Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Keeri - Passport for a Cat

Meet Keeri. There she is, sleeping on my front veranda in India. This kitten came to us asking for food, raucously, almost screeching at me. She knew her rights under UN regulations, I suspect. She was on the far corner of our garden wall. My son and I saw how skeletal she was and I asked him to stay with her while I ran inside to fetch milk and bread. I knew she would, at that moment, eat absolutely anything.

   'I don't want her taking up residence,' I said. 'We are leaving soon after all.' We left the food and escaped.

Half an hour later Keeri was on our front veranda step, talking about the weather, the cruelty of the human world, news in the feline towns... We ignored her. She just jumped into a lap and went to sleep.

   Me and my family , now, are definitely cat people, but we did not want another cat in our Croydon home. Two were bad enough. One, Pepper by name, strays on to the road and cars screech to a stop on either side of her. When she is lucky. One night she wasn't and lost half a hip bone. She is incontinent when scared. So about once a week there is cat-pee to clean up.

   The other, Boo-boo, my son says, is a mouth and an arse connected by an alimentary canal. She'll eat anything and needs constant food. Both think all the beds in the house are theirs and we are just allowed on them now and then. This morning Pepper woke me up at seven in the morning so she could go out for a wander.

   We named the new little one Keeri for mongoose in Malayalam. She has that charcoal-ash colour and a pointy tail. 

   This cat, now, is closer to the human genre than the others. When she sleeps on the bed, her head is on the pillow. When Saraswathy wants to remove my night-dress for washing from the bed where I have thrown it, Keeri hangs on to it. It's hers. Like a child's comforter. Saraswathy generally loses the battle.

   When visitors come, she unerringly picks the cat - people and abandons me. She is a promiscuous little one and I shall have to stand in line for her favours.

   The airlines want to know what breed Keeri is before they will transport her to England. Local, I answer. But that is not enough. Look at her, for heaven's sake. She is an unremarkable stray that can't even boast a respectable tail. But she knows how to wake up my grand daughter to play with her and run straight into a lap without brakes on, when the neighbour's dog barks.

   I am travelling next week and I face a week of jet lag. Keeri will usurp my rocking chair. I shall run around like a mad head-less rooster for her 'papers', but I can't wait to see her. I hope she doesn't mind the English weather. If she does I am going to hear about it. Loudly and frequently.

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