I woke up one morning of February and was surprised to see four cute little kittens by the corner of our kitchen. It was a totally unexpected thing to wake up to and I had absolutely no idea where these cuddly, furry animals came from. A mother cat must have brought her offspring to us. That’s the only rational thing I could think of. Maybe because we leave leftover food at the dirty kitchen for our non-resident cat, Monty, at night for him to feed on but word got it to other village cats’ knowledge that food is available in our place and so they come, too!
I know. I’ve seen other cats feast on Monty’s meal at times. I don’t shoo them away but they are very hostile and aloof.
I thought smilingly, the mother cat was thinking that leaving her kittens to us is the best thing to do since food-- leftover food in particular-- is abundant in this house thus securing her offspring’s survival. You know, the kind of stories you see in telenovelas where the lead actress was pitifully left in the orphanage and the sisters would take her with open arms saying the baby was a gift from heaven…and would name the baby Annaliza or Flordeluna or Esperanza…whatever!
Like the nuns would take in the orphan, I would also love to keep those four cutie kittens and make them as pets but they’re just too many.
That day, I gathered all of them in a basin and fed them with milk and leftover tinola. The kittens were so hungry I could almost hear their stomachs roar. We played with the cats but they seem to be “instructed” not to mingle with creatures outside their own species. They would look you in the eye as if saying “back off!” They were so uncultured and anti-social that made me think these guys came from the slums! Nevertheless, they’re still kittens—all cuddly and lovely!
And the morning and the evening was the first day.
Mothercat was wrong into thinking that her offspring are better off left with us. The very next day, we put all of the kittens in a pail and my cousin drove them to the lake. And when he returned, the pail was already empty. He left the kittens near a pile of garbage by the lake. They’d be better off in that mound of garbage feeding on whatever there is, he argued. Poor cats? Hey, that’s their destiny!
And so we slept when the night came not feeling any guilt nor there was not a drop of love lost. Although I must admit, I wished they remained.
That’s not actually the story. Half of the real story is when on the next day, three new kittens, apparently from a different mother cat was found hiding underneath a wooden bench in the garden. What was surprising was not that there were new kittens but the fact that the house had become a hospicio for kittens whose mothers I jokingly supposed were now ready to flirt again! And what happened to the new kittens?
The first one was “retrieved” by its mother and we saw her coming back for the other two. But we shooed her away. We decided to keep the two as pets. One, we named Candace, after the pre-teen sister of Phineas and Ferb and the other, after checking on its genital, we gave the name Vanessa, after the daughter of Dr. Doofenshmirts, founder of Doofenshmirts Evil, Incorporated and the sole nemesis of Phineas and Ferb’s pet platypus Perry. Between the two, it was Candace that I liked better because she was so affectionate. She loved climbing up my chest and would fall asleep there. Not that Vanessa was less loving but Candace really struck me in the heart. She was the weakling between the two that’s why maybe I loved her more. I must admit, I loved Vanessa less.
Vanessa when she was barely weeks old
That would soon all change when Candace would die one morning. She was very weak and could barely open her mouth to eat. Yes, Candace was a weakling but not that weak as to barely stand up. I embraced her with my arms, kissed her, caressed her and rubbed my face against her furry body to no avail. She very soon left us. I buried her in the park. Again, that was destiny.
And so fate would have it that I was left with the last cat standing—Vanessa whom in time I learned to love with all of my heart, more than I ever loved Candace.(Sumalangit Nawa). And so Vanessa became my girl.
Or so I thought……
The next series of posts is a journey to what has become a love and hate relationship between me and my cat and all her misadventures that come along.