What a 'cat'ch!

What a 'cat'ch!

REAL-LIFE DRAMA Ikrams cricket reflexes aid the great escape of a cat family

What a 'cat'ch!

Suddenly, Dr Waheed’s thoughts were disturbed by  mewing. He thought his imagination was playing tricks on him.“Did you hear that?” he asked Ikram. They put the TV on mute and sure enough they heard a soft meow!

Opening the front door, they found a pretty little ginger cat sitting on their doormat, staring beseechingly at them. She rubbed herself against Dr Waheed’s legs purring away as if she instinctively knew that he was fond of cats. They brought out Simba’s old bowl and gave her some milk.

The cat frequented their compound every day and they named her Ginger. It was strange how she had picked their home amongst the many houses in the neighbourhood — almost as if Simba had sent her there saying, “They’ll look after you.”

One night, they came home to find Ginger with a litter of five kittens on their verandah. The tiny white and ginger babies, with eyes closed, looked just like their mother.

The next morning, Ginger and her litter were not to be seen. Later, the gardener noticed them tucked behind a flower pot. After a few days, Ginger had moved her babies to the backyard. Soon she brought them back to the verandah.

She kept changing their location every couple of days —  behind the AC compressor, back to the flower bed, till finally, she ended up on the garage roof.

This is not unusual behaviour for a cat who has become a mum for the first time.  She instinctively protects her young ones from predators by changing their location once she  thinks her hideout has been exposed!

It rained heavily one night. Ikram was up late, studying for his exams. He heard loud mewing above the patter of the rain on the roof. Looking out of his bedroom window, he saw Ginger on the garage roof. She picked up one of the kittens in her mouth and took it to a spot where there was an awning over a window affording a little shelter.

The roof was flooding fast, hence she didn’t put the kitten down but kept holding it in her mouth. The other kittens were squealing away pitifully, getting drenched in the downpour. A drain pipe was gushing water onto the garage roof and they were in grave danger of drowning.

Acting fast, Ikram dashed out of his room. Opening the garage, he took out a ladder and started clambering up  the roof in order to rescue the kittens. Just then, his uncle came out with a cardboard box.  Handing it to Ikram, he said, “Here, use this.”

Soaked to the skin in the relentless rain, Ikram climbed the slippery ladder and rescued the four mewing kittens, putting them into the carton. As he approached the mother cat, she dashed away from him, thinking he wanted to steal the last of her babies from her.
Giving up on her, Ikram started descending the slippery ladder carefully, using one hand to hold onto the rungs and balancing the box in the other.

Suddenly, Dr Waheed cried out and Ikram saw the kitten that Ginger had been holding in her mouth falling through the air. Ikram’s cricket reflexes kicked in! Leaning out from the ladder, he extended the box and caught the falling fur ball, safely in it.

“What a catch!” exclaimed Dr Waheed, clapping his hands in delight. Ginger stood on the edge of the roof, looking down anxiously.  She seemed relieved that her baby was safe and unhurt, along with the rest of her litter. Ikram had succeeded in rescuing all the kittens from certain death.

Following him surreptitiously, Ginger ducked behind flower pots every time he turned to look in her direction. Ikram took the kittens to the verandah, where he dried them off with a towel.  He lined the carton with old newspapers before putting them back in it.

Ginger saw he was only trying to help and meant no harm. She climbed into the box with the kittens and they promptly snuggled up to her.

The happy cat family curled up together in the box, safe and dry after their miraculous escape.

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