Wilderness, Solitude and Survival

My feline friend – a somewhat-thin, quietly social and a marathon sleeper cat – gets very active in the night, much like most other cats in the world. Born with three siblings, this cat became the lone survivor of the pack despite thoughts running contrary at one point of time when it was severely sick.

It is usual for my mom to either feed her some milk or some curd-rice (which the cat rarely choses to eat these days) as her dinner. My mom’s not here tonight so the responsibility fell on me. The first thing to do, before you get the milk or the curd-rice ready is to stand in the backyard and call her a few times. Madam is usually on rounds at these hours.

There was no milk, so I mixed water with some curd. I was almost thinking the cat would reject it summarily and carry on with her inspection of the various things lying around in the backyard. Fortunately though, she did taste the concoction and decided to have some of it.

I usually turn to hit the sack after this point. But tonight, I decided to sit and watch what the cat does after the dinner. Boy oh boy, this cat, which mostly looks half-drunk and sleepy all the time in the day, became one hell of a tiger – eyes, razor sharp, ears, razor sharp, and feet razor slick. Yeah, probably every cat that’s not a homely pet behaves in a similar fashion, but watching it was truly nice –  a welcome relief.

It’s the survival instinct that makes this all possible. A few months back, time after dinner used to be play-time for the kittens. Having been orphaned and deserted by its mother, the cat has become truly solitary. Probably every cat’s tale is quite the same, but watching it from up close makes it even harder to understand the ways of nature.

Last night, I wondered how I would feel if I was put in the shoes of this cat. Totally alone in the world, having to rely completely on its instincts of survival – both for its security and for its food, having to be left all alone in a rainy urban wilderness with no more than a half-inch thick fur for cover. Truth is, despite the fact that such a possibility seems next to impossible, we probably can’t even imagine such a situation unless we decide to dwell in the forests.

Yet, this is life – at least for the kitten that had a great time with three other kittens, and became a loner in a matter of few months. It survives to tell the tale of most other kittens and cats we see in our urban setting. To call them “stray” seems, in my humble opinion, quite absurd.

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