I used to be a proud pet owner until a few weeks ago. At first it didn’t really register that I had indeed lost the cat. It happened over a very busy weekend full of never ending wageni and chores. So it wasn’t until two days later, when I finally came up for air that it finally sunk in that my cat was gone.
Taking care of a cat in Nairobi is fairly difficult. Aside from the usual feeding and petting, you have to find a place for it to ‘make pee-pee and poo-poo’. You have to get used to having fur all over your clothes, furniture and sometimes in your nostrils! But on the up side, you have a faithful little friend who is always eager to cuddle up with you, listen to your woes, and whose purr can be interpreted as ‘ehe/nkt/wacha jokes/yeye ni fala” etc.
So when I lost my little kitten, I was crushed. And some questions started to crop up in my mind. Everyone says that a pet is like a trial baby. Ok not everyone, but I know I heard that in some movie. And ok maybe they said that within the context of a couple getting a pet but woreva! A pet is a trial baby as far as I’m concerned. And in that regard, I have lost my baby. Of course this reflects very, very badly on me. Does this mean I shall be a bad mother? I fed, petted, made-place-to-pee-poop for the cat but clearly I did not give it the most important thing: attention. I was too busy flying in and out of the house, attending to this or that issue meanwhile my little baby was left alone.
I knew this was to be the case from day one, I knew that I’d be busy but now I wonder if I really thought things through? Had I thought about the cat’s emotional needs? It sounds weird but think about it. I gave it lots of food and shelter but I didn’t have time to really give it affection. Not lately anyway. Most of the time I got home tired and even when she curled up next to me I would pet her a little bit then go to bed. Next morning shooop, mimi huyooooo handling business. Cat’s have feelings too. How do I know this? Well I have plenty of scratches to establish a case!
It normal for cats to scratch and bite as play but somehow I could detect a little bit of malice and sadness in the cat’s scratches. There was a ka-vibe hapo kati kati saying ‘woishe look at me, play with me, ooh you don’t want to? Well take that, and THAT and THAAAAT’.
Why do we get children anyway? Sometimes I look around at the street kids, the mothers shouting and insulting their kids, the women who bite back the words ‘if only I didn’t have you I’d be so far ahead in life’. Fine the last one is a little rude but sometimes I can almost see it in some women’s eyes. The what-ifs of it all. I love kids I think they are heavenly. But I know the realities of child-rearing and the sacrifices one has to make. They are not flowers or ornaments meant to garnish our lives. They are little beings that we have responsibility over.
Perhaps that is the lesson that my brief stint as a ‘mama’ so-and-so was meant to teach me. Perhaps it was my dress rehearsal for the real thing. And hopefully this time I will not neglect my ‘baby’ nor [God-forbid!!!] lose him/her.
The girl who misses her kitty cat
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Some things are best left unsaid, while others are best said by others...allow me to say them all.