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Street rats.

I am officially an old cat lady.

I didn’t mean for it to happen. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

I blame it all on my evil friend, Chewy. He seems to gain no greater joy in life than to make me miserable. He’s a good friend like that. So when he found four kittens in his storage closet, he called me over in a tizzy. He was scared of the two-week-old mewling little things. We called the Indian equivalent of the Humane Society, Friendicos, and they whisked them off to the pound.

A week later, I went to check on them. The two cute orange rolly-polly kittens had been adopted. The two mottled, skinny, strange little black cats were left in a wire cage with dogs howling all around them, curdled milk and bread in a bowl and fear plastered on their face.

I took them home.

Since then, they have been nothing but trouble.

One kitten Chewey and I dubbed Bat because it looks like a Bat. Shrunken head, huge ears. She likes to bite everyone. The other one is overweight, hisses at strangers and jumps on my back leaving large scratch marks down my arms.

My landlord, who on our best days simply dislikes me immensely, insists the cats are omens of death. Every time they meow, it heralds her doom. Or her next-door neighbor’s doom. Or my doom. Whose doom it is varies depending on the day.

It turns out older Hindu women do not like cats. One friend said this was thanks to the old religious divide: Muslims are not supposed to have dogs, so they have cats. Hindus and Muslims agree to disagree on most things. So some Hindus–particularly my landlord–loathe cats. I love that even the most seemingly innocuous things have the weight of years here.

One night, the fat one decided to climb the window screen with her claws. It didn’t work. She fell, broke her leg. At 1am. We took a taxi an hour outside the city to an all night clinic. Her screeching was so loud, the poor taxi driver got so muddled up, he drove down the wrong side of the freeway for about ten minutes.

I took the cats to be neutered. The veterinarian left an ovary in the broken-leg one. He didn’t feel the need to mention that the operation had failed. It came as something of a shock when, a few weeks later, the cat still, well, you know.

That may be why she’s a bit on the chubby side. It’s the Italian mother in me. Though I’m neither Italian nor a mother. You feed the things you love to make up for the fact that you stick it under a knife, not once, but thrice.

The cats are annoying. They want love and affection and food and shelter. They wake me up at 5 every morning so I can watch them wrestle. They bring me gifts of dead pigeons and lizards. They destroy my newspaper every morning before I can read it.

But, what to do?Snapshot 2009-10-30 08-57-12

_RIM0030And now I’m writing blog posts about them. Sigh.


  1. Tron says:

    You should spray your cats with a spray bottle when they’re bad, and feed them Fancy Feast when they’re good. That’s what I do with Jess.

  2. raju says:

    having once had six, i can see where you are going with this…but where are the cats going, now that you are going?

  3. Anne & Sophia Park says:

    Your street rats are cute… Cant wait to see you!!

  4. Melissa says:

    Raju, six!?! They’re coming with me… Capital cats henceforth.

    Anne, nice try. Sophia did not comment on this blog. Sophia does not read this blog. Sophia does not know what the word “blog” is. But I can’t wait to see you!

    Tron, you light up my life.