How To Dig A Grave

The grave is for my cat, Killer. A real tomcat, with orangy spots all over his stout, strong 5kg body. Handsome boy.

You see, within a space of 2 weeks, 2 of my cats died. And today, just as I was about to lock the gate to the house I saw a cat lying in the middle of the road infront of our house. No mistake. It was Killer. Someone knocked him down. And there was so much blood. I broke down in the middle of the road oblivious to the traffic.

2 years ago, Killer was born to Tres, the tri-coloured pretty looking feline I had ever seen. Initially Killer was not named Killer. He had no name. He was fat, and fluffy, and playful. When he got bigger, about 6 months, he got naughtier. And that was when the nightmare started. At least for any newborn kittens in the house. Killer loves eating newborn kittens. Which brought our household into a state of anxiety everytime theres a pregnant mama cat in the house. We would keep the mama cat in a cage, inside a room. Away from him.

But sometimes Killer would managed to sneak in and eat the kittens. Thus his name.

As brutal as he may sounded, he was a loving cat to other cats in the house. Just not with the kittens. Maybe he felt territorial, I dont know.

We moved in into our current house early last year. Killer didnt want to be kept at home but preferred to roam around, hanging out at the housing estate, checking out other female felines who happened to be just behind the house, and would come back home for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almost always on cue, he would perched just outside the cat house where we keep the rest of the cats, and waiting for his meals. On good days when his mood is a bit mellow, he would allow me to touch him and scratch his ears.

Well, I digged him a nice, comfortable grave in the garden at the back of the house. It measured about 3 ft x 3 ft, and deep enough so the rest of the cats would not dig into. I curled him into his favourite position, though the rigor mortis had set in and was a bit difficult. I stroked his chin, his body, his long tail. As if the other cats in the cat house knew what was going on and as if they also wanted to say goodbye, they lined up by the cat house. All 10 of them. Staring intently. As if saying goodby telephatically. Slowly I lowered him down. He looked as if he was sleeping if not for his smashed skull. I looked at my hands. I had blood stains on them. Even on my t shirt. I remembered I craddled him on the road. Dexter the white cat was next to me. Sniffing Killer’s body quietly and meowing in his soft voice as if asking me about him. Bits of earth were gathered around his body now. I slowly covered his lower body, then going up to cover the rest of him, and offering a silent prayer to my Killer.

May you have a great time playing catch in Cat Heaven, my Killer.

Goodbye My Socks

Socks

I have been postponing this writing for almost 2 weeks now as I could not bear to bring myself looking at the picture of my beloved Socks, my 2-year old cat. And the thought of him leaves me in deep state of sadness, of helplessnes.

You see, I raised Socks from kitten. I raised him by bottle feeding him 5 times a day, 7 days a week until hed weaned off, as his mama just refused to have anything to do with him after she gave birth. When he was a kitten, he’d spent his nights snuggled up in between my pillows, sometimes in between my husband and I. He was a fragile looking kitten, always needy, always with sniffy wet nose, and always sick no matter how many times we took him to the vet.

His legs were short and stubby as oppose to his lovely, lovely tail that tend to bend and curl at the end so as to avoid the floor. His fur looked like squirrel. He was so tiny that he fit into my palms.

But, Socks loved nothing more than spending his days in the flower bush, often chasing the butterflies and other bugs. When the grass grew a bit taller and before Uncle Guna the gardener managed to trim it off, I always find Socks hiding in between the grass, playing possum to the rest of our cats. He would just lay there, doing his stuff, sleeping, sometimes throughout the day. Only waking up when he heard me calling for dinner time.

He would be smelling of the grass, and his sweet scent so Sock-esque.

Socks died of pneumonia after battling the illness for a short period of time. A few days before that I took him to the vet to treat for his skin conditions. He had this fungus infection and his fur started to fall off bits by bits. He even bit off end of his tail. The vet said that most probably the tail was too itchy for him to bear. I took him back home and make me him comfortable. The next day he started to sneeze and coughed. On Sunday night, he was deteriorating and by 5.30am. Socks succumed to whatever was raging inside his frail body.

After 2 weeks, I still tend to lookout from my bedroom windows which are facing the front garden, almost always imagining Socks playing there.

Bye my baby and may you be well and whole again in Cat Heaven.

The Youth I Left Behind

It was so many years ago, it seems

When the sun was shining in the morning

Brighter than today

When the moon rose up in the evening

Prettier than today

When the flowers bloomed in the garden

More than today

When the leaves held more morning dew

Greener than today

When the conversations were about everything and nothing

Was livelier than today

When you had loved me

More than today

And the youth I left behind

Felt more today.

1975

A sunny day, at the edge of the paddy fields. Blue sky, sparrows flying across the golden fields, the mountains far away, my feet dangling in the cool, clear water of the stream. Life is a bliss…I walked back towards the small hut perched on top of the small ant-hill. I squinted my eyes and saw Atuk, Nik and the workers, their heads looking like pin heads under the hot sun across the paddy fields. I climbed the pokok petai jawa, favourite past time.

From there I could see further, right across the tali air where Nik Ngah’s hut was. Just last night I was there, spending the evening lying in the very hut, the small window next to me. The bright moon and the scattered stars across the dark, bluish evening sky. Atuk, Nik, Nik Ngah, Abah were chatting quietly outside. Sipping dark kampung kopi after a simple dinner of rice, fish and some boiled pucuk ubi.

Saturday Morning

I woke up this morning with the sun ray passing through the window grills. Rexton was sound asleep on her usual pillow, or rather, her daddy’s pillow, on her daddy’s side of the bed. I could see her eyes shut tightly, with even breathing, body curled like a big, furry ball. I kissed her belly and smelt that wonderful Rexton-esque sweetish scent. Wonderful.

It is a Saturday morning  afterall. I get to sleep in a little bit too unlike the usual weekdays. The house sounded quiet too. Lyn is obviously still in her room. The rest of the cats are still asleep too.

I love Saturday mornings. Just wishing that Man is back home. He has gone back to KK for almost a week todate. Looks like it will be another few weeks till we see each other again.

Cat With Toothache

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This is Rexton, Razman’s spoilt 5-kg baby.

And, she has a tooth ache.

She hasnt been eating well lately. Very clingy, up notching her meowing and just refuse to eat her usual biscuits. We found it odd she sleeps with drool lolling out from her mouth. And on Lyn’s pillow too!

So, on Monday, I, like a good mama, took her to the vet. It was a looooong drive from TTDI all the way to Cheras Government Veterinary clinic. And to top it off, I hit the road at a wrong time. I was caught in the vicious Damansara morning traffic at about 8.30am.

Rexton and I arrived at the vet around 9.30am and soon found there were so many others who were there already waiting for their turn. Along with Rexton, I have decided to bring another two kittens – Pacak and Putih, both are about 2 1/2 months old, for their vaccine. Pacak’s name, courtesy of Lyn’s BF drew plenty of laughter at the registration counter. A few curious mamas and daddies wanted to have a peek into Rexton’s basket. They must be wondering how does a cat named Rexton looked like. I obliged them by opening the basket cover. She was obviously not pleased. With a slight hiss she showed them her fangs and turned to her back, showing her bum that resembles the car that carries her namesake… 

Well, after much prodding in her mouth by the vet, Rexton has another appointment to keep on this coming 7th August. She wasnt a very happy cat that morning.

Shuffle at your own risk

I was talking to my daughter yesterday. She’s 16, well..almost 16, comes this October. I was trying to comprehend her excitement over a new dance move called “The Shuffle”. Feeling old as a goat left in the middle of the dessert, I went, “huh?”. Not that I am THAT old considering I was break dancing just a tiny weeny ohhh…..15 years back..and goat has got nothing to do with anything, I decided to explore further about this new dance sensation that seems to be the in thing with my teenage daughter and her bunch of friends.

According to a blog, The Shuffle is actually a dance concept with all sorts of moves like building blocks. Wikipedia even has it listed as a style of dance, originating in the late 1980s in the Melbourne underground scene. The movements are typical Jazz dance steps incorporated with a modern twist, often performed to music with a heavy beat. So, its not so new afterall.

Now back to my teenage daughter. She showed me a video of her friends, taken with her latest Nokia phone, doing The Shuffle. I must say I was pretty impressed with the moves though I was a tad reserved on the kids were dressing. She also told me that they are going to form a dance group called the Uptown Hardstyle and they dance to songs by someone called Base Agents. Now, I have never heard of anyone who is in their right frame of mind calling themselves Base Agents, it sounded like a code name of a person who works undercover for the police. Well, thats just me.

My baby girl also told me, in her excited voice, that SHE will be the only girl in the group and that she will incorporate Liquid Dancing as well. Images of people froclicking in the river popped out from my brain. I don’t know why. So, I asked her the question like any mother would, “Girl, what IS Liquid Dancing??”

Apparently, Liquid Dancing is form of gestural, interpretive dance that sometimes involves pantomime. (Thank you Wikipedia for being there, for parents like me who are trying to converse with their teenagers and trying to understand alien words that pop out from their mouths).

She proceeded to demonstrate to me her Liquid dance moves. With plenty of hand gentures that looked like wave (waving), she also seemed to glide around the family hall with some other hand movements that she said, is the Hand Flow. While I was enjoying this private show, I remembered the last I saw something similar was Michael Jackson doing the Moon Walk. But, that was ohhhhhhhh…..15 years ago. Talk about crash course on teenage rave.

I am still doing some readings around the net to understand this rage. I ended the mom-daughter chat by telling her, as always, that I will suppport this new interest of hers but with the regular caveats. You know, the usual stuff, no booze, no smoking, no revealing stuff, no funny stuff, no late nights, …..and the list goes on and on..

I wonder whether an old goat left in the dessert could shuffle or liquid?