Tuesday 10 August 2021

Sayali Ranadive, ShortStory 2021 Magazine

Purrfect Surprise

Pss... Pss... *Alice feels a paw on her face*

“Hello Human”, comes the voice beyond the paw. She opens her eyes to see it is her cat talking. Her eyes widen as she is unable to believe herself, she shuts her eyes again thinking that she might be dreaming. *She feels her cat’s nose around her ear* “Hey, Wake Up, please!” he says again. She realizes that it's not a dream, it is really her tuxedo cat talking.

She somehow tries to calm her racing heart and tries to get hold of the situation. On the other hand, she notices her cat scowling at her with his adorable yellow eyes, he starts speaking again, “Now, this is what I hate about you. You are always late. You never wake up on time, you never give me food on time, I have to wake you up every time that I am hungry, why can’t you be responsible just for once?”

Alice check’s her watch to see that it is 3 am. She feels infuriated. She takes the advantage of the fact that the cat can now understand her and tries to justify herself, “As much as I love you, this is not the time for you to be eating? And this is absolutely not late. It is too early to wake up.”

“Says who? I like to be up and eating my breakfast by this time.”, says the cat. “And now that you are awake why don’t you fill my bowl with some food? Do you have any idea how busy I am for the rest of the day?”

She obeys her overlord just like a good cat-parent and fills his bowl with his favorite cat food. Knowing well that her cat can now talk she tries to inquire more about his random behavior. She asks him about what is it that’s keeping him busy today?

He starts to grumble, “You think you know about cats but did you know that we are nocturnal? So, this is my daytime. After my breakfast, I am going to try and find that mouse you suspect hiding in the attic. I know that thought doesn’t let you sleep. While we are talking about this subject, when you hear a noise, I hear it too, so you don’t have to ask me like a baby every time ‘What was that?’ I probably know where that comes from too. I am a cat, not a dog, I don’t need your validation for the fact that I am a good boy.”

Continuing with his protest he says “I don’t like when you cuddle too. If I show you my belly, rub it only twice, more than that annoys me and you can tell by those scratches on your hand what happens after that.”

“I don’t want you to protect me every time you see a dog, I am not scared of dogs, I just don't like fighting with canines and hence I take care of it by sliding under the chair. But I must admit you do a good job at shooing away those strays. Speaking about dreadful things, will you please ask the gardener to no longer use his machine? It makes horrible noises and it kills my vibe. I don't like it when you try to groom me as well but you’re a pro at removing ticks out of my soft fur.", he adds.

“Henceforth, dare you trick me into taking a bath. I absolutely hate it. I spend most of my day grooming myself, I know about self-care more than you? That night cream you bought a month back has been lying on the dressing table as is.”, he continues to lament.

Alice quickly interjects, “Shouldn’t you be ok around water? I have never seen tigers crying and creating ruckus before getting into the water? Now that you’ve belittled me, yes, I haven’t used the night cream because you broke its cap. Every time I have tried putting it on the nightstand you’ve knocked it off. What is it? A guilty pleasure?”

He replies promptly, “I agree that Tigers and cats are related felines, but the tigers are brought up in the wild. Me on other hand you’ve never left me out of your sight ever. I am a house cat. My only association to the water is drinking it. Plus, all that water makes my coat heavy and makes me feel clumsy, urgh! Do I complain when you don’t shower on Sundays?”

On listening to his list of complains Alice wonders whether the cat really likes her or does he feel stuck with her as he didn't have a choice? He notices the confused look on Alice’s face and remarks, "Oh stop thinking and spill it out?" and Alice pops her question to which he answers, "Don't you worry, I chose you as my human before you chose me. Why do you think I headbutt you every morning? That is a cat's way of showing affection. Why do I play with the strings that you get me? I don't understand the swirling but you enjoy it when I jump around. I purr happily when you give me those massages. Following you around is a part of my busy schedule. God knows why you look like you are in pain when I nibble at you. It is just another expression of my love." Alice gets teary eyed as she has always considered him as her child.

“Now, let me go and put an end to the mouse madness. I shall bring you the spoils of my war as a gift. Post that I am going to sit on the veranda and soak some sun while grooming myself. Sharp at 11:00 AM while you are busy on your laptop, I will crave for your attention and won’t let you work by sitting on your laptop until you play with me. Once I feel tired, I will nag you for lunch and then I am going to take a long nap.”, he says shrugging off all the emotions.

Before Alice could tell him how much she hates to see rodent remains as a gift and how it annoys her when he changes various functions of her laptop by sitting on it, she feels as if wet sandpaper is being rubbed on her head. As she touches her forehead, she realizes that she is still in the bed and it was a dream and, on her cushion, stands her little devil licking her forehead at 3 AM, asking her to feed him.

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