Like every other animal lover, we are crying for last two days. It is still so painful. Not able to sleep in the night without remembering her and talking about her. We feel the pain of her, as we are seeing her through the eyes of a mother, eyes of our recent mother Minnu. I am trying to let out my pain. In my mind I call her Kalyani. So I dedicate this article to Kalyani.
I Hung My Head In Shame
A gift or a curse, once we take care of a baby with love , whether human or animal, we see every kid through them. We feel their pain. We feel their hunger. We see every mother through us. Here I didn’t mean a mother as a woman. Mother is a representation of a person with love in heart for any kid. We feel the tensions and worries of a mother. A mother will do anything to take care of the babies. When we make her fail and that too knowingly, it is a failure of mankind. I am usually proud to be called as Mallu. But today I hung my head in shame.
Seeing through our Minnu…
We were not able to sleep for quite sometime yesterday night. We were deeply hurt. We were discussing about where the human race is going. We were associating the situation with what our Minnu would have gone through. We salute our Minnu(a cat who came into our life ~2 months back) for her courage. We are feeling blessed that she trusted us. We are thankful to God for giving us this opportunity. We feel the pain and tensions of Kalyani through our Minnu. We present here our journey with Minnu.
Her painful past..
She was a stray cat occasionally coming in our compound for food. A very soft and scared one. We named her Minnu (which was my previous cat’s name).
She lost ALL HER babies in her first delivery. She was a typical stray cat, not allowing us to even protect those babies. She gave birth in the neighbouring house compound, which was locked. The babies were lying without any cover on the concrete floor. They were crying in-between and kept quiet when they became tired. We begged her to get the babies to us. We tried all the possible ways. We used to climb on the grill to throw some food for her and some cloths if she wanted to cover her babies. She didn’t take our offer. May be she thought she could handle them. May be she didn’t trust us enough.
My first work after coming from office was to go and inspect the situation. I painfully realised that they were becoming worse as the time passes. After 4 days, I saw the neighbouring house gate open and was so relieved that I can reach them and get them home. But I couldn’t find them in the neighbouring house. After 1 or 2 days, I came to know that she dragged all the kittens to the house behind us. They are also animal lovers. They also used to feed her regularly like us. The girl(studying in 10th std) along with her brother tried to take care. Minnu allowed us to touch the babies. But the Girl in that house mentioned that 4 babies died with blood coming out of their nose. Only two survived by then.
Minnnu either didn't have milk or didn't even know to feed them. She was just going and sitting on the top of the babies. Girl was feeling sad about the lost 4 and offered me to protect the remaining two. I got them home. Minnu didn't resist. And she was looking confused or un interested. Babies were looking very weak, hardly moving. We tried to keep them warm. Teddy(our dog) hugged them too. We called doctor for advice. On his direction, we tried to arrange KMR(Kitten Milk replacement). But before we could do anything, they died in front of our eyes in less than an hour. We felt helpless and so painful when Minnu came and took the dead bodies from us. Later we read about the condition of the babies. May be they were born pre-mature. May be Minnu knew that.
She controlled her fear for her babies…
Again she became pregnant. May be this time she was tensed and worried of her past experience. May be she didn't have enough food. May be she didn't even know how to nurse the babies. She may not have full trust on herself as a mother. It was a news to us that some cats may not even know to cut the umbilical chord or the baby sac. They may not even know to nurse the kitten also in some cases. We learned these details only when we studied for our Minnu. I am still amazed with the capabilities and the knowledge of animals. Without google (and in past books, teacher elders etc), we humans know nothing. How does an animal know that there is a sac for every baby and they need to cut that first and then the umbilical chord.
Looked like this time she decided to take help. She wanted to ensure that babies get care on time. We don’t know how long she was worried, what her thinking process was, why she decided to come to us etc. We just know that it was not an easy decision. We are vegetarians. So we used to her feed only the boring ready made dry food. We knew others fed her meat and fish. She knew there is another male cat and a dog, which can even be risky for her life. Earlier we tried to get her inside the house to spay her. We took doctor appointment twice. But had to cancel it, as she used to get very scared of the cat and dog and ran out every time we tried. And our cat also used to show his anger. I am sure that she remembered every bit of her experience in our house. Good and bad. Now she took that risky step. She controlled her fear. We are sure she didn’t do all these to enjoy the comfort of staying inside a house of some animal lovers. She took that decision only for her babies. We love and respect her for that.
Walking from Wild to Humans ..
We still wonder how she got that courage. It was like walking from wild to humans.
It was just a majestic, yet gentle walk into the house and she lied down near the staircase. It was on 14th April. She was our Vishu Kaineettam** from God. She was very calm and composed. Was not bothered how she will handle the dog and the cat. She just looked at us and told us "I want some food and I want to sleep.. take care of me and my babies inside". We really don't know how and what she communicated to Teddy(our dog) and Tommy(our cat) . They were very happy to accommodate her. Not even single growl or fight action. Nobody claimed any territories. In fact they were competing with each other, to take care of her. They were trying to get her attention. They watched her eating food in admiration. They shared everything possible they had with her. And she also didn’t act as if she was new comer. She declared everything as hers too.
(Vishu Kaineettam** - a token of blessing. Vishu is a festival celebrated in Kerala. On that day elders give blessing to the younger ones in the form of coins. )
Her happy part of life …Ours too…
We read and studied on how we can help her if she was not prepared enough in her journey as a mother. I was awake with her till 4:30 in the morning when she gave birth to 3 beautiful, healthy looking kittens on May 7th.
But I didn’t have any trust in her as a mother. I was even tensed whether she really delivered all babies. 3 is not a common number of kittens. Internet scares and half knowledge adds to it . It is possible that if they get tired, they will decide not to deliver all babies. But that is fatal for the mother. Could not sleep till the hospital opened in the morning. We took her to the doctor and got confirmed with XRay that she is fine. Then I started suspecting whether she has enough milk to feed as we saw the babies trying and giving up. We frantically tried to arrange KMR as doctor told that the kittens can't survive more than a day without milk. (BTW, KMR is not available anywhere we knew). Anyway now all tensions are set. Now they are happy, healthy, playful and removing all our stress. We all enjoy every bit of it.
Her trust …
Even now, she is very vigilant when she is taking care of her babies. But she sleeps like a log when we are are there with the babies. Teddy( our male dog) thinks that he is the foster mother. He needs to visit them occasionally. He was very happy when we moved the babies to the cage. For hours he will sit outside the cage and watches them without even blinking. But if he goes near the babies when we are not around, she goes to hit him. If we are around and gives her assurance that "We are here.. we will take care", she remains calm and allow him to go near. (But the funny part is the if they touches him, he gets scared and move back ).
Don’t break their trust and crush their wish…
Animals at times are helpless to take care of their babies. Lack of food, possible complication during birth, passed information in their genes about an unpleasant experience etc. They seek help of humans. Anyone who comes for help place us in a higher place than them. We need to go out of our ways to help them, whether they are humans or animals. Instead if we make fun of their helplessness, I wonder how do we compensate our bad Karma? I believe there is no you or me here. We are humans. We need to pay the price of inhuman actions of anybody from our clan. Be prepared. Universe will ask us answers in different forms. Let us do our bit to take care of
A tearful, head down, Pranaam for that mother elephant. May God compensate her with lot of love and care in her next birth .. May she forgive us…
Extra read :
Fun facts …..
We (myself, my husband and my son) declared that we own one kitten each. When Minnu looked at us with confusion about her ownership, we consoled her that we will give her visiting rights in the future.
We named them Kingini(mine), Keetavoli*(my husband’s ) and ET(my son’s).
Keetavoli** is a funny Malayalam name given to a kid, who cries in a loud voice continuously without any specific reason. We may need to change the names when we get to know their gender.
Tommy’s story in short…
Many years back I had a cat named Minnu. She was an abandoned kitten in our house. She lived with us for many years. One day she disappeared. We are sure she would have come back home if she was alive. For quite some time we had no cats in our house.
3 years back I was down with a severe fever and was lying in bed for couple of days. My husband saw two boys trying to find a parent for an abandoned kitten. Kitten was abandoned near the construction site they live. He got this kitten inside as a gift to cheer me up. Without any hesitation, the baby just came and slept with me as if he knew me for years.
We thought it was female cat and named as Minnu in the memory of my old cat. But we had to change to Tommy when we took him to the doctor. And now we got this Minnu in our house.