Saturday, April 11, 2015
They say that in order to leave your mark in this world, you have to plant a tree, bear a son and write a book. Well I have been neutered, I dig out more than dig in, so all I can do dear readers to attain some form of immortality is to share my story with you all. I do have to warn you that my version of all that occurred is only for those that have a vivid imagination. If you are going to pick up this book and utter an exclamation of ”Cats can´t do that”, then you really don´t know a lot about cats and if you allow me to make a suggestion... it´s best you put the book down and read the newspaper or something similar.
Let me introduce myself, so you can start forming an idea about the main character in the events that are about to unfold before your eyes as you turn the pages of this book. My name is Balou and I come from the fine and noble breed of the British Shorthair. Now, there are cats everywhere you look, different breeds, sizes, colours, temperament… But we all have one thing in common; we all firmly believe that man was put on this earth for the sole purpose of catering to our needs. When you hear it said that cats tend to look at you with disdain, it is because we feel we are doing you a favour by setting our eyes on you. I am as black as soot and regarding my general appearance, some might in ignorance, label me as fat, but I´m actually what the enlightened would call big-boned and of a stout constitution. This coupled with my soft silky fur makes people compare me to a teddy bear; the most arresting thing about my appearance are my big eyes, bright yellow or orange depending on the occasion, they go very well with the colour of my fur. As humility is not one of my many virtues, I can say without turning a hair or blinking an eye that you shall never find a better looking specimen than me; you can try, but everyone can´t be in the wrong except you and besides, it´s something I´m being told constantly.
The earliest memory that comes to my mind is one in which I´m playing with my brothers under the ever vigilant stare of our mother; she was always ready to intervene in case we got carried away and played too roughly. She wasn´t one to fear taking a swipe at us with her paw to keep us in check. I still remember the way she would hold us down tightly while she groomed us with her raspy tongue as we desperately struggled for our freedom, one by one each of us endured this inevitable form of torture that she seemed to enjoy indulging in, all too often. If I am a clean cat today, it´s because my mother made sure we understood the importance of a good grooming session, every part of our body was included in this regime, she took her time and made sure of that. To this day, it is a routine no one can distract me from as it is an exercise that requires my full attention. I have to say, I learnt from the best.
I think as far as kittens go we were extremely happy, everything was a toy to play with or prey to hunt, especially the feet of the very tall and strange creatures we lived with. We had so much fun pouncing on them, they were never fast enough getting out-of-the-way and we would sink our tiny teeth into their ankles, they would then hold us by the scruff and shake us while talking to us in a stern voice but we took absolutely no notice and as soon as we were let down, we would rush to attack another pair of legs. When we weren´t sleeping, we would take part in such games or hide behind doors and scare the unsuspecting passerby. We were living the dream life of any kitten, we didn´t have a care in the world.
Then one day, when we were about eight weeks old, everything changed. On this particular morning, the dominant male of the house, Pedro, came into the room where we were usually locked in for the night, he had with him a cardboard box; he put five of us in the box and closed the lid. It was all so sudden, I didn´t even have time to look at my mother one last time, I did however hear her cry as each one of us was taken from her side. The box had little holes in the sides and we all tried desperately to look through them. But we couldn’t see anything as the man had put a cloth over the box so we were in absolute darkness. We felt as if we were being lifted from the ground and then we were placed on what seemed to be a not so steady surface as it felt like everything was moving around us, later in life I would associate this feeling with car trips. We were so scared, we cried until we lost our voices and could meow no more.
Author of I stand corrected, Balou uncensored, Rewind,Bienvenidos a gatos anónimos, Pasarse cuatro Pueblos and Sesenta segundos dan para mucho.
Patricia Asedegbega Nieto was born to a Spanish mother and a Nigerian father in Madrid. As a child, she relocated with her family to Nigeria and later returned to Spain, where she acquired her BSc and master´s degree.
She is currently living near Madrid with her family and her very stubborn cat, Merlin Mojito.