By Piu Sur

The list is short, but each of them is very special to me: Noddy, Coco, Simba, Bullet, and Foxy. I miss the cats. They have all gone, leaving me full of memories. It’s like when children leave home, leaving the nest empty. Each of them is different, with very typical mannerisms. It’s like meeting different people, each unique in their own way.

I remember meeting Noddy at my friend’s house for the first time. She was so small and scared. Now a full-grown Alsatian, she is thrilled to see me. Each time I visit, she’s there first, eyes twinkling. She understands and listens to all I tell her, always attentive.

Coco is different but warmest. When I visit and ring the bell, there he is, dancing on his feet, waiting for me to pick him up. It takes me a while to settle down and then take him on my lap. The welcome I get from Coco is beyond words, filling me with complete joy. His warm, soft eyes speak volumes and make me feel comfortable. Sometimes, I visit just to see Coco. He was adopted by a friend of mine and has been happily settled.

Bullet and Foxy are my street pet friends. Initially, they followed my son when they were very young. Even after my son moved to another city, Bullet and Foxy stayed with me. They can’t stand each other and often snarl. I have to sternly tell them to coexist peacefully on the front and back porch. They understand and follow. Foxy comes to nap in the back garden while I water the plants. Bullet loves samosas, and we enjoy each other’s company. Both follow me on walks and are equally protective. If they aren’t seen for days, I go looking for them. I enjoy their company, and it’s mutual. So little is spoken, but so much is shared.

As for my cats, it’s been a sad story. Mama cat came to our house as a kitten, upsetting my bin at first. It was a time when my son’s cat had died, and he was upset. I encouraged the new one to stay. When he shifted, the cat remained, growing up in the house like royalty. I went shopping for fish for her, and she, in return, gifted me with dead rats. She made me babysit her kittens, a chaotic time. Then one day, she stopped coming, and I searched for her everywhere. I suspect my angry neighbour sent her away. Her absence left me void, hoping she would find her way back home.

They are all part of my extended family. When they are around, it’s a good, happy feeling. Time passes by just being with them, a beautiful experience. It’s a strong friendship with rewards that touch the chords of your heart deeply.

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