I have just returned from my daily early night walk, which goes up to 45 minutes or a little more and covers about three to four km (depending on my speed), and as usual end up drinking a warm cup of tea.
Later, I go up to our terrace, where our two cats – Ginger and Little – are eagerly waiting for my 15-20 minute stay with them. I’ve to pat them continuously, talk to them a bit and then leave.
Pets have indeed been longstanding partners in my life right from childhood. All were of course not ‘owned’ by me or our family. Many of them were stray, who came across your path and you interacted with them for a while.
But I’ve always enjoyed interactions with pets – whether they are cats, dogs, cows, birds or whatever. But we’ve had only cats and dogs as pets, though a lot of birds used to come and share some food, or even reside, at the various homes that we’ve stayed.
I aim to write quite a lot about the pets that I’ve had interactions with in the past, gleaning these facts from memory. But first about my current set of pets. Gayatri, my wife, and I live at our bungalow in Pune, and we have Ginger and Little as pets. They were brought by my daughter Natasha – now living in Wellington, New Zealand – after the death of Smokey, another cat which was brought home by our son Gautam.
Smokey was gifted to Gautam by Vandhana, my sister-in-law, who had picked it up from Mumbai. Ginger and Little were brought by Natasha from her friends in Pune.
Ginger and Little entered our lives maybe about eight or nine years ago, so the two wise cats are now ageing – like me, I must admit (though I might not use the word ‘wise’ to qualify myself)! Pets including dogs and cats, are voracious when they are young, possibly like us humans. They enjoy playing and fighting, biting and rolling and doing all kinds of stuff that are generally frowned by the aged – whether human, animal or avian.
Our two cats were looked after by Natasha during their early years and they were pampered no end. Unfortunately for them, after her migration to New Zealand in 2013, they found all that pampering had drained off. But fortunately for them, they were ageing, so it did not really matter.
Today, of course, it is the food that matters the most. And now during the winter months – when temperatures dip even below 10 degrees centigrade in Pune on most nights and early mornings, it is – grrr… – the weather.
Ginger is restless from early morning and when Gayatri heads to the terrace around 7.30 am to feed them, he wants to come down immediately and walk in our lawn or visit neighbouring bungalow compounds or the open plots. Little is the quieter of the two and would prefer to hide inside the large ‘room’ under the water tank and spend the early morning chill warming himself.
But sometimes he too is eager to come out and spend time with Ginger, looking not so much for food – they must have finished off a few generation of rats in our locality – as for whiling away their time in the grass, or seeking a comfortable place to spend a few hours.
However, the moment one of us steps out of the door, Ginger is there meowing, pleading, beseeching, crying (or inwardly growling). He wants his morning quota of milk. And he’s very selective about it. He does not like the cheaper brands of milk, but wants expensive ones – the Amul Taaza, homogenised tone milk in tetrapack, for instance, costing nearly Rs65 for a litre – instead of ordinary ones that cost about half. He literally snubs after sniffing the other little-known brands that we pour into his cup.
Little of course is not a milkey cat. He may sniff the stuff poured for Ginger, may even take a small sip, but no; so far as milk is concerned, he deals with it like a teetotaler would with liquor. Not my cup.
I hope to feature these two pets of ours over the coming days in the Pets section of my blog. But of course, over the next few days I hope to dig out some stuff about other ‘pets’ that were ‘owned,’ ‘found,’ ‘raised,’ or ‘kept’ by us at home.