I love animals too much for my own good. I blame my parents for this.
Growing up, we always owned dogs and, at one time, a cat. My earliest memory of an animal in our house was this big, hairy, white dog my parents named Soyos. He was docile and adorable. He liked being petted all the time and didn’t make a lot of fuss. I loved that dog so much that I remember crying and refusing to go to sleep ton he night he died from a disease.
After Soyos, we owned more dogs. Different dogs at various times since we moved quite a bit back then. For some reason, my parents and I weren’t too fond of cats at that time. Until Ligid-ligid came along.
I was in college when my Dad formed a bond with one of the neighbor’s female cats. The cat would come over and meow loudly outside our kitchen door until my Dad would come out and play with her.
The cat’s name came up after my Dad somehow trained that cat to roll over whenever he tell her to “ligid-ligid”, which is the dialect for “roll over.” Dad would pick her up and put her on top of a table. Then he would tell her to “ligid-ligid” several times and she would lay down and roll over until she falls off the table and lands on her feet on the ground. Then she would swiftly jump up on the table and do it all over again.
My parents were utterly delighted with her antics that they soon let her in the house and in their hearts and started feeding her. That cat got plump and heavy enough that it was taking her longer and longer to jump back up on the table as time went by.
When we had to leave that house and move to another, we left Ligid-ligid behind because technically, she wasn’t ours. We don’t know if she’s still alive since it was almost 10 years ago that we moved from that house. She was the first and the last cat that we would own.
Fast forward to sometime 2005. The agency that I work for had our provincial office move to a new, rent-free, government-owned building. This building wasn’t yet finished when we moved in, so there were still construction work being done here and there. Most of the carpenters were working overnight to speed things up, so they set up temporary living quarters around the building.
Since they were cooking their own food in their quarters, stray cats started hanging around. The carpenters were leaving their scraps around for the cats, and this drew in more stray cats. Some of them found their way into the 3rd floor, where our agency just moved in. I saw the big, pleading eyes and I melted. (I used to fear cats like kids fear the dark. But it’s a long story how I got crazy over them.)
I started feeding a couple of them bits of my leftover lunch. When Pia, one of the female cats (I named my favorites, the ones that let me pet them) gave birth to 3 kittens, she brought them over to our office’s front door, almost like a gift to me. Or maybe it was her way of saying: “Hey, you need to give us more food because now you have more mouths to feed.”
Since that time, I was hooked. I couldn’t, couldn’t, stop myself from feeding them everyday, petting them, hugging them, scratching their chins. I was smitten. Every time they circle around my legs or lick my fingers or play with my shoes, they’re tugging at my heartstrings. Each time they meet me with such enthusiasm when I arrive at work, bounding towards me gracefully along the hallway with their heads cocked and eyes looking at me and recognizing me, that is one form of bliss right there.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed by my writing tasks, I’d take a break, go out and spend some quality time with them. Watching them play, or lying around staring at me with so much trust in their eyes, the stress slowly seeps out of my weary grey cells. In a way, they recharge me.
I soon became the brunt of good-natured jokes among my co-workers and colleagues. They would tease me that I’ll end up being the spinster who never found a husband because she was too busy raising cats. (But I don’t mind because I’m not in a hurry to chain myself to some guy now.)
Pretty much from that time on, a portion of my salary goes to buying cat food. Some days it’s Whiskas (they love the seafood combo) but most of the time it’s fried or steamed fish mixed with rice. It’s part of my budget now.
About 3 months ago, one of the females who I named Butter (because of her golden fur and golden eyes) gave birth to 2 similarly colored kittens inside the toilet beside our office. I got a wee worried this time. I was hoping the kittens aren’t females because that would mean more babies and more mouths to feed in the future!
Imagine my relief when I recently found out that they’re both males. I saw tiny red pointed thingies poking out between their hind legs while they were licking themselves clean.
With the arrival of the two lovable imps, that brings to 5 cats at work who are enjoying free food, petting and kisses from me. I named the new arrivals Marg and Pop, after margarita and popcorn, which someone told me is a perfect pair.
As much as I love them all, the responsible thing to do is not to let them breed uncontrolled. Just like humans. I’ll have to find a way to bring them to the local veterinary office and have them neutered to prevent them from breeding wildly when the time comes they start sowing their oats.
I wish I can bring them all home with me, but there are 3 dogs at home who are cat killers. They once murdered a stray cat and left it on the doorstep. Another time, one of them bit a neighbor’s cat and brutally thrashed it around until it died from a broken neck.
Someone told me I should give Marg and Pop away to people who can give them better homes than just lurking around the office building where they’ll be more exposed to dangers from humans and nature. I know that’s the right and responsible thing to do. But they’re such winsome creatures that I didn’t have the heart to do so. Especially now that I’ve named them. Any pet owner knows that once you’ve given a pet a name, they own you, instead of the other way around.
At least Marg and Pop are males, so I won’t be expecting any kittens from them.
Unless their mom Butter decides she wants more babies. Then I’ll be in trouble.
Anyway, what’s a cat post without more cat photos?
Should my potential future mate be reading this post now, be warned: he who loves me must love animals, too.