was bitten by another dog and succumbed to her injuries. The kittens too did not survive for long without their mother, though I tried feeding them with an ink dropper and keeping them warm. Brownie on the other hand was taken away the following week by the dog catchers while I was in school. That was the end of my world as I knew it. Never did I ask to keep a pet again.

My daughter has been after me for the past year to get her a puppy. I kept telling her it was futile to keep asking since I wasn’t going to get into potty training ever again. Besides it was additional work and then vacations would be restricted to pet friendly places or favours from family and/or friends, something that I wasn’t looking at. And so it came to be, she asked and I refused, we had a pretty set routine.

She did have the most soulful eyes….sigh!

Sometime around November 2011, my soon to be 10 year old chanced upon a li’l kitten barely 3-4 weeks old. The poor thing was pretty scared of all the sacrificial goats in the vicinity (Bakri Id was around the corner.) Now Princess Ti as she is fondly called convinced me to give her a bit of milk, then some napkins for warmth and before I knew it I had agreed for her to stay till Bakri Id was over. The kitten was real frail with the cutest eyes though, so we tried to make her as comfy as possible. All this time, the warning bells in my head kept ringing in Dolby Digital, “She must go……she has to go!” Princess Ti on the other hand was quite happy to have this lil thing follow her everywhere. My husband too echoed my sentiments but a soft spot for the daughter made him wait till the time promised.

Can you imagine being beat by something that weighs less than a kg?

Fortunately Mondays have an uncanny way of showing up when you least expect it and it was time for the kitten to go. Though I was pretty clear that she should just be left in the building compound, my daughter was not yet convinced about her safety. Taking this to be a stalling tactic, I admonished her and told her to leave that pest where she found her. Heartbroken, Princess Ti took her to the building compound and left her, all this time her accusing eyes not leaving my glance for a single minute. Well, we live on the 3rd floor so I was getting a bird’s eye view of the whole farewell. Just then a similar looking cat arrived and began licking the kitten. I thought to myself, “That must be the mother, perfect, mission accomplished”.  

A loud cry from my daughter had me rush to the balcony, the cat was atop the kitten and biting it on its neck. I shrieked in horror as I yelled out to Ti to throw a stone, a stick anything in sight to scare the cat away. Ti managed to do just that while I ran down the flight of steps hoping and praying that nothing would happen to the lil kitten. I reached the compound to find her lifeless, with Ti crying that she was dead. I got her from beneath the car where she had been dragged, she was breathing slowly. I picked her up ever so gently, put her in a cloth bag and rushed her to the nearest vet I could trace via friends, all this while whispering to her, “Don’t die, please don’t die”. The clinic attendants were prompt as the vet attended to her wounds. She stated matter of fact, that since she was so little, the chances of her spine being injured for life could not be ruled out. “We would simply have to wait and watch over the week”, she said as she handed a list of medications to be given to her every 8 hours. The kitten was unable to move at all and in my mind there ensued a battle between fear for her life and the guilt for being responsible for her situation. We trudged back home to find my husband anxiously waiting. The evening mood was somber as I set the alarm for 3 am for the medication to be given.

Over the next one week, I dedicated all my energies into taking care of the kitten and would wake up at odd hours to ensure she took her syrups. She however was a feisty one! She insisted on moving from one place to another, dragging her body with her. She ate sufficiently and seemed to be responding well to medication. One week later we were at the clinic once again. The vet was amazed to see her recovery and told me in no uncertain terms that she did not expect her to survive at all. “The kitty is gonna be just fine. Do you have a name for her yet?”

Princess T and Tinkle cuddle together……..sniff….sniff….!
And just like that TINKLE had gnawed her way into our lives, back into mine. I’d like to say that we saved her life, but the truth is she saved mine. She is quite the queen of our home now, but those tales I’ll regale you with in perhaps another post. Till then, Tinkle Bells are ringing!



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