Catness
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Catness

Feline Birthday

This is Jax. He’s one among a pair of kittens we had taken in two years ago, who were abandoned soon after birth. They were completely hand-reared. While the sibling sadly did not make it, our little survivor turned two a few weeks ago. Jax has made himself at home, adapting in his own feline way. Having been brought up by humans has made him one of a kind, displaying un-catlike behavior of playing with water, enjoying the rains, befriending crows, babysitting the young of all species — including plant saplings and kittens of other cats. But he’s as curious as cats can be — moving around the bookshelves, inspecting new workout equipment, and royally ignoring us when he chooses to. Whether early morning runs or late night reading, nocturnal pets are the best buddies. We’re so proud of our little fellow for pulling through and making it this far.

Jax at about a week old, still terrified of us and not wanting to be separated from his sibling. They can be so tiny and fragile, and yet so awe-inducingly persistent and strong.
Curious eyes trying to take in the new family. Early days, when they trusted us enough for food and shelter, but still kept to the balcony as a nearest getaway.
One of my bookshelves converted into a bunk bed, replete with cartons from book deliveries refurbished into kitty mattresses. The sibling occupied the upper deck.
At a few weeks of age, when the sibling passed away. The poor guy started spending more time indoors, desperate for any company around. Books seemed to be a refuge, where he could snuggle in among the shelves.
Friends for life. Replicating my own life growing up with books. He seems to have a preference for secondhand books, possibly due to the alluring smell of old books that human bibliophiles love, too.
The paw speaks for itself. My home library includes many animal-related books, and I can’t resist clicking his pictures with cat-themed ones. Though it’s best to keep cats away from kindles — even their feather-like touch can indiscriminately switch pages and alter settings. (The devoted reader in me can’t help recommending a book any chance I get. Do read this book by Natsume, if you haven’t already. Originally written in Japanese in 1904, ‘I Am A Cat’’ is a satire about Japanese society, narrated through a stray kitten.)
Self-appointed babysitter for the saplings. I began a home gardening project in the early days of the pandemic — planting seeds like tomato, chilli, lemon and mango from food available at home. Jax has been diligently monitoring them, observing sprouts and new shoots, and any addition or reduction in the number of pots. He takes his rounds twice a day, and sunbathes with the plants in the afternoons. Yes, he sits at the balcony door, and you can’t enter without him noticing.
Inactivity should not be disrupted. The poser living the good life, after all his struggles as a kitten.

My family has fostered several stray animals over the years, and even adopted a few. While we had dogs earlier, since the past few years it has been just cats. It’s so heartwarming watching them settle into a life after what they’ve been through. Even ones like Jax who were too little when we took them in to remember another life, but have made us so proud for surviving. These birthdays certainly need to be celebrated. Their lives need to be celebrated.

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