Cats and heroes

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Le petit chat et la petite heroine (The little cat and the little heroine)

 

I was at my in-laws family house for the summer holiday with my husband. My brother in law was around too with his wife and kids.

We were all bonding, swimming in the pool, cooking and eating together – generally spending some good quality family time together. It was a very warm, nice ambience.

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One of my favourite days this summer was when I went to Avignon to spend the day at the fabulous Avignon art festival.

I watched a number of theatre plays, watched many artists performing on the streets and my husband and I even had our portrait painted on the streets by an artist before finally leaving the festival at night.

When we got back to the family house called Pechibrand we were surprised to meet a strange little creature there, waiting for us.

We found a tiny, tattered, sick little kitten with my husband’s 9 year old neice – Roman.

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“She found it abandoned in the field some kilometres away from Pechibrand. She said she couldn’t just leave it there. She knocked on some neighbour’s doors to see if they owned it, but no one seemed interested in the cat.” My brother in-law explained this to us.

I was surprised but secretly admired the little girl for bringing the cat home to face judgement in a house full of disapproving human adults.

Nobody wanted the cat.

What are we going to do with it? Everyone wondered.

“There’s no way we can keep it,” my husband said, “It’s dirty and sickly.”

“No! No! No! There is absolutely no way that cat stays in this house. I cannot look after a sick baby cat. Absolutely not!” my mother in-law whined.

What to do, what to do.

No one wanted it, but no one had the hard heart to throw away the sickly kitten either.

Meanwhile, the kids who were in the house cared for the kitten, played with the kitten, gave it milk and did their best to make the cat feel at home.

I kept my eye on the children and the cat and made sure they fed him.

“We’ll send the cat to the animal shelter tomorrow.” My husband told me after everyone had discussed possibilities for the future of the cat.

I looked at the poor little thing that was causing such a stir in the house.

It was so little. Just a baby who didn’t know anything. Its large baby eyes looked infected, so were his ears and there were ticks busy using his body as a playing ground.

Poor little thing. I thought.

He looked disoriented and like he just needed some attention and food.

My heart wept for him and the thought crossed my mind to keep him and take care of him myself if no one else wanted to.

The next day my husband and the kids took the kitten to the animal shelter first thing in the morning.

To my surprise, they came back home with the kitten again some minutes later.

“What happened?” I asked surprised to see the kitten with them again

“They said they don’t have enough room for the kitten at the animal shelter. They asked us to come back and check again in three days’ time.” My husband explained.

Okay.

Something about the cat pulled tug strings at my heart.

“I don’t know how to say this, because I know your answer will be no, but I would really like you to consider what I have to say, and please don’t shout, just take it easy…” I babbled to my husband.

“What is it?” he pushed me to speak.

“Is it somehow possible that we could…that we could…maybe…keep the cat ourselves.”

“No way! What?! No! I’m not having it. Look at the cat, it’s sick, it can’t see properly, something is wrong with its eyes and something is also wrong with its ears. He doesn’t move much and he doesn’t even play. It will take a lot to care for a cat like that. That is not the kind of cat I’d like to have.” My husband replied.

“How sure are you that it can’t see and has all these problems?” I persisted (treading carefully).

We debated this issue over and over for about two days and finally it was as if an angel crossed my husband’s heart and he finally conceded to taking the cat but I could tell he was doing it just for me and he didn’t really fancy the cat.

I was ecstatic.

We took the cat to the vet a few days later and the vets ran some tests and gave the cat some medicines to take and some white powder for the tick problem.

Surprisingly the cat began to change slowly but surely.

The cat got better and responded to the treatment fast.

The ticks disappeared.

The cat had a healthy appetite, ate well and began to grow fast.

Best of all, the cat turned out to be extremely intelligent after all. More intelligent than most cats that most people come across.

It took me just a day to potty train the cat.

Then it took me just a week to teach the cat how to “sit” “jump” and “go to eat.”

The lovely bright ginger and white colour of the cat came out and looked nicer day by day.

So I decided to name him “Ginger.”

Ginger is so smart and so cool that unlike most other cats he responds immediately when you call his name.

He comes to you quickly.

In fact he responds too quickly so much so that when my husband and I are talking about Ginger we call him the cat and not Ginger so that he doesn’t come around. Wherever he may be in the house – as soon as he hears his name he stops what he is doing and comes around.

He looks up at you with his baby ginger eyes as if to say “Yes dear, can I help you?”

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He is so obedient and gentle and just too cool.

He follows me everywhere I go now, goes to bed when I go to bed, wakes up whenever I wake up, keeps me company when I’m cooking in the kitchen, he even follows me to the toilet and the bathroom whenever I have to go.

Ginger is incredible.

He has turned out to be such a gift.

His only kryptonite is that he can’t stand water. He hates it. He loathes to be washed and he loathes to drink water. We had to start adding water to his food so that he doesn’t suffer from dehydration because try as we might, he bluntly and adamantly refuses to drink water. This phenomenon is still a mystery to us.

Anyway, Ginger is now big, healthy and quite boisterous.

He has proven everyone wrong.

He is super playful and he runs about at the speed of light now when he plays so much that my husband asked us to give him a super hero nickname that depicts how fast he runs and we agreed to call him “The Flash.”

He is such a joy. A burst of sunlight in our home.

And guess what? My husband loves him so much now. They’ve become best friends!

But guess who is the heroine of this story?

None other than Roman. My husband’s niece.

Recently, on a visit at my brother in-laws’ he asked how Ginger was doing and then he proceeded to explain to me how his daughter Roman had ‘saved’ Ginger’s life on that fateful day when we came back from Avignon to meet little ginger eyes.

He said “I was looking for Roman all over the place and I was so scared that something had happened to her. I had allowed her to go to the town by herself for the first time that day and I suddenly had a panic moment and thought I’d made a huge mistake. I took my car and began to scour the road and area looking for her. Finally, on my way back home to pechibrand, to my relief I saw her. She was clutching this tiny kitten to her chest as if its life depended on it and you need to see the look in her eyes. She refused to let go of the kitten. She held it with her two hands and she had a furiously protective and determined look on her face. She said ‘I must save this kitten. I must. Or else it will die.’ She looked desperate and upset like a little mother hen and there was no way I was going to stop her. So I didn’t. She was a little hero. She truly cared about the life of this cat and wanted to save it.”

I said “She really is a hero. You know the vets told us that if we hadn’t rescued the cat and brought him to the vet he would have died soon because he had so many ailments already on his fragile little body.”

So thank you so much Roman for bringing joy and happiness into our house.

This one’s for you.

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There is something very special and deep about people who treat animals with kindness.

An animal can never repay you for any kindness or love you show it, so the love is really genuinely deep and unconditional.

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