The Tale of the Cantankerous Cat

Cat (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

About a year after the wedding, my wife and I moved to a small flat, (apartment, if American). The area of Calcutta known as Lake Gardens sounds delightful. In reality the lake was man made, access to the area was via a congested level crossing of a busy commuter line or a massive detour around through Jodhpur Park. The apartment or flat (flat being less characters to type I shall use that from now on. It also rhymes with cat – the subject of our story, so American readers need only substitute the word “apartment” for the word “flat” whenever it occurs. It will help to watch the context, though. For example, in the sentence “The soda was flat” I do not mean the that the soda was an apartment. Right, now that’s all cleared up, on with the story) had no lake view, in case you’re wondering.

It was on the ground floor, had two rooms, a kitchen and split bath, where the toilet was separated from the shower. I wonder why all baths are not split like that, but, I digress and I see my readers beginning to fidget just a bit. A little metal gate led to a door at the side of the landlord’s house. The door opened directly into the little sitting / dining room. A door at the other end led to the kitchen, the bedroom and the rest of the house. The window to the sitting room overlooked the street outside and a tiny pocket garden separated the window from the side walk.

It wasn’t big, but ’twas enough for a couple of young IT professionals in the mid-twenties. We arrived with two suitcases and the landlord, who lived upstairs allowed us to use the sparse furniture that was already in there. A small dining table that seated 4 and a set of outsize beds. We slept in one and used the other for storing clothes as we had no cupboards.

Now, some of you will point out that this story was supposed to be about a cat, a cantankerous one at that and so far no cats have appeared. And others will say, “I thought you said somewhere that you would never waste your time writing about cats?”.

To the first lot I say, “Patience. A cantankerous cat will appear in due course. A peeping tom, however, appears in a different story with the same setting. So memorize the setting now so the Peeping Tom story becomes easier to read, when I write it and you visit here to read it”. <Edit: Here it is – I did write it >

My response to the second set of objectors is, “Never believe a guy who says never!”.

Now we all know that I am highly allergic to cats. What? You didn’t? Hmmm, in that case may I suggest your read the blog more thoroughly? It is also a fact that my Beloved Bangalan does not care for cats either. She’s not allergic to them, she just shares no affinity with them. A mutual sense of distrust and dislike defines her relationship with cats.

So it was an unpleasant surprise to wake up one day and find a dark grey cat sitting washing itself in our sitting room shortly after we moved in. Shooing it away, we thought no more about it. The next morning and the mornings after the situation was repeated. The cat would show up, wait for us to wake up, find her / him sitting there, wait to be shooed out and then leave.

We tried shutting the windows, but the oppressive heat of Calcutta and lack of air conditioning in our hovel little slice of heaven drove us crazy.

Finally, we hit upon a method we were convinced would thwart the cat. A lengthy nylon clothesline was obtained. I then used techniques remembered from my Boy Scout days to thoroughly criss-cross the grille of the front window to ensure that no cat could go through while airflow through the window was not restricted. After a thorough inspection we congratulated each other, made another one of our impromptu dinners and went to bed, secure in the knowledge that we would be cat free from now on.

The next morning we woke up, looked at each other and then saw it.

The cat was sitting there on it’s haunches right on the threshold of the door that separated the bedroom from the sitting room. As I jumped out of bed, it leisurely got up and jumped on to the window. We rushed into the sitting room and watched as it slowly and casually gave us a look, squeezed through the nylon lattice and left.

It was my Beloved Bangalan who spotted the first one. There were 6 or 7 of them scattered over various spots in the sitting room.

Little black-brown bits of cat crap.

That was the last time we ever saw the cat.

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This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. ladyofthecakes

    Aw, you had that coming, didn’t you??? 😉

        1. TheLastWord

          You can have ’em! I don’t want them around me…

  2. Mamlu Chatterjee

    Horrid creatures, Cats! I was hoping this would be a longer story though!

    1. TheLastWord

      Glutton for punishment, eh, Mamlu?

  3. saurabha

    why no cat thr after?? was it sad that u did not want him/her to come in

    1. TheLastWord

      Well we’ll have to ask him / her, won’t we? My guess is we pissed him / her off and it decided to move on after letting us know exactly what he/she thought about us.

  4. jannatwrites

    I believe the cat won that battle- and let you know EXACTLY what he thought of your attempts to bar him from his territory 🙂 (Never, ever tick a cat off…they can make you very sorry!)
    I love em’ – I have three cats that allow me to live with them 🙂

    1. TheLastWord

      It certainly won that battle, by means of a strategic withdrawal. Cats! Keep ’em away from me!!
      Thanks for wading your way through the rambling post.

  5. spunkybong

    Great one! The word ‘flat’ had been all but erased from my consciousness. About cats, the lesson in this is that you must always have a BB Gun at home. 😀

    1. TheLastWord

      Hmm….let me know if you start getting hate mail from cat lovers on the internet (they abound!)… I shall jump to your defence with a cleverly written piece that shall keep them at bay (or not..).

      1. spunkybong

        Cat lovers are born with character flaws. Low self-esteem, maybe. Masochism? Probably. Whip a cat lover and he’ll say ‘thank you, I needed that. Please, can I have some more?’ 😀

  6. ratan

    Nice one!

  7. DiptiTiwari

    Hahaha I loved the way you explained the difference between flat & apartment. There are so many tiny bits in your posts which can give a laugh attack to anyone!

    1. TheLastWord

      It wasn’t funny then, but 30 years later we can laugh about it… Glad you liked it and found it hilarious. Thank you!

  8. Sakshi Nanda

    Her love for you both was unrequited.
    In cat eyes, you deserved shit!
    (I agree. The initial bit made me itch.)

    1. TheLastWord

      Did you have a good scratch?
      Love? Unrequited? Or otherwise?
      A cat and I are incompatible on so many levels….