Samad has acquired a pet. What is it?
I sent this to several people and back came the answers :
o a turtle
o a parrot
o a rabbit
o a monkey
o a hamster
o a guinea pig
They were all wrong. Only my sister Faridah gave the correct answer : a CAT.
Samad hadn’t been known to be terribly fond of cats. He would shoo Aida’s beloved Mushi out of the house whenever he misbehaved, but the smart cat would finagle his way in. Then Lady appeared with a seriously sick kitten. Its eyes were glued together with pus but the vet saved it with medication. We named it Mew. The gentle and affectionate creature that he was, Mushi treated Mew like his own.
When Aida came down with chicken pox, Mushi was her constant companion, leaving her room briefly mornings and evenings only to feed and do his “business”.
Mew grew up strong, sturdy and smart. He would amuse Samad by retrieving little balls or pieces of string he threw into the far corners of the living room.
But Samad was irked by the habit the cats had of establishing territorial markers. They would furiously scratch our sofas and “spray” our curtains. Samad would shout angrily and chase them out of the house.
But these exquisitely sensitive creatures got their own back. Samad’s bed was constantly soiled. Then Mew wreaked the ultimate revenge on Samad. He drenched Samad’s prized amplifier with urine.
So why would Samad want a cat?
We visited my sister-in-law Chik one day and the most gorgeous, long haired, ginger cat named Pasha, came towards us and mewed ever so sweetly to us. It then headed straight for Samad and gently rubbed itself against Samad’s legs. Samad was immediately and totally won over.
As it turned out, Chik’s daughter-in-law had a new baby and didn’t fancy having long, orange cat hair flying all over the house and smothering her precious little one. So Pasha was to be given away. Samad joyously jumped at the idea of adopting him.
We spent the rest of the day excitedly making arrangements to receive Pasha. We bought a large blue litter box and Catsan Odor Control cat litter, and bowls for his food and water. These we placed in our bathroom. Next came his sleeping basket complete with a sheet and small pillow for which we found a comfortable niche in our bedroom. We stocked up on his favourite food, Royal Canin fish, beef and chicken.
Pasha was a big cat, a Maine Coon also known as American long hair, with fat, furry paws and a bushy tail. His long, flowing coat was soft and silky. He had the sweetest face with a nose that was a trifle flat, and riveting black eyes.
It was amazing how quickly Pasha settled in with us. Very early on we learned he was not a “lap cat” and was not clingy. But he loved to hang out with us. He would purr happily when gently stroked. He would rush to the door and greet us loudly and affectionately when we got home after a trip to the grocer’s or from an outside engagement. But try to hold him and he’d squirm and run. Try to carry him and he’d growl angrily, snort, hiss and bolt.
Affectionate though he was, Pasha preferred to maintain a relatively independent existence. Companionship was set on his own terms. Some might be inclined to describe him as arrogant and snooty. We guessed he was the way he was probably because he didn’t have a prolonged intimacy with his mother.
Samad bought his cat toys and took delight in playing with him. Pasha’s favourite was a colorful wand to which were attached little animals. Samad would wave the wand and he would leap up at the animals and chase them endlessly. Catnip would make him go crazy with excitement.
Scratching posts of various shapes and sizes, made of wood and covered with carpet, were selected and placed all over the house. However, Pasha looked askance at the automatic water fountain and automatic feeder that Samad carefully chose for him.
One day I heard a loud commotion in the dining room. I ran down to find Pasha yowling and wailing menacingly at the neighbour’s cat, from behind a glass window! He had minor disputes with Whitey, the stray who’d visit us daily to feed, but they would be quickly settled by a hiss and a swat with a paw.
In his ninth year, Pasha survived a serious kidney infection. Today he is a senior cat. He has given up his high perch next to the gutter from where he used to watch the world go by. He’s not able to run after uninvited guests and chase birds and squirrels. He has stopped kneading our legs at night while simultaneously sucking our blanket. He now moves more slowly and engages in deeper and more prolonged sleep.
Each night he would sedately make his way up the stairs to our bedroom, head for his favorite “Emperor’s Chair” right next to Samad’s bed, curl up in it and go to sleep, very much Samad’s adored pet. />