Have you watched the “Friends” episode where Phoebe calls Rachel Ross’s “lobster”. According to Phoebe, lobsters mate for life and you could see really old lobsters walking claw-in-claw in the aquarium tanks. Given that those words are coming from Phoebe, I will leave it to you to make up your mind on how authentic that is! Authentic or not, there are some loves that are just meant to be and seeing such a couple is always heartening.
Romantic antiques and heroic gestures are not limited to humankind. Animals too, surprisingly have their share of tales. Like the male dog who jumped over my neighbour’s 6-ft tall wall to father 5 pups.
What I am about to narrate is a special tale. As you might have guessed, this is a story of animals, especially the ones that live in my house.
I will start with Kumbhs (short for Kumbhakarna, a character from the epic Ramayana). He was one among a litter of all males, a rarity as cat litters typically include at least one female. They were three brothers, named Ram, Raavan and Kumbhakarna. Ram and Raavan were constantly fighting each other, reminding us of the epic rivals and Kumbhs was the calmer one and bigger in size than the other two (hence earned his name). We couldn’t find homes to place this set of kittens, so they grew up around the house, untamed and free. They did not like humans and treated us like minions appointed to feed them at scheduled times and did not show any further interest in us. So the typical vaccination, neutering etc. just did not happen with these guys.
As it usually happens with males, when they turned about a year old, there were terrible cat fights and they left home one by one. First to leave was Ram and then Raavan. Kumbhs was the last to leave. With our mother cat and steady supply of kittens, he had plenty of action, if you know what I mean. He was also the default big brother showering love on the new kittens, licking them all over and protecting them. But then about two years ago, he disappeared too.
We had all but given up on him. And then he showed up a few months ago, frail, half the size he used to be, but a much wilder Tom cat. Boy, what a home he came back to! It was nothing like the one he had left. He did not recognise the cats we have now and they were all either neutered or spayed and showed no interest in him. The only constant was the steady supply of food from the minions.
Disaster followed. Constant meowing and fights with the current set of cats. We did not know how to interfere except for keeping the home cats safe from Kumbhs.
Like all good love stories, here is where the twist comes.
One fine day, we found a new cat in our premises. A pretty little girl, completely confident and extremely friendly. We wondered how she managed to find her way to our house. (Not that we needed one more)
It took us a week to figure out. It was easy as Kumbhs and the pretty girl started appearing together; appearing together at meal times if I may be specific. Once the bowls were filled with food, Kumbhs would hiss at our poor cats, chase them away and proudly stand vigil until the pretty girl finished eating. He wouldn’t touch a morsel until she had her fill. And then they would spend some time in the sun, warming up together. It looked like they’d had found love and did not care about others any more. (Me)awwww…
So the saga continues and I am worried sick I am going to end up with a litter of kittens again, a possibility I had systematically eliminated (or so I thought). At the same time, the pretty girl is extremely good at looking cute and making you believe that she loves you – an art my other cats are not so good at.
They say that cats choose us; we don’t own them. So I reckon I have little else to do except to watch the days unfold. For all you know, she might be his lobster!