By Aditi Baindur
In the pouring rain, a mewing sound emanated from our garage into my room. My dad and I took flash lights and went to investigate. We found that the sound came from an empty cardboard box piled high along the wall. Inside, I found a tiny ball of fur, a hungry and emaciated, flea-covered feline calling for its mother.
After I got it down, we took it home. I fell in love with its soulful eyes at first glance. I felt that it would be a loyal pet. My mum, who is fond of cats, was graciously willing to allow the new little addition to our family. I decided to name it “Courage”. Tick powder, milk and a dropper were purchased from the store and immediate help was given.
Courage was white with a black spot on both of his ears and one on his back. He could comfortably fit in the palm of my hand.
To begin with, Courage was not in the best of health. A two-week old kitten normally cannot survive without its mother as it depends on her for nutrition, immunity, safety and hygiene.
When we showed the kitten to Dr Vinchurkar, our visiting veterinarian, he mentioned that while Courage was not healthy as he had picked up a fungal infection from his mother, he still had a slim chance of making it. We started dosing Courage and hand-feeding him. We used cotton, ink-droppers and a children’s bottle to feed him milk. Courage would cling on to the bottle while drinking which looked extremely adorable.
Slowly he gained strength and became active. When he was not feeding or sleeping, Courage was playful. He made a purring sound when he played with my hair. I spent most of my time playing with him. Very soon, all of us got used to him being in the house, so did our dogs.
My Labrador retriever, Aslan could not make up his mind about whether to growl at the kitten or simply play with it. My other dog, Tashi did not like Courage as it took away our attention from her. She never hurt the kitten but growled if it approached her.
We converted a cardboard cartoon into a play-pen. Courage used one corner to relieve his needs so it was easy to change the papers and keep both him and the box clean. He soon learnt to climb out of the box which was taller than he was. He dug his claws into the cardboard and centimetre by centimetre climbed out of it. We clapped the first time he managed to get out unaided. Courage was loved by everyone; guests who came over would coochie-coo over him.
One day, our little kitten just stopped drinking milk. When we would try to feed him, he would shut his snout tight and not open it. We tried to force it down his throat but he would spit it out. We called the veterinarian doctor to examine him but Courage did not live that long. We put all of Courage’s chew-toys and baby bottle with him when we buried him in our backyard, except for one toy which I kept in his memory.
Even now, I remember him playing with my hair, running under tables and beds, mewing when not given attention. Though Courage is no longer with us, memories of the short time he spent with us live on in our minds. Rest in peace, Courage. We love you!