I am not a cat lover. I like dogs, though I lack the commitment to actually raise one. And while I dont have an overwhelming love for animals, I do think that we need to start learning to share our spaces with them.
This resolve to share was pretty much sorely tested when recently, a cat bought her little kittens to my balcony. The first panicked reaction was, they need to be removed at any cost. We were using the balcony, we had kept some of the things we needed in a cupboard there. It was summer and we needed to use the air cooler which was again in the balcony. So the cat had to go.
But some ethical concerns kicked in. Their being in the balcony only caused some inconveniences, pretty minor ones actually. If we threw them out we may endanger their lives. Should we not put up with some minor issues, just to let another being survive. It is still an anthropocentric philosophy, but surely we could try to accomodate another creature by adjusting a little bet. And then we were told, they seldom stayed in any place for more than a week, we relaxed a bit. The kittens were really tiny.
At first I didnt even want to see them, because I felt I would never permit their removal if I did. But I couldnt stay away for long. All three of us, my husband, my daughter and me, we got fascinated by the kittens.
Everyday, we would stare out of the small window and try to spot them and see what they were upto. Whenever my daughter saw them suckling the mother, she would scream that they are biting her and to make them stop. When she saw them putting a paw on each other, she complained that they were kicking each other and ought to stop. According to her, they were violating all rules we set down for her, and she wanted them to mend their behavior.
Now letting the kittens there had its own share of problems. We had to decide just how much would we get involved with them. At first we worried about them falling off the balcony, but largely the kittens were smart enough to avoid it. One of them fell off, but like the saying goes, landed on its feet and was fine enough to run away after that.
Someone told us we needed to provide water. But thankfully I read somewhere that as long as the babies were breast fed, they needed nothing, not even water. And anyway our whole idea was that we wanted to kittens to go away. We would not push them away but neither should we make the place so hospitable that they never left. I mean, I was sure I didnt want to adopt the cat or the kittens. So anyway, I convinced my husband that cats knew how to care for themselves and their kids and we best stay out of the way.
At times they provoked us a bit more. The mother attacked a bird which was sitting on the balcony, and although we are still not sure, most likely killed it and ate it up. We could not spot the carcass, but we say a lot of feathers and blood about. And though we are not squeamish vegetarians (we enjoy the ocassional egg), the thought of this attack within our house, literally was a bit difficult. My husband felt that the kittens had also had their share of bird meat, and somehow from that day on, whenever we saw the mother, we felt she had a greedy look in her eyes and was eyeing all the birds.
Well, it has been two weeks and the kittens are still there. They show no signs are leaving, and perhaps they are grown too much for the cat to carry them away herself. We have finally had enough and we think we will get them removed now. But for as long as they lasted, it was good to have them.