Day 29 SOL19
So I’ve decided to bring her out in a slice, this fairly nondescript little cat, who if she doesn’t exactly rule my life, certainly gives me panic sessions when she goes ‘missing’ or disappears for too long, especially around meal times.
Because this is the wild west as far as pets are concerned. No one really understands what a ‘pet’ means. They have an animal, usually a dog and it hangs around their house, supposedly to keep thieves and strangers away and it’s fed on rice and a few other leftovers. Worming, defleaing, vaccinations, even a collar? I tried to buy a collar for our dog once and no one knew what one was. Dogs roam the streets here and cats are often tied up in shops to keep the rats and mice at bay.
I have lost one cat, hit by a truck when they finally put down black top on the road below us and he misjudged the distance because the truck was now moving much faster; I’ve had a kitten stolen (someone saw a man putting our kitten with his shiny blue collar and bell into a bag and never thought to stop him); I have a teacher whose neighbour used to put out rat poison and three of her cats have died. I think he’s stopped doing that, as she now has my cat’s brother and he’s still alive.
So I’m pretty thankful this one is very ordinary to look at, but I still think someone has tried to get/has got hold of her a couple of times, as she’s come back hours past her dinner time, scared and jumping at shadows. Our house is full of places where she could escape, so it would be hopeless to try and keep her shut in. So I let her go with a fervent prayer she’ll return.
I know when she’s on her way home, because she starts announcing her arrival about 50 yards from the house, even at five in the morning (her usual time) and again in the evenings. It’s a sound that delights my ears, because I know she’s safe. I think she just wants to reassure me!
I usually buy her fresh fish from the local market and as the guy chops it up on his block made from a tree stump, I wonder what he’d say if I told him, this is to feed my cat?! Cats usually get fed rice and scraps of dried fish here. I can’t stand the smell of dried fish when it’s cooking, so Ruby gets fresh fish! I supplement it with dried food and sometimes packet food that are available in the capital (two hours drive away).
Yes, she is the best fed cat in town and the only one who has been desexed, so she can’t populate the neighbourhood with more skinny, scrawny, flearidden kittens. Fortunately there is a very good vet in the capital where people have a little more idea how to care for pets and quite a few have pedigree dogs, bought at enormous expense! I sometimes get asked if we brought her with us (how to tell them that we just know how to look after animals?) I do use it as an example in the classroom of being responsible, so if you have a pet you must take good care of it.
Her best friend is our dog, they have a great relationship and she keeps Molly in her place although sometimes she humours her with a playful chase around the house or outside. Together they love snacks and crumbs of toast at mealtimes.
She is a great lap warmer and fairly friendly, though wary of strangers. Occasionally she comes into one of the classrooms, though too many loud squeals of delight at her presence tend to scare her back out. Currently, bird watching is her favourite pastime as it’s nesting season. Depending on the time of year she catches quite a few rats. Generally her night time victims are deposited somewhere inside for us to discover at breakfast time.
If only I could pack her in my suitcase and take her back when it’s time for us to leave.