For about a year now, I’ve been a Cat owner. My fiancé and I went to Austin to go see Trevor Noah perform Stand-Up Comedy in November of 2016 and the next day, we went to San Antonio to visit my in-law’s and that’s where we met the cutest and friendliest cat ever.Anyone from San Antonio will attest that stray animals plague the streets. Currently, there are about 4 other stray animals I’m feeding outside my room (but more on that later.)
Emily and I found this cat outside her grandmother’s house and my first thought naturally, was to call the cat over and pet it. To my surprise, the cat came over to me and she rubbed her head against my hand. Even Emily was surprised, as she, like most people, assumed cats were incapable of displaying emotion or being nice to humans. I was smitten immediately by this cat and decided that I would unofficially adopt and name this cat. Being the huge Simpsons fan that I am, I named the cat Scratchy. We weren’t sure if the cat was a boy or girl at the time, but we felt Scratchy was a gender-neutral name for the cat. Scratchy is a Her by the way.
We weren’t sure where this cat came from and the origins are sparse because it may have been a cat adopted by Emily’s father somewhere but it wasn’t exactly being looked after, respectively. Emily and I wound up getting Scratchy some food and she just hung out with us the entire day. Emily and I couldn’t get the thought of this cat out of our heads. She was just so sweet and friendly to us and we never experienced this amount of friendliness before. Mind you, this is BEFORE we fed Scratchy.
We didn’t end up bringing Scratchy with us back to Houston right away however, cause we weren’t sure if we were ready for that level of responsibility. But when we went back to San Antonio, we were surprised to see that Scratchy was still around and she recognized us immediately and purred and meowed at us as if to ask where we’ve been. Of course, we gave her some food too cause who knows if she has been eating? Scratchy ended up sticking by us the entire Thanksgiving Holiday. Emily’s family members that met and saw Scratchy were impressed by how sweet and loving she was, especially to us.
The same thing happened again in December when we went back for Christmas. This time we stuck around until New Years and Scratchy stuck by us, again. This time, she slept next to us in our bed, we got toys for her and strongly considered officially adopting her. And after careful consideration, Emily and I brought her home to Houston.
I got a bunch of cat food that I assumed Scratchy would like, a litter box, and treats so she would have a pleasant welcoming experience. When Emily took her out of her carrier box, Scratchy recognized me and approached me but didn’t recognize the surroundings so kind of was hesitant to let me pet her. But then she smelled Emily’s apartment, explored the surroundings and eventually let us pet her again. Still, we gave her some space so she wouldn’t be overwhelmed or anything. She liked the food we gave her, she enjoyed playing with her toys and even knew how to use the litterbox without having to train her. She would sit next to us, sleep next to us.
Naturally, we took Scratchy to the vet so she could get her shots and make sure she was nice and healthy. To our surprise once again, the Veterinarian and her assistants were impressed with how well behaved Scratchy was and she could tell the cat loved us based on how calm she was whenever she was getting her shots. It’s kind of weird to say, especially since you had to be there to believe me, but she would look at us and it was like she knew instinctively, she could trust us. However, one of the vet assistants didn’t realize they had already done a fecal exam, and did another one on Scratchy and it was the first time we ever saw Scratchy hiss. She didn’t bite her or scratch her, just hissed. Yes, after getting something shoved up her ass, TWICE, all she did was go, “Hey! What the hell?! STOP!!”
As the months and weeks have gone by, our admiration for this cat has only grown. Scratchy has become part of our family and she loves us just as much. Occasionally we leave for San Antonio for a day or two and since cats are pretty independent, she’s fine by herself. However, when we come back, she acts as if we’ve been gone forever with how much she meows and purrs at us. It may sound weird for some people but Emily and I really consider Scratchy like our child.
I’ve been surrounded by dogs my entire life so I never got to know what it was like to have a cat but did see a few cats in my life and remember really liking them. There was once a cat that hung outside my house when I was about 14 or 15 that my mom left milk out for and the cat was a total sweetheart, I remember petting it and then I think my brother gave it to a shelter or something. The point is, I never really got to have a pet of my own, until now.
And the interesting post script in having this cat is cause there is an essay I wrote about a dog my sister used to have, named Moose. I loved that dog a lot and I know the feeling was mutual. The poor guy passed away in the Spring of 2016 however. Believe me when I say, I cried so much after he died and miss him terribly. I say to myself that the reason for me being introduced to a sweet and loving cat like Scratchy is the Universe’s way of telling me I couldn’t find a dog that could replace Moose.
Indeed, a cat like Scratchy would be hard to replace, and I dread the day she goes. Moving miles away from Emily and Scratchy to San Antonio for Graduate School has made me miss them both terribly. Of course, I miss my mother and siblings as well, but this essay is about Scratchy, but I feel like I should mention that as a disclaimer. Strangely however, one of the first things that happened when I settled into my new room in San Antonio, I got some fast food delivered to me and while I walked back to my room, I saw a white cat.
Our eyes met and I took out a chicken nugget from my bag and placed it on the ground for her and proceeded to walk back to my room. I should mention, it didn’t matter that they were cats, if they were birds or dogs, or any other animal, I’d like to say I would have done the same regardless. Next thing I know, she holds the nugget in her mouth, meows and two white kittens ( male and female that looked a lot like her) came running towards her and she walks over to them, drops it in front of them and stands guard while they eat. I couldn’t resist the preciousness of that moment, so I went in my house and grabbed some slices of turkey and placed it gently on the ground and thinking the cat could understand me, I let her know what was in my hand and the food was for them.
I saw her the next day, and days later, she would still hiss at me from time to time cause of how feral she was but she still seemed sweet, so I named her Glenda (after the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz.) I also saw the two kittens again and another cat soon joined the trio. This was an orange cat and looked nothing like them, but he seemed nice so I said why not. Eventually, the orange cat and one of the kittens (male) got comfortable enough around me to let me pet them so I was happy about that. I named the orange cat Raja (King in Hindi) and the male kitten Itchy. I also named the female kitten Sharmila (truth be told, I’m not sure if I spelled it right but it means Shy in Urdu/Hindi) because she would eat the food but never became comfortable to be too close to me.
When my fiancé came to visit me in San Antonio, she got to meet all the cats and she fell in love with Raja and Itchy as I did. Itchy however, looked weak and scraggly, so it was comforting to know he was being fed. And 3 months later, he became fat and fluffy. We both agreed to keep Raja and Itchy some day when we get a bigger space and have all 3 of our cats living with us. I got to introduce Scratchy to Raja and Itchy, and they got along pretty well but Raja wants to remain an Outdoor cat, unfortunately. But, at least we’ll have Itchy & Scratchy!
I liked these cats a lot because I didn’t really have friends in San Antonio to go out with and hang out aside from my classmates but we never really had time to spend outside of school. I ended up getting a phone call from a friend I met once and introduced me to four other dudes and we ended up establishing our own little circle that I look forward to hanging out with every time I’m in San Antonio. Because I put the photos of these cats on Snapchat and Instagram and one of my close friends, Tarik, who invited me and is the sole reason for the circle I have, saw the pictures and coincidentally, when we met up at one of his friends’ apartment, there just so happened to be a cat near my car. He presumed it was mine and I reassured him it wasn’t but it was pretty!
He wound up telling everyone about the cats I have and Tarik lovingly gave me the nickname: Abu Hurairah. The nickname, Abu Hurairah (Father of Kitten) comes from one of Prophet Muhammad’s close companions who shared the titular nickname. I thought it was cool and funny cause I never pictured myself as a cat person. Because I always felt like cat people were annoying cause all they wanted to do was talk about their cat. And now here I am, talking about my cat(s) and all I want to do is talk about my cat(s).
It’s been a year now since we met Scratchy and despite the short time, I can’t imagine life without her. Everyone whose met her has fallen in love with her and knows how awesome of a cat she is. Like any pet, she’s a big responsibility but she’s worth it. People have this misconception that cats are evil by nature or something but that’s simply not true. We could make the same assertion about dogs being vicious. Some people will even contend that cats are incapable of having a relationship with humans i.e., they’re sociopaths. But put yourself in a stray cat’s paws (cause they don’t have shoes) and imagine the danger they face and then tell me if you’d be friendly. It’s like you’re homeless and tiny, what a dangerous combination! And now, we have another cat: Itchy. I don’t know if we will get another cat anytime soon but for now, we are content with these two. And can’t wait for more furry adventures with these two. Here’s to animals, and here’s to cats!
Written on the 4th of January, 2018 at 8:30 P.M.
Scratchy is also on Instagram @Scratchykins & Facebook: Scratchy Kins Sharma
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