CANINE FELINE FRIENDSHIP – PART I
by Dr. Tulsi Hanumanthu
Once our tom-cat brought to our house,
As honoured guest, his feline spouse.
Have some milk” he offered.
“ Mere soup for me? ” she thundered.
“For dinner go and get me a mouse! ”
Our poor Tom went, then, a-hunting;
From kitchen to store he kept shunting.
At last, a mouse he killed.
Munching it, she willed:
“Fish for supper I’ll soon be wanting! ”
Next, between our Fridge and me
He shuttled anew, looking unhappy.
Readily then, I served
The fish for him preserved.
Gobbling them up, “Bring Dessert! ” said she.
Egg-pudding, in my hand, he traced:
Upon my knee his paw he placed,
And begged “Some pudding spare”.
I gave him all my share.
Swallowing it, to his bed she raced!
On Tom’s bed – with cotton padded -
Settling down, the she-cat added:
“Your home is now the street
Where, some day, we’ll meet.
Now, off you go or else you’ve had it! ”
Our Tom’s travails, having seen,
I could not help but intervene:
“O Mrs. Cat, you are
Cunning beyond par!
Get lost and never more be seen! ”
The catty cat slunk away
But, at the gate, paused to say:
“Let him have your house,
But can’t I, as his spouse,
Within your compound, at least, stay? ”
“Well” I said, “I wouldn’t mind
If you can, in our backyard, find
Some place to make your home
Or, at will, to roam.
But you must leave your tricks behind! ”
Having failed to bag the best,
To terms laid down, agreed our guest.
Morning, noon and night
We let her have a bite
Of food. No more was she a pest.
Two months, two feline mouths we fed
With omlette, fish, milk and bread.
One fine day, the female,
With proudly upturned tail,
Into our view, two kittens led!
‘Non-paying guests’ thus increased,
Of finance we’d be surely fleeced?
“Miaaw! Milk! ” said one.
The other: “I want a bun”.
The kittens’ hunger was soon appeased.
Then, also fed had to be
The parent cats – both he and she -
“Fish and eggs, with rice,
Would be surely nice! ”
They purred; and served they were by me.
One indoor cat, three outdoor ones,
With fish, eggs, milk and buns
Were kept supplied for days.
We liked their playful ways;
And watching them was really fun!
The feline folk enjoyed at will,
And made us happy too; but still,
The loser was our Jim.
We could not unchain him
For fear he might, the kittens, kill.
Our canine pet demurred: “Whow, Whow!
You seem to love me less, somehow.
A prisoner am I or pet?
Free I’m never set
These days. What’ the matter now? ”
Our darling dog was re-assured
We loved him most. “You’ve endured
Undue curbs, we know.
But since you are their foe,
Shouldn’t their safety be secured? ”
Said generous Jim: “Not only cats,
All friends of yours – be they rats -
No foes of mine can be.
Your surely do trust me?
Pussies shall have my petting pats”.
Relieved I was, and thankful too,
For Jimmy’s kind, broad-minded view.
I knew that he was truthful
As much as he was faithful.
Dogs like Jim you find but few!
Hardly had I untied Jim
When pussies raced away from him!
Beckoning them, he barked.
With half distrust, they harked.
Matters looked a little grim.
Vowed Jim “Whow! Your friend I’ll be”.
”You intend well, as we can see.
To play with you, we’ll come”
Agreed the feline foursome -
The cats as well as kittens wee.
First our Tom approached our Jim.
Well enough, our Jim knew him,
For inmate pets were both.
They sealed their friendship’s troth
By shaking ‘hands’ (their right forelimbs) !
The next to come was Mrs. Cat.
An eyelid, too, she did not bat
When Jimmy licked her face!
Of fear she bore no trace.
She even returned his friendly pat!
It was now the kittens’ turn.
No more did they need to learn
That brave they ought to be,
Like their mummy-daddy.
Jim’s embrace they did not spurn!
Thus, his words were not belied.
They play, together, ‘seek-and-hide’
And freely frisk and romp.
At times, with regal pomp,
On Jimmy’s back, the kittens ride!