Kutu, My Cat

    It was raining heavily when we entered the gate of our friend’s society in Powai. We were invited for dinner and to watch a cricket match together. Arnob, my husband, was about to park the car when a lovely white cat with brown patches ran across the road to seek cover under a shade.
    “He just looks like Kutu!” we uttered in unison. Indeed, it looked like Kutu, our dear beloved cat of yesteryears with the same white colour, brown patches and with the same bushy tail. We were reminded of our beloved Kutu who was our pet about three decades back.

    We were just married then. It was raining like this on that night too, when we visited our family friend’s house in Golf club road. Mahanti Kakima, as we called her, is my mother-in-law’s friend and her son Mintu is Arnob’s childhood friend. It was a Saturday night and it got late chatting away. So Kakima persuaded us to have dinner with them. It was still raining when we left for home. Luckily the road was not waterlogged. While driving through the rain, a small kitten suddenly came in front of our car. Arnob managed to bring the car to a halt just in time to save the poor creature from being run over. It was mewing helplessly and was completely drenched. Probably it was separated from its mother in the heavy rain and was struggling desperately to find some dry cover to take shelter and in the process came in front of our car. Possibly the strong beams of light from our car headlights blinded him and he was unable to move.

    “Shall we take him home?” Arnob asked me. We both took pity on the poor little kitten and agreed to adopt him. He was so tiny then, that he fitted in my palm. He sat on my lap with full trust and kept on purring practically all through the journey back home.
    On reaching home we offered him a bowl of milk and he polished that off within no time. He must have been very hungry. It was delightful to watch him licking the milk with his tiny pink tongue and cleaning his face with his tiny paws. I put him in an empty shoebox with soft rags so that he could sleep at night. But when I woke up the next morning, I found him sleeping near my feet on my bed.

    Cats need to be fed with fish as that is their favourite diet. We started buying fish for our kitten. In Kolkata, one kg of Pomfret in those days used to cost Rs 20/- which we felt was a better choice over Rohu which was more than double the price. Those days Pomfret was mostly considered inferior to other fishes like rohu and katla which were favoured by most Bengali families.
    With the passage of time the little kitten, whom we had named Kutu, grew up to a handsome male cat with beautiful white fur interspersed with brown patches and with a beautiful bushy tail. God knows whether he knew how handsome he was but he used to sit on the boundary wall of our house with a regal pose alluring all female cats of the area!

    People keep saying that dogs are more affectionate than cats, but Kutu proved that notion wrong. He was just like a small child that wanted attention. Every morning he used to pat me on my nose to wake me up from sleep and whenever I did not pay heed to his efforts, he used to softly bite my fingers like a naughty child.

    Our ground floor flat had a low common boundary wall with our neighbour’s house. Kutu was basking in the sun on one winter afternoon sitting on that wall when I fell asleep. Suddenly I woke up to the disturbing noise of barking and caterwauling of a dog and cat. On rushing out of the house, I found my Kutu standing on the boundary wall with arched back and fur standing on end, ready to strike my neighbour’s dog with his teeth and claws. The neighbour’s dog, with teeth bared, was also ready to fight back ferociously. Both me and my neighbour appeared at the right moment to prevent their quarrel from taking an ugly turn. We managed to separate them and bring everything under control.

    It was almost a movie which then unfolded. In our efforts to intervene and stop the fight between our pets, we the proud owners of the two pets, introduced ourselves and that marked the beginning of a friendship between the two families which continues even to this day.

    Arnob and I got married few months before this incident and I never had the opportunity to make friends with our neighbours before. It is really amazing how destiny plays it role and Kutu was instrumental in bringing the two families close to each other. We understood that Mrs. Krishna Samanta, as she introduced herself, was a caring lady with adolescent children. From that day onwards, we started calling her Kakima.

    “Why don’t you drop in when your husband returns in the evening?” she asked while inviting us over to her place, which I willingly accepted. She was quite a few years elder to us, but she liked us a lot and her children also became friends with us. We have very sweet memories of the time spent with this family and developed strong bonds of friendship which can make for another long story.

    With the passage of time, our friendship became so close that we started spending almost every evening together on a regular basis. We were addicted to playing cards and discussing various topics and chatting with them every evening. Samanta Kakima became like a close relative and a guardian.

    “Meaow ,Meaow, Meaoooooow,” Kutu used to call us sitting on the outside ledge of Kakima’s window when he was bored of staying alone at home or hungry. He never dared enter Kakima’s house because of Laza, his arch enemy and Kakima’s dog. He probably never liked us visiting the family where his enemy stayed.

    “Who says cats are not as intelligent and affectionate like dogs?” I always ask this question to everyone who has that notion, although I too had dogs as pets when I was young.

    Kutu could not speak the language of humans but the tone of his voice used to make it him sound like a child seeking attention. When he used to call me back home in his own cat-language, I could hear him saying, “Mummy come home, I am missing you, I am hungry, give me food, don’t stay there any longer”. It’s really an amazing feeling when one can understand how these little souls try to communicate with the people they love and feel possessive about them.

    Our Kutu boy, after attending adulthood started roaming around in the neighbourhood with a regal gait. He was an extremely handsome cat. Sometimes we noticed him venturing outside our lane into other areas of our small neighbourhood. He was probably enjoying the taste of independence and exploring the world outside our known surroundings. This is where pet cats are different from pet dogs. At times he did not return home at night, but he was a child of nature and we did not try to keep him confined within our four walls. He often used to be away from home for days together and then suddenly one fine day make a grand appearance. We jokingly used to say he must have found a mate and was probably spending time with her.

    Kutu normally avoided going out during the rainy season. We maintained a sand pit at one corner of our flat and regularly replaced the dirty sand so that he could relieve himself whenever he required, instead of going out in the rain.

    Strangely, on a monsoon day he left home and never returned. We kept on waiting with the hope that one day he would come back, quickly leap and climb on our laps, settle down in his own style and purr like he used to purr in the days gone by.

    Unfortunately, we never saw that day nor we could find him anywhere. God only knows what had happened to him. We could not find him anywhere. He left our lives on a monsoon day as strangely and abruptly, as he had come. Within those few years of living with us, he had become an integral part of our lives. Thus, when we lost him, it was difficult for us to bear that pain and it took considerable time for us to heal. However, the fond memories of this loving cat still lingers with us and that prompted me to write his story.


    Read the next part here : http://tellmeyourstory.biz/newentries/mr-mysterious


    Cover image is a drawing by Aparna Mondal



    Author : Aparna Mondal

    Aparna Mondal was born and brought up in Kolkata. Presently she lives in Mumbai with her family. She always loved nature and that prompted her to learn Biological Sciences. She loves to paint landscape and nature. Her other hobbies are reading, painting, making costume jewellery, acting, traveling, swimming. She has recently developed a special interest in putting her thoughts into writing. Making new friends and interacting with them makes her feel loved.


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