#1 Mess, Oh the mess

It was unlike anything I had seen or experienced. Unbeknownst in the ways of feral animals, my naive self woke up the next morning- a few hours earlier than usual. The prospect of having the next few days filled with meows and pattering paws gave me giddy delight. Little did I know reality was waiting right around the corner with TNT and a fake hole painted on the wall.
Taking upon myself to become an expert on the matter of all things feline, I thoroughly scoured the depths of the internet, reaching out to every resource (both authentic and fake). The heralded cat whisperer. Coffee’s delight in old neem leaves leftover from our Gudi Padwa/Ugadi celebrations only fanned the flames of my hubristic impudence. You’d think I would have learned my lesson after having to clean a million leaves scattered as far as the eye could see, but I didn’t.
All good things must come to an end. Mine was damp, dusty and may as well come from a skunk’s butt. Mocha, being the appreciative mum she is, was cautious but grateful. She thanked our hospitality (which was nonexistent a week ago) by letting her kittens play in and around our home. However, her less enticing offer was that of a dead rat. While we’re vegetarians by birth and choice, I don’t think she understood the concept of vegetarianism. Time, unfortunately, beat that concept into her, for Mocha and her children were greeted day after day with an unextinguishable supply of milk. Before you raise an eyebrow, know that we never forced our feline friends to adapt our lifestyle. They were freely allowed to roam wherever they wished, feast on whatever they like and return whenever they deemed fit. I, for one, was overly optimistic. I was somehow convinced that my unconditional love, shelter and attention was enough to keep them till the end of time. Foolish, I know. Alas, love is blind and particularly stupid in this case. You can only imagine the look on my face when I woke up one day and they were just gone. All that was left of their presence was the dead rat, or whatever was left of it. The rotting carcass had a gruesome stench that wafted through the front yard and drove my father up the wall.
My parents have always been reserved on the matter of pets for two, very valid reasons. One, they require a lot of upkeep, which is something none of our schedules can make time for. Two, the pain of losing their childhood pets-nay their friends, was far too fresh in their minds. Their grave ‘I told you so’ and my aching limbs from having to clean the entire front yard to get rid of the stench was an insult to the aching injury of having ‘lost’ my new friends. (Yes, I called them friends. We’re in a lockdown, and I am losing it.)
Things did take an interesting turn though…