The flat that we share with a once-Belarusian-now-Swedish man and his always-Swedish wife and their two kids has amongst other things a pet female cat that sleeps just beside the aquarium and that meows you out of sleep at 5 in the morning since she desires a morning walk in the dark. She is strangely civilised.
It is strange for me to see a pet so civilised; I only imagined that they could be thoroughly domesticated. She is amazingly toilet trained (though her master informs she had a wet-anything-like-a-bed syndrome once, for two months). She has her own toilet set-up which interestingly looks something like a cage (I am pretty intrigued how she uses it, but curiosity could kill my sense of smell and affect my appetite, so I refrain from probing deeper into it). However the most civilised aspect of her is that, she sleeps in her couch settled just beside the aquarium and refrains from trying to make a catch when she is there.
She appeared to me to be an amazing character, aspiring only towards cat food. I was completely at awe with her mystical ways till a typical windy afternoon when I sat reclining on my bed, crouching on a book, and feeling the inevitable sleep marching down my eyelids. I got up to have my quota of afternoon ice-cream before I dozed off. While passing the room in which the aquarium is kept, I saw an interesting photographic frame.
Angelina (that’s the cat) was sitting attentively on a white stool, positioned near the aquarium, watching intently the fishes. Hearing my footsteps she turned and glared at me, possibly identifying me as an imminent transgressor. That was the first instance of her self-expression when her natural instinct to prey upon the fish became tangentially evident. I was amused to note in the following few days that she locates herself in that position only when she knows for certain that her masters are not at home. In the evenings, she either roamed around the house or curled on the sofa. (I guess, she feels comfortable in her skin when only this insignificant tenant, dressed in strange Indian garb, is walking around.)
A few afternoons later (this time around I was busy cooking), I heard sounds which seemed to be made by scratching of cardboard. I was not sure if the sound came from within the house. But I nonetheless decided to have a look around like a responsible tenant. I peeked into the kids’ rooms whose doors were kept open. They were in their normal states. The elder girl’s room was neatly arranged and the baby sis’s room was strewn with all kinds of toys and princess’s crowns. Finally, I peeked into the room in which the aquarium was, brushing the curtains aside. Everything seemed to be normal and the sound had also ceased. I was about to turn around and go back to cooking when I heard the scratching sound again. It felt weird and I looked around. This time I heard a pitiful meow from somewhere between the cardboard boxes kept in front of the aquarium. Angelina, it seemed, had fallen into the cardboard boxes, while trying to make a leap to reach the aquarium from the quaint white stool. As soon as I let her out of the box, she ran out of the room, across the kitchen, pounced on the chair to reach the cat-door and slipped out of it. This was unlike her. She enjoyed patting on her head whenever anyone was around. It made a smile spread across my lips.
It is true that I do not have any job responsibility and hence have enough time to follow the cat and her homely adventures. But the reason I am devoting this Fall afternoon to ponder upon this feline companion of mine, is that her behaviour intrigued me. She maintained the charm of being civilised in the company of her masters. She felt uninhibited to watch the fishes from the stool when she knew I was near and could come across the room at any point of time. But she chose to be most self-expressive when she heard me cooking and the spices spluttering to keep me busy a while. Cats are more human than I can imagine!