I’ve become quite worried the past 2 days.
Margaret usually comes around via the back balcony near my trusty old washing machine. She’ll nimbly jump onto the machine, sit atop of it and meow so that we’ll know it’s her and open the kitchen door for her. She used to jump down immediately when we open the door but of late, she knows she has to wait for us to pick her, place her down and get her paws wiped with a wet towel first before she enters our apartment.
She despises the wiping paws bit as we do use a wet towel. But she knows she cannot evade this if she wants to come in.
In short, Margaret’s a semi-pet.
If you don’t know her story yet, you can do a backtrack and read how this feline came into our lives amidst chaos and blood.
Well, many months later, she’s become our official semi-pet. We jokingly call her our HR Manager a.k.a Catbert, after that deliciously evil cat character in Dilbert (which incidentally is every geek’s fave comic. Ask Nic. He waits for the strip every Tuesday and Thursday in InTech, The Star).
She went from a diet of sardines (fresh and uncooked which we bought off Mrs Gan, our fishmonger at Lip Sin market) to Friskies Mackerel (sometimes, it’s Tuna) and Whiskas cat biscuits. She went from mangy, dirty stray with no manners to an absolute charming tabby that had a mind of her own. Like all cats, she possessed an extremely independent streak. She loved nothing better than lolling about, sleeping and playing like a kitten.
She was wily too – 30 minutes after a breakfast of cat biscuits, she’d pleadingly ask us for seconds. Anytime she heard a noise in the kitchen, she’ll be there. Just to sit and ask for food. It was natural we found out. Neutered cats have only one thing on their minds: food because they’re basically de-sexed. The drive is no longer there.
Anyway, she’d become so much of our daily lives that she was a routine more than a pet. She’ll spend the night outdoors, hunting for the odd mouse or two and come really early in the morning to ask for food. She’d clean herself after that and settle in for a nice long snooze in our apartment till lunch when she’ll wake up for lunch, usually another round of cat biscuits.
Her afternoon siesta was a must; she’ll find a warm place to curl up. Sometime it was the balcony, behind the aloe vera plant. Other times, it was near the bathroom, on two mats we specially placed for her (royal) catness. When the weather grew too humid, she’ll just lie right on the cool tiles in the hall itself (it helped that the fan was directly above her).
When she hears me pottering about the kitchen in the late evenings, she’ll wake up, have a shivery long stretch and come poking her cat nose into things. She knows it’s time for dinner. Dinner’s much anticipated because it is often warm rice with canned tuna or mackerel. And after that, Margaret waddles her fat butt back to her most comfy area in the apartment – near the bathroom – and falls asleep.
So we’re used to her routine. She gets the royal treatment from us as Nic will brush her fur out in the mornings and give her eye massages (yes! we’re mad cat people) sometimes. Margaret’s clean too as she gets a bath each Friday morning. She doesn’t mind the baths so much although she stands at weird angles at the bathroom sink.
But Margaret has disappeared since Tuesday. We were out of the apartment the whole of Tuesday and when we arrived home, no sign of the tabby. We thought she’d gone off to another ‘family’ for a bit – she does have her share of apartments she could go to, if only to ask for food. But two days have come and gone and Margaret’s missing.
I actually got depressed over this and am increasingly worried that she might have been taken away by people who don’t like strays around our apartment area. Margaret isn’t technically a stray cat – she’s ours – in a way. So I grew mad, and then worried, and back again to mad because I don’t know where she could be.
But it’s easy to recognise her because she’s got her left ear nicked. The vet ‘cut’ a little triangle off her ear to indicate that she’s been neutered.
Anyway, this is just a little rant to get the worry off me. I do hope Margaret finds her way home. It’s strange how animals change us. A year ago, I’d scoffed if anyone told me I’ll be a cat owner. Or that I’d miss a green-eyed feline whose favourite pastime is sleeping with one paw over one eye.
Nic told me that if she’s gone, then so be it. But that’s not me. I want to know if Margaret’s really gone or if she’s been taken away, or hurt. I guess I get very attached to animals – I cried my eyes out when my tortoise and lovebird died last October.
Oh Margaret, where are you?
I’ve become quite worried the past 2 days.