Thursday, November 11, 2010
Of Cats and Real Estate...
Disclaimer: Cat lovers may find this piece un-cool.
I am not a cat-lover. That doesn’t mean I throw stones at cats that I spot on the road....or intend to hurt them in any way. It simply means, I don’t LOVE them. In fact, if they were on facebook, I don’t think I would have clicked the “Like” button either.
Those who know me well would say that I am terrified of cats. I wouldn’t contradict that. It’s no big deal, you know. I recently discovered that there are so many like me that they actually coined a name for it i.e. ailurophobia.
Ailurophobia specialists would understand (if they exist) that I am not sure why I am scared of cats and since when I developed this fear. I have ALWAYS been scared of them, let’s put it that way. So much so...that with my first salary, I actually hired people who covered the windows of our house in Kolkata with a net like material, to prevent the intruders to creepily walk into our ground-floor flat and give me a heart attack. Which was the main reason why I always wanted to stay in an apartment, preferably on the 15th floor (because cats wouldn’t really know how to use an elevator...and it’s possible that they take the stairs up to the 10th floor. But it would take a super cat to climb more than 10 floors).
But alas, we bought a cottage style house. And bought it from a person who had a pet cat. And this person sold the house to us and started renting the house next door, because he is building a palace elsewhere and would rent till that palace is completed. So the cat owner is now our left-hand neighbour. And the house on the right-hand also has cats. And we have a cat magnet in our backyard...a fish pond!
Now, let me make things clear. I love my house. But I doubt if I would have bought it if I knew I was entering a catty neighbourhood. Now, how would you make a cat understand mortgages and real estate and ownership? The previous owner, who is now our neighbour, probably didn’t even try. So his cat still thinks that our house still belongs to him. I spot him on the kitchen window sill, wagging its grey tail and demanding a hug. Sometimes it sits on the fence, grinning at me. Watching my koi fish seems to be its favourite pastime. Oh, and did I tell you that it chases butterflies in my lawn? How picturesque, I hear you say. How tummy-rumblingly scary, I would say.
Sometimes I feel like photocopying the “Land Title” and “House Ownership” documents, highlighting our names on it, magnifying the Council’s rubber stamp...and keeping it on the fence for the cat to read. But I spent two days teaching the letter A to my 2 yr old niece. I would have to spend a lifetime with the cat to make it read the legalese. And if cats really have nine lives, I may have to spend nine lives with it (because this cat doesn’t look exceptionally bright to me).
As if this wasn’t scary enough, this cat seems to be quite the chocolate-faced heartthrob (it’s brown, in case you wanted to know). For I have often seen it loitering around aimlessly with the other cats of the neighbourhood (yes, there are many more). I concluded it was a male when I saw it chasing two other cats down a lonely alley (what’s eve-teasing called in the cat world?).
I think its owners have been pretty liberal with its upbringing and apparently told him that it was OK to get his dates home. And because he thinks our home is HIS home, one night I saw it hosting a pool party in my backyard, with what looked like, a million other cats. Needless to say, I did not sleep that night out of fear...and I mean the hand-shivering, teeth-clattering, nail-turning-blue kind of fear.
Today, however, would go up in my biography (everyone has their biographies written these days...and I haven’t totally given up on the idea of becoming famous), as a black-letter day. I saw the cat squatting on the lawn and staring at me sternly. From behind closed doors, I said “shoo-shoo” (just before I passed out). And instead of “shooing away”, it shat in my lawn and then also puked a slimy green substance. And at this point, I must have passed out.
Now, I am serious when I say that I feel exploited wronged, betrayed and horrified. I can’t walk into my own backyard without sending someone to inspect the premises before I step out. Can I sue cats? Or sue my neighbour for not keeping his cat under control? Can I be that person who brings about revolution in the legal scene and has new acts created because of them and named after them? Is there a chance that a Scribbler’s Act will be created some day, making it mandatory for cat owners to tie their cats up or restrict them in their house, unless they want to be fined heavily for breach of privacy, disruption of peace, destruction of mental sanity and loss of sleep? Tell me, you legal minds out there....is there any merit in my case?