There is this stray at where I live – she’s not particularly a cute thing, in fact, I used to chase it away when I used to see it because she would bug people and cats around the area. It’s a grey coloured cat, with a little cut on her right ear. My family called it the Nippy Cat.
Nippy Cat is part of a family of three cats that just loiter about in the area where we live. We’re not particularly creative with cat names, so we sort of gave them names Nippy Cat 1, Nippy Cat 2, Nippy Cat 3. Eventually we observed enough of their personality to give them better names. Nippy Cat 2 became Cute Nippy, or Itchy Nippy because well, as expected. Nippy Cat 3 was Skinny Nippy because she was so thin. Sometimes we call her Stupid Nippy because she’s a little daft.
Nippy Cat remained Nippy Cat.
Nippy Cat actually had a real personality. She never meowed, she was very fierce and protective over her territory, and more importantly, she was very protective over the other Nippies. I used to find her irritating because she would sniff and follow and beg for food as I walked up from my car. Eventually I got used to the little critter, and even liked to think she was walking me to the elevator, a sort of “Welcome home, let me escort you back!” or “Oooh, you’re going out? Let me walk you to your car.”
Lately, the Nippy Cat started developing sores all over her body. The last time I saw the same type of sores, it was Eizwan’s cat, Old Lady (yes, I named her too) which developed cancer. I was convinced it was cancer – and I could see that the once sprightly and angry Nippy became slower, her eyes less bright and movement less sprightly. But she would still trail me from the lift to my car and from my car to the lift.
Maybe she saw us as her responsibility, to take care of these humans till they got back home, like who knows what we’d do without the responsibility of us cats.
My mum hates seeing cats in pain and started to wonder if she ought to be put down. I’ve never had to put a pet down before – even though this was a feral cat, I did not like the idea. I kept postponing it until today when we saw the Nippy’s eyes water, and she limped as the open sore beneath was so big, that her flesh was falling off (sorry, graphic, I know).
Wearing gloves, we picked her up and sent her off to the vet. The vet took one look at her and bet his money on sporotrichosis, a deadly fungal infection that is highly contagious and dangerous to both animals AND humans. Treatment is expensive and difficult – and the vet can’t even help – it’s too dangerous to keep the cat in the vet.
The only viable and logical option was of course, to put her down. I kept repeating that treating her was not viable – I guess I wanted the vet to say it’s okay for us to put her down.
Cats don’t cry – but Nippy Cat’s eyes watered, like droplets of tears, at the vet. She looked so scared, my overactive imagination wondered if she thought why were we doing this to her, like all she did was to walk us back to the lift.
The vet said that they’d sedate her before touching her, because she was too dangerous to be held. And just like that, we signed a paper saying we’re letting her go, and that was how we said goodbye to Nippy Cat. Nippy was brought into the vet’s office and that was the last we saw of her.
My parents fast every Monday and Thursday, and my brother jokes that after the breaking of the fast, we go to a mall for our ‘pilgrimage’. Usually it’s for a coffee, ice-cream or a cupcake. When we arrived home today, Cute Nippy was meowing. She was looking for Nippy Cat, she was so distressed that Nippy Cat was gone.
My mum always say that if she ever goes to heaven, she’d like to think that all the cats in her life will be there waiting for her. I read somewhere that Islam doesn’t believe that animals have souls so that they won’t go to heaven. I’ve never verified it so despite hating Nippy Cat at first, I do hope I’d see her again.
Goodbye Nippy Cat. I hope your short life was as comfortable as it could be.