Sunday, 16 August 2015

What I learnt from Kit-Kat, the Kitten.

Three weeks ago, my 10 year neighbor, rang our door bell and said, “Aunty, look at this”. In his hand was a tiny kitten, a ball of fur curled up, just a couple of weeks old, may be. The kitten looked so adorable that I asked to play with her. The neighbor, Vivek, an ardent animal lover, had found this kitten abandoned near our building gate and had picked it up. The kitten was so young, it did not know how to lick milk off a bowl yet. I quickly called a friend of mine about a possible solution. She suggested a dropper but I realized the dropper could hold only a few drops of fluid at a time and the kitten wanted a continuous supply. So we bought a feeding bottle. I do not know how many days the kitten was starved, because as soon as we filled the feeding bottle with milk and brought it near her, she leaped and grabbed the bottle, held it with her paws, as a human would with his/her hands, and glugged down milk like a pro. After some substantial amount of milk had been consumed, did the kitten come fully to life.

After some initial random words of endearment, I decided to call her Kit-Kat. KK, to begin with, started exploring my house, by sniffing and touching various surfaces. And once she was familiar with every corner of the house, there was no stopping her. Literally! She would jump from one corner to another, crouch under chairs and sofas, play and attack some stray feather, or thread lying around. Her favorite was, however, chewing and clawing at our ankles. This was my first close interaction with any animal, so I wondered why she did that. Soon the reason became apparent. Anything that ‘moves’ around is something to be attacked and caught, as per the cat’s instincts or programming. So it was hilarious to watch her, crouch under the chair or from some corner, observing our feet as we paced up and down the room, and suddenly spring and leap from her corner grabbing our ankles and chewing it. Luckily her teeth are not fully developed so the chewing tickles rather than pains us.

About a week after she came to us, we had to travel out of town and even my neighbor was traveling. So we left her with a care-taker. I had known her only for a week, but gosh, I had tears in my eyes, while leaving her in another house. I didn't realize I could have such strong affinity to anything or for that matter a capacity to love another being so much!  

Soon Kit-Kat became and still is an important part of our lives. Once my husband and I were discussing how this adorable kitten suddenly entered our lives and we discussed how animals show us a mirror to our own deeper, uncomplicated selves. May be that is what we aspire for, sub consciously, and that is what makes animals endearing to those who love them.

Kit-Kat showed us what it is to live in the moment. When she is hungry, her meowing in no uncertain terms conveys that food is to be served. When she is playful, she makes sure we are on our toes, however tired. And when she is sleepy, she does dozes off and how adorable the munchkin looks.
One important thing that Kit-Kat showed us was how to be devoid of ‘ego’, the way Eckhart Tolle explains. Kit-Kat, at night, sleeps, under the stairway, in our building, in an area enclosed by a wire mesh. One night, we are not sure how, she escaped and was attacked by a tom-cat, and the next day morning we found her nose dripping with blood and with claw marks on her neck. My kid neighbor took her to the Vet who gave her an injection and a dosage for 4 days. The neighbor said that though there were dogs at the clinic about 50 times her own size, she showed no fear and walked past them bravely. Anyways, 2 days, we spent worrying about Kit-Kat, because she was not able to lick milk because the nose came in contact with the fluid while licking and she was not the hyper active kitten we had known. After returning from the Vet’s, as soon as I opened the door, she straight walked up to a cozy corner and lay sleeping. We force fed her with a dropper because it was many hours since she had taken something. After 2 days, she slowly started getting back to normal, chasing feathers, chewing on footwear and her usual pranks.

It just made me think how Kit-Kat is not thinking about who attacked her and wallowing in self-pity. She just experienced whatever happened to her and let it pass. She wasn’t holding on to the traumatic experience. She just ‘is’ in the moment. I compared her behavior with mine. Just around the same time, I had an unpleasant incident with a homeless man whom I was kind to (read my earlier post related to a Mural) and I went about repeating the same story to 3-4 friends for the next couple of days about how I was scared, uncomfortable, etc. I was still reliving that incident by narrating it many times over and actually adding some imagined macabre grandeur to the incident. What a difference between my Kit-Kat and my own self.

Anyways when I realized this, it helped me let go off my ‘story’ and just be. It’s not for nothing that this beautiful golden kitten has come into our lives. As I’m typing this, she is all curled up, in the realm of dreams. BTW, I wonder what do cats dream about!!
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