A month before I got pregnant, Nadia adopted me.
She was a furry black thing, sitting in the middle of the road. I honked. She stared at me audaciously.
What’s that noise, she seemed to say. Take me home, she seemed to imply.
So off in my lunch bag, she went home with me. She took over in the next one hour. It was hers. Everything. Including the husband.
Time passes. I get pregnant. The inevitable question pops up from the people who inevitably ask it.
What are you going to do about the cat?
Actually, I am getting a playmate for her.
What? Another cat? Are you nuts?
Well, I will be busy for a few months when the baby comes. She might feel left out. She needs someone.
God! Never trust a black cat, they told me. And with a baby? Nevvvvaaaahhh…
Toxicoplasmosis. Vendetta. Spite. Jealousy. Asthma. Allergy.
They tried everything.
But I still went and got Bravo, the only three-legged cat I know. Who actually doesn’t know he has three legs. Legend has it (from the animal shelter I got him from) that Bravo had to be amputated when he was six weeks old as his leg was ridden with maggots from an injury. No one in the city was ready to operate him, as, ironically, no one was qualified to use laughing gas (nitrous oxide, the recommended anaesthetic).
Finally, after a few weeks of being shunted from home to home, office to office, he was operated. When he was barely coming out of anaesthesia, he decided he didn’t like the look of his foot being bandaged. He ripped it off and jumped.
Bravo, they said.
And that’s how he got his name.
Six months later, he got a baby brother. Re.
A year and a half later, I am so grateful. For cats. For the calm they bring. For all the times they have been his bodyguards when I was busy in the kitchen or on the computer or just off baby duty. For teaching Re what it means to hug. And cuddle. And nibble. And snuggle. And be independent. And move with grace and agility. For teaching him to share. Space, food, toys, us. For hating aggression. For being his most favourite toy. And never giving him a dull moment.
For all those dying to know about the dangers of bringing up a baby with cats, I have some news.
I still haven’t visited a paediatrician.
So here’s my life in cat.