Tag Archives: Pet



In an attempt to rear pets, one moggie had died on our –me and my family’s- watch, and we had successfully managed to raise one for close to four years but had ended up giving her up for adoption; maybe we weren’t cut out to be pet owners…you know, these are some of those little messed up thoughts that creep up in someone’s head when they’re feeling down, and they end up depressed.

Ever since we moved, I’ve always regretted giving our Kitty up, until one evening… Two years ago, as I was heading home from work I bumped into a guy who was walking a white poodle. As I took each step towards them I couldn’t help wondering if we had done the right thing by giving Kitty up; here was a guy, walking towards me gleefully, with his dog’s leash in hand in a supposedly pet free zone. Maybe we should have defied the rules too; maybe we should have brought Kitty along.

Looking  at the pooch from far, it seemed so adorable, so harmless, but that was until I came close to it; it looked vicious…it seemed ready to sink its white, strong teeth, which met in a scissor bite into anyone; thank heavens the guy walking it had it in a leash. As they drew closer, I realized I wasn’t brave enough to walk on that same sidewalk; the poodle was cute for real, but its teeth told an entirely different story. Therefore I crossed the road to the opposite sidewalk.

Apparently, I had been so mesmerized by this adorable canine that I hadn’t seen something lying on the road, I almost stepped on it; it was the carcass of a cat sprawled on the tarmac. Some speeding driver had seemingly run him down and evidently sped off. Such cruelty… I find it sad, that there’s a 20km/hr. speed limit on the major gates leading to the estate, but some drivers take it for granted.

That horrendous sight and other similar ones made me realize that this wouldn’t have been a safe place for Kitty and her kind. The only solution would have been to keep her on a leash, but then that would have made her life impossible…  I stopped wishing we had brought her with us. If I had a choice I would have wanted her to be with us, but I realized that she was safer in her new home.

For two years after moving we stayed without any pets. None of us even considered it.

Providence had something else in store for us. One Saturday afternoon, the sky was a vast blue sheet, and the sun was shining radiantly; my sisters and I were doing karaoke, unwinding after a long busy week, when the doorbell rang. We weren’t expecting any visitors, so we got curious.

My baby sister went to get the door; it was a tall, dark, cute guy; the epitome of prince charming. In his hands he was carrying a clear plastic bag filled with water, with a couple of goldfish swimming in it.

“I’m looking for Liz, is this where she lives?” He enquired after the brief pleasantries with my sister.

“No, I’m sorry you’ve got the wrong house,” she replied, but she wasn’t sure if there was a neighbour going by that name, so she called me. I didn’t either; I did a quick mental scan of the neighbours I knew and I didn’t seem to recognize anyone by that name. I wasn’t of much help, so I left.

Allegedly, he was delivering the fish to a client. He worked in a pet shop. Jokingly, he offered to leave them to us.

“We don’t have a fishbowl”, my sister refused politely. After a while prince charming left. We dismissed his offer as a bluff.

A week later, on a Tuesday, my sisters and I had just come from school late in the afternoon. We found the door ajar; my mom was on off that day, but we didn’t know why the door was wide open, so we walked in cautiously.

To our astonishment, ‘prince charming’ was sitted, talking with mom.

“Oh, it’s you?” My baby sis greeted him; none of us could hide the disbelief. The surprised looks on our faces gave us away.

“Yeah, I came to bring you the aquarium.” He smiled.

“So you know him?” Mom interjected. We nodded.

“He told me you know him but I wasn’t sure he was telling the truth”, she explained. “I was about to send him packing”.

He hardly knew us, but the delighted expression he wore showed he was relieved to see us. “I literally had to beg your mom to let me in”.

A complete stranger was there in our living room setting up an aquarium. He was gifting it to us… just like that? I wasn’t sure I knew what was happening; it had all happened so fast. I had listened in on his conversation with my sis the first time he showed up on our doorstep and all I remembered were a few pleasantries, bluffs if you rather. So he wasn’t bluffing…

I’m a skeptic by nature; I wondered what his ulterior motive was. By the time he transferred the orange goldfish from the plastic bag into the beautiful aquarium, we had asked him so many questions; I bet by the time he left he was feeling like he’d just left a police precinct after that intense interrogation. I would be surprised if he didn’t feel that…

Maybe he was a good actor, but he appeared genuine all through. He visited regularly to check up on our new pets. At the time we didn’t know much about fish, so we called him everytime we were stuck. We called to know how often we should feed the fish, when the aquarium light burnt out we called him to fix it, he offered to wash the aquarium for us until we were confident we could do it without his help.

The first time we tried washing it we messed a little bit because before then we didn’t know why the air pump had to be placed on a raised surface. We learnt it firsthand; when we unplugged the pump from the electricity supply, water was sucked into it, because when we opened the aquarium lid we had placed the pump on a low stool. We called him to bring us a new one.

During the interrogation he had told us where he worked; mom had an acquaintance in that pet store, she called him to enquire about this ‘unexpected’ friend we’d made. He confirmed that they were in deed workmates, only that prince charming worked in a different branch. That helped diminish the suspicion we regarded him with.

Thanks to him, we had two new pets. We didn’t give them names at first, but after my big sis started playing ‘Aquarium’ on Tagged, we named the male one Chibbols and his female partner, Finley; after my sister’s “pets”.

Chibbols seemed to be growing faster than Finley. We thought it was just something natural; maybe that is how they were meant to grow. After one and a half years, chibbols looked pretty big, but Finley hadn’t changed much. Her growth had stagnated. After close observation we noticed she wasn’t eating much, she barely seemed to notice the food. One day we just found her at the bottom of the tank, dead. I didn’t feel sad as much as my baby sister did; she had grown attached to them as she is the one who fed them, cleaned their tank, and changed the water while I was working.

She looked so affected by Finley’s death; my mom couldn’t take it. She went and bought another female fish to replace Finley. We didn’t want to get so attached to them-their short lifespan had unimpressed us- so we deliberately passed on naming her. Six months later, at two years, Chibbols also died. We had started noticing slits on his fins; we later learnt that was a symptom of a sick fish. On the night he died, I realized he was swimming upside down; I’d seen Finley do that before she died, so I told the others about it.

My sister panicked; my mom called prince charming’s workmate, he was our new ‘supplier’ (time had revealed prince charming’s true self- he wasn’t genuine after all). He (the supplier) talked with my sister and unintentionally dampened her spirits when he told her chibbols was dying; and nothing could be done. When we went to bed that night we knew that was the last night time we’d be seeing him alive. So we took one last look before turning the lights off. The next morning, it was a Sunday and we were going to church. He was dead. I was overcome by grief. I hadn’t realized I had become attached to him unconsciously…

Finley’s replacement, who we call ‘fishy’, is two years old now. I must admit I love her. I know when she’s hungry; she swims up to the top, opening her mouth impatiently, and when she’s full she will just flip her tail and swim to the furthest corner or bottom of the aquarium without a care. I hadn’t planned on getting attached to her, and even as I write this I know it must sound crazy, but I love her. Years ago, had someone told me I could love a fish I’d think they’d gone loco.










kitty nursing

I was in a quagmire; I didn’t know what to do with Kitty. I knew if I let her go out there she would come back ‘knocked up’ and I wasn’t sure I wanted to take care of her progeny; was she even prepared to take care of them? We had ‘babied’ her so much; but at the same time I hated seeing her in that state. There she was, ‘burning up’ on the inside and the only solution I had was to give in to her wishes; hand her over on a silver platter to a stray cat that looked ferocious; and his horny state had nothing to do with his general appearance, he just seemed naturally wild. I had seen a few cats around but him? Never had I laid my eyes on him before, and the circumstances under which we met didn’t make the situation any better.

“What has Kitty gotten herself into?” I cursed desperately. I was just standing there at the kitchen entrance befuddled, as I watched our once innocent moggie cry incessantly to be freed, so she could go satiate her wanton desires. But even as I stood there, unsure of my next move, I couldn’t find it in my heart to be angry at her, or for the irritating groans that were driving me nuts. It was something even a modest feline like her couldn’t will away; nature had held her spellbound.

I knew sooner or later I would have to do something; I could only take so much, and I was already reaching my elastic limit.

Her inflamed state made her acutely aware of any slight movement in the house. She had realized we were holding her captive in the house, and she was determined to find a way out; it didn’t matter if it was through the windows, which were now closed or through the doors. The worst part about the whole she-bang was that even when I wasn’t keeping an eye on her, I couldn’t do anything constructive with all the noise emanating from her and the other male cat that was now perched on the kitchen window ledge outside calling out to his mate. The caterwauling alone was enough to get me to call the animal control department.

I can’t quite recall how long the madness lasted; all I know is that it went on for far too long. It all came to an end one morning when my mom was leaving for work. We had successfully managed to keep her indoors all through that tormenting period but when my mom opened the door Kitty dashed out. My mom notified me instantly that she had escaped. Furiously, I got out of bed, draped on my nightgown as I was still in my pyjamas and I left through the backdoor. The search only lasted for about two minutes, as I found her behind a water tank that was only a few steps from the door.

I sighted her on the ground, with her head down low, hindquarters raised high, with the stray male positioned brazenly on top of her… on reflex I tried to shoo them, but they didn’t seem to notice my presence; I bent down, as if to pick a stone, but they didn’t even flinch. I was in utter shock…

I skedaddled back to the house and woke my sister up, “Kitty sneaked out and she’s out back mating with the other grey cat”.

“What’s that?” she asked.

I knew she’d heard me clearly but I repeated it anyway, “kitty’s out back, with the grey cat!” We rushed to the kitchen window from where we could get a clear view of that blasted sight. The honey moon phase was already over and now the two moggies seemed like they were ready to bite each other’s heads off. Kitty resembled a savage; she was hissing, trying to claw her rival, who a few minutes ago was giving her a taste of heaven… For a minute or two I entertained the thought that she was acting out because of guilt and shame; perchance after sharing such an intimate moment with him she was now feeling dirty and used? Guess I’ll never understand animals.

Eventually her partner left and she was left cleaning up…my sister and I on the other hand just walked to the livingroom, awash with disbelief, waiting for the inevitable; kittens.

For our feline, life didn’t resume normalcy as yet; every now and then she would chirr but thankfully it wasn’t as intense as before. She spent so much time seated at the door, as if she was looking out for something. It’s like she was waiting for the grey cat to return, but he never showed up. Slowly she got the drift, he was never coming back and her disturbing yowls died down.

A few months later, on one rainy Saturday she gave birth to four little kittens. It was only six in the evening, but because of the dark clouds, it seemed rather late. We knew she was going into labour when she started pacing restlessly, meowing like she was in pain. I was nervous, confused; I didn’t know what to do to help her as I’d never been in that situation before and my sister wasn’t of much help either. She was as callow as I in that field. We just set up a box and lined it with newspapers for the delivery; but at the same time I couldn’t hide my excitement.

Watching Kitty in labour was unnerving; she would get out of her box, then get back in…she was frantic. We sympathized with her, but at the same time we were afraid of interfering; as kids we had been made to believe that if one touched a kitten during birth the mother cat would eat it. That thought alone rendered us onlookers. By midnight that day, our house had four new tiny residents.

Kitty’s maternal instincts kicked in immediately; she nursed and cleaned her little ones’ whose fur was barely visible. Three of them were mainly grey and white, and the fourth one was purely black; it died a week later. When the remaining three were old enough we gave them to friends, who couldn’t resist their charm when they visited us. Kitty didn’t understand what had happened to them; she’d call out to them, but to no avail…she moved on.

About three months later-which if you ask me was too soon- she was at it again; but this time around she was subtle enough; she did it away from home. The details I have of her second pregnancy are a bit scanty, all I remember is that she ended up with two beautiful kittens; we contemplated keeping them, but three pets? That was one too many. We gave both of them to our family doctor.

We had had enough of the moggie drama; my mom arranged for our pet to be spayed. She stayed at the animal center for two days, when she came back she had a huge scar on her belly. It was a sore sight, as the spot had been shaven completely, exposing the visible sutures. She looked depressed; most of the time she stayed in her basket, just observing our movement. At times she would bite on the stitches, clearly irritated by their unusual presence. She wouldn’t come to us, so we went to her. We stroked her gently; she seemed to appreciate it; she would nuzzle our arms. Our TLC saw her through that storm and before long she was back to her old lively self. Her fur grew back; she was as good as new.

Goodbyes are never easy. Later that year, in mid-November we moved. We’ve moved like six times since I was a kid and I find it a very nostalgic affair; leaving friends behind, moving to new places, meeting new neighbours. There’s nothing easy about it. However, this time it felt ten times worse; it was excruciating; we couldn’t move with Kitty. Pets were not allowed in our new neighbourhood; the estate management warned residents strictly against it.

A fortnight before that day, when we ascertained we’d be moving we made arrangements with our family doctor to come pick our kitty up. It would weigh heavily on her more than it did us, that we knew evidently. Cats don’t like moving, and now to make matters worse she was moving to a new home with a new family. On the eve of our moving day our doctor showed up and left with kitty… I felt we had betrayed her, but we were only victims of the circumstances…

The agony that washed over me wouldn’t have been any extreme if it was one of my family members I was leaving behind. The only comforting thought was that she would be re-united with her last two kittens as they had been taken by the same doctor…that solemn departure torments me to date…



After rearing a pet that didn’t last for more than two years, I almost despaired on such a great cause…but no, I had the strength to do it again. The little pawed felines were just too adorable to give up on. I couldn’t resist their charm. My sisters and I set out to find another moggie. Initially we weren’t so successful; but then, like an answer to our prayers, my small sisters’ twin friends brought her a beautiful pet: Her fur -like her ‘predecessor’- was white, but she had some burnt orange and black patches on the back. When she made her grand entrance I was in school- in my last year of high school.

Ironically she took an instant liking to me, but I had trouble reciprocating. I didn’t know her well enough to start chasing her around the house, even though I knew she would have loved that immensely. Luckily, the little setback didn’t persist because by the time my first day home was over we were hugging like two best friends who had known each other all their lives. We were even eating from the same plate-my plate; I would place spaghetti on the edge of my plate, leaving one end dangling and slowly she would chew on it.

I’m not too sure if it was out of languor or we were simply trying to honour the memory of her predecessor, but we also named her Kitty. I bet she loved her name because everytime we called her she would responds with a soft “Meow” and if she was some place out of sight she would come running excitedly.

Sometimes when she was bored she would perch on my leg and because I didn’t want to disrupt her peace I’d drag my leg with her still resting on it. I’m guessing she loved it because she always seized the opportunity to do that whenever she saw anyone standing.

At her young age she got used to our hugs, so whenever she was bored she would climb up our legs, like she would a tree. It was easy for her because most of the time we were in jeans so her tiny claws would dig into them, providing her with a firm grip. Slowly and steadily she would find her way into our arms. I found that amusing. However, I found it painful at times because she would decide to do ‘the climb’ when I was in a skirt or shorts…her claws would inflict some slight scratches on my skin. She was bright because if she felt her claws weren’t digging into something solid she would result to plan B; she would do a mighty leap, hoping to grab the edges of the skirt or dress…but that only worked if it was long enough for her to jump at; if one was seated she would climb up the couch then walk up to them and eventually rest on their laps.

I didn’t want her scarring my legs in an attempt to secure a place in my arms, so if I realized she was trying to climb up my legs I would just bend and pick her up. She loved it. As she grew up pretty fast, we realized she couldn’t do ‘her climb’ anymore; she was heavier than before; additionally, she couldn’t perch on our legs anymore as she couldn’t balance her weight on the small surface area. But that didn’t stop us from having fun…

If her target was standing she would lithely mount whatever surface one was standing next to, then she would stand on her hind limbs and tenderly she would lean on them, supporting herself with her front paws. We had already learnt to interpret her body language; that was cue for “Carry me, please”… if I wasn’t too busy I would give in to her wishes; I would take her in my arms, stroke her gently…reciprocating, she would rub my face with her paw. At times she gave me the impression she understood our unspoken words. Most of the time when she placed her paw on my face I was afraid she would claw me but no, that never happened. She was naturally affectionate.

When one was busy she somehow understood that playing wasn’t possible, so she’d just stay on the floor, walking to and fro, rubbing her smooth body against one’s legs carrying her tail high.

I remember this one time I was lying on the couch sick; and alone in the house. She was out playing. When she crept in through the window she walked straight to me. She stood there on her twos, with her front paws leaning on the couch, staring at me and after a short while she jumped up, curled up beside me and we slept…

After finishing high school, I had plenty of time to sleep, write, watch movies and stuff; if ever anyone left the bedroom door open she would walk in, jump on the bed, and there she would do crazy things just to get me to wake up; she would sit on me, lie next to me, kneading me…if that failed to work she would just purr…and if that failed she would just throw in the towel and sleep, curled up beside me. I loved her.

Everyone in the family treated her like she was one of us; like she was the last born.

When she was about eighteen months old, her hormones started raging, when a stray male moggie sighted her. I never thought I would ever get to see her ‘horny’…I must admit, it was the most disturbing experience ever; Kitty would lie on the ground, rolling on her back, restlessly, caterwauling. It is the latter that I found especially annoying. She would howl mournfully- letting out sounds of R’s- for hours on end. When she was calm her male interest would be there, outside our back door calling out to her in the same chirrs.

Interestingly, I had never seen a cat in heat before, but my instincts told me she was just ‘hormonal’…my mom and big sister couldn’t understand why she was in that state; at first they thought she was sick…but I assured them there was nothing to lose sleep over really; it was nature taking its course.

My sister and I tried to keep her indoors; but Kitty couldn’t resist the urge. She mounted counters in the kitchen groaning, tried to climb the doors that led outside, paced to and fro like a deranged moggie, all in an attempt to go to that male cat, who would ‘cure’ her off her carnal cravings…did I mention it was horrible? If I didn’t know better I would think she was going to meet her maker…she looked needy, helpless, confused…

Evidently she had lost control over her body; the only thing she was aware of was her desire to copulate… I had never seen her in that state before….



cute kitten

In ‘the pains of rearing pets part one’ I mentioned how much I love pets… I always wanted to have an animal I could call my own, but that didn’t happen until I was thirteen. One of my mom’s friends had a female cat that had recently given birth and since she knew how much we desired to have one of our own, she sent my mom to bring us one of the kittens when she went over to her place.

The instant we saw my mom walk in, with a carrier in her hands, we instinctively surmised what she was carrying; she had brought us a kitten; our very own pet. Excitedly, we pounced on her, anxious to get the little moggie out.  When we opened the carrier he was hesitant; he didn’t want to come out. He retreated to the back and when my sister tried to reach for him he dashed out, seeking refuge behind the nearest couch. We understood he was scared, so we gave him time.

In the meantime we prepared his bed, his litter box and poured milk in his bowl. I guess the aroma of milk lured him out because he came out to drink. His steps were unsteady at first; I imagined he was trying to gauge his surroundings. We stood still, afraid that any sudden move would make him go back into hiding. It worked perfectly. He walked towards his bowl, gaining momentum with each step.  Finally he got to it, and without further ado he extended his tiny tongue out, lapping up the milk with maximum elegance.  He appeared unperturbed by our excited gazes.

When he was drinking to his fill, we took time to study his features: his fur was mainly white with some grey stripes on his back, which extended from his forehead to his tail. He was beautiful. Soon after he was done drinking, he sat on his hind limbs, and embarked on grooming himself. He would lick his front paws with his rough tongue then use them alternatingly to clean his face. When he was satisfied his face was clean he went on to clean the rest of his body. We were fascinated by him. My sisters and I hadn’t picked out a name for him yet, so we unanimously settled for kitty.

Comfortable that he was acclimatizing to his new home, we let him be. Later when we were all sitted in the living room, he found his way to my small sister’s laps. She was ecstatic. Gently she stroked his back and he seemed to love every bit of it.

We had memorable moments with him: when packing up for school he would playfully tuck himself in our bags. At one time I vividly recall how my unsuspecting big siz came so close to carrying him to school, until- thankfully- she realized her bag felt abnormally heavy. She looked inside the bag, only to find him curled in there. She was flattered. Tenderly, she lifted him up and held him close to her chest in one arm, stroking her with the other.

He was playful just as one would expect, and when he was slightly over a year old, he started staying out late. At times he would come back home in the morning. We assumed he was out wooing his female acquaintances.  At about the same time he disappeared for a few days. At first we weren’t too apprehensive because we thought he would come back later as he had been doing for the past few months; but to our consternation he didn’t show up. The first day went by; each second dragging by…the angst only aggravated the situation. After two days we freaked out. It wasn’t like him to stay out for more than a night. We didn’t know where to start looking… we were distraught.

My sisters and I agreed to conduct a neighbourhood search. We walked around the houses calling out, “Kitty”, all to no avail. After a relatively long time doing rounds, we were almost giving up when after calling out his name we heard a familiar “Meow”… we traced his purrs to a nearby house.

Just to confirm it was him indeed, we called out his name and his familiar “meow” went up in the air again. We didn’t need any more proof; our neighbours had unmistakably kidnapped our kitty. Invigorated, we knocked on their door and the instant it flung open, kitty dashed out. We were furious at them for abducting our feline, but then the joy of finding him eclipsed the fury.

Apparently, he went straight to the house.

We took turns to hug him… kitty looked elated; when I held him he nuzzled my chin. I could tell he had missed home. When the excitement had cooled down, we got down to analyzing what would have led our neighbours to commit such an odious act. We didn’t know much about them, as they had moved in recently, and the two kids in question were both under six. The older girl looked five and the younger boy looked three… we easily surmised they had done it with their parents’ help; but for the sake of maintaining cordial relations with our neighbours we let that one slide; but if they kidnapped him again, we would retaliate…that we vowed.

I don’t know if that incident affected him, because his nights out reduced remarkably.

A few months later, when my baby siz and I were in boarding school, my mom brought us some egregious news on visiting day. We were sitted with her and our dad catching up on what had been happening for the past month and a half that we’d been away from each other. It is then that my mom’s face turned somber as she announced, “Kitty died!”

I took a few minutes to assimilate the news, before breaking into a sob… “Kitty died?” I asked, disbelief written all over my face. My baby siz seemed more affected by the poignant news than I was. In tears, we recounted some of the moments we’d shared with him.

Then, I realized I hadn’t spent so much time with him as my sisters and I were in school most of the time. When we went home for the holidays we would find he had grown bigger; it was evident as his tail appeared longer and fuller every time we closed school. He even felt heavier. Mom had been feeding him well…







Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved pets. The first time I experienced that thrill of having a pet was when I was nine. My small sister and I had gone playing outside on a weekday, after school without my mom’s consent. Everything we did that day is so foggy, except for one bit; she and I made a very special friend. While playing earlier in the day we had bumped into a little pup. She seemed enchanted by us because she followed us wherever we went that afternoon. I can hardly  tell how old she was because honestly I’ve never stayed with dogs long enough to tell how old they are in relation to their breed and age, all I know is that she was so tiny and extremely adorable; but I doubt she was more than a month old.

See, our next door neighbour- Bette Midler’s ‘doppelgänger’ from my post titled staying in– had two big, fierce dogs. One was white and the other was black. They were locked up in their kennel all day long and would only be let out at night as letting them loose during the day proved a gargantuan menace. They would bark at visitors; growling ferociously, threatening to bite them if they didn’t skedaddle. It was excruciating to them.

The dogs didn’t vex us as such as they distinguished our scents from strangers’ but that didn’t automatically ease the situation. At night the air was saturated with their howls. I dreaded waking up from a nightmare in the dead of the night as there was that eerie silence disrupted by the excessive howls that echoed for miles. Every one of those nights felt like a full moon, with dogs from other neighbours joining in the echo… it was a canine conspiracy to torment humans.

Sometimes it was so bad, I had to cover my ears to keep their torturous barks at bay just so I could go back to sleep. It was horrid… I guess they made an indelible mark in my life as to date I dread hearing dogs bark at night. Good thing is that where I live pets of that nature are not allowed so for the moment I need not worry about being kept up by them.

It was for this reason that I developed an instant liking to this stray pup. She was warm and cuddly. We didn’t know her, she didn’t know us either, but she loved us and we loved her. She was the perfect playmate and a breath of fresh air. As the sun slowly sunk into the horizon, darkness crept in. we knew soon we would have to inevitably part ways with our ‘friend’ and that weighed heavily on our hearts.

Eventually, as we had feared, darkness fell and my sister and I found ourselves sitted on our front porch comprehending our next move. We knew the right thing was to let her go, but we didn’t know who she belonged to; she certainly didn’t belong to our next door neighbour’s dogs because they were both male. On the other hand my mom wouldn’t have let us keep her…and even if she was to allow us, how or where would we say we found her? She would know we were out playing.

We didn’t have to worry for long, as we saw one of our friends approaching from a distance. He was a pretty laid back guy who was four years my senior. He was looking for his dog’s pup. I was so relieved yet nostalgic at the same time; I didn’t want her to leave, but I couldn’t choose a better person to look after her…