Whiskers, our other stray kitty, is looking for Boxer. She pokes her nose into the cat basket to get Boxer’s scent. She walks to the concrete block, Boxer’s favourite seat for watching the world go by, and she sits on it. She waits for Boxer.
Out in the back porch she sits facing the backyard where noisy, black birds land on a papaya leaf stalk or fly towards the custard apple tree. Poor Whiskers doesn’t understand why her friend has disappeared.
We had taken Boxer to the vet last Thursday. He had not eaten anything since the previous day and there was blood trickling out of his mouth. “We thought he had eaten a bird,” we told the vet. The vet opened Boxer’s mouth, cleaned his bleeding gums with a square of cotton wool and showed us the broken teeth and the loose ones standing crookedly in the red gums. Poor Boxer. It must have been very painful. No wonder he had only sniffed at the last meal we gave him.
“Give him soft food,” the vet said. “And bring him back tomorrow.”
We looked for him everywhere the next morning but he was gone. Late afternoon, however, Sonny heard the soft mewing. We all rushed to one end of the long drain running underneath the porch floor. We called the cat but although he responded by mewing he must have been too weak to crawl out.
"Miau, miau," we called.
"Miau," Boxer answered. We grew more desperate when it started pouring. The drain would fill up. Boxer would drown.
|Photo credit: ASC|
After several attempts and using various objects attached to poles and broom sticks and fishing rods, Boxer was finally pulled out of the cold, wet drain. He was barely alive. A quick hot shower, a blow-dry, and wrapped in a clean, dry towel he was at the vet’s in less than ten minutes after the rescue.
Boxer died on the vet’s table. He couldn’t be saved. We buried him under the hibiscus bush, next to the concrete block he used to sit on.
We haven’t stopped wondering who had inflicted the injury on the five-month-old kitty, an injury so severe that it had broken some of his teeth and loosened others in their sockets.
Does a person lose anything by being kind to animals? Why attack a timid cat that is hardly bigger than your foot? Is it the cat’s fault if he strayed into a stranger’s compound?
Boxer was no stray cat but that status didn’t protect him from two-legged animals. Whoever assaulted him perhaps didn’t know—or didn’t care—that he was a loved member of a family.
While we have said the painful goodbye, Whiskers doesn't understand and she continues to wait for the friend who's never coming home.
Note: I learnt that out of 3,000 tri-coloured cats, there is only one male. Boxer was one of these rare cats.