I go to Zephyr, a small cafe/ restaurant by the side of Inya lake, to see the cats. I also eat, drink, read, write and reflect there but mostly it’s the cats I desire. A colony lives there, so there are always kittens and heavily pregnant females wandering around, and even if you can’t see them you can usually hear them. I think they are cared for by the staff and they are tolerated by the clientele. It’s a peaceful place (except for the mosquitoes) and I go there for cat therapy. I miss cats and the solace that they bring and this is the closest I can get to them in a country where dogs rule the streets.
I had just sat down when I saw her, trotting between the legs of a nearby table. I tut-tutted quietly (I no longer kiss-kiss as that sound is also used to call the waiter) and she immediately looked my way, halted and meowed. I agreed with her softly and put my hand down, palm away from her and asked if she’d like to approach. Without hesitation she dotted her nose on the back of my hand and meowed again, a high pitched but friendly sound. Very cautiously I raised my hand and used the backs of my fingers to gently stroke the top of her head. She flicked her head back sociably in enjoyment and spoke again. This time I used the tips of my fingers to trace the soft tabby markings from between her ears to the valley between her shoulders. She moved her head slightly so that I could reach her chin. The ruff of fur beneath her ears, that should have framed her pretty face, was missing, most probably as a result of fleas, but the skin was clear and unbroken and it would have been rude to reject her. She took a step forward and cocked her head to one side as she meowed again. It was the unmistakable demand to sit on my lap. I sat back in surprise, patted my lap and held my arms wide, expecting her to dismiss the action as desperate. But up she leapt, arriving softly on my legs and greeting me. She looked into my face and blinked, and I returned the courtesy, then she leant her light body against my clean white top (oh cat-hair covered clothes I have missed you!) and nodded her head back towards my fingers. Very gently I raised my hand again and stroked her as her claws lightly tightened on my thighs and her tummy resonated with a quiet purr that reverberated into my heart.
And then I felt it: a deep, peaceful feeling of relaxation, an exhalation of stress. An unspoken reassurance that, for that brief moment in time, everything was well with the world.
Then, she was gone and I was alone again, grateful for the brief respite in my constant yearning for a cat.