“No! No, Simba is not going anywhere”, I said firmly gazing upon my European, snow-white pussy. The adorable creature purred and looked at me with those innocent grey eyes that pleaded silently to not send him away. The scene changed and I could see Simba stretching out his paw playfully towards my hand, meowing cutely. And yet again, a darkness ensued which was followed by another sequence of events that could see me crying and hoping it was all a dream. Simba was going away. I cried harder. “It is just a dream”, I assured myself. “Just a dream”, I repeated. It got dark again. And with a jolt, I woke up. Well, it was a dream. But it depicted one thing right, Simba had really gone. And the moment that crushing truth dawned over me, I cried myself back to sleep. It had been three days since my beloved cat was given away to the Sharjah municipality. I had not cried once since, or maybe I did, but I did my best in reasoning the need of giving him away and focused all my attention on other ‘important’ things. I tried hard in not giving in to emotions like the rest of my family members, who remarked on his absence in every few hours. I avoided thinking of how my mornings started with him prowling in my way, waiting for me to feed him, of how I was his favorite when it came to communicating via his meows, of how my bed was his favorite, cosy spot to take an afternoon nap on. But dreams are in fact mostly a manifestation of our deepest desires and fears and a portrayal of our best and worst memories that we so successfully conceal when we are awake.
I still remember the first day I had met him. Those days I could not stand the thought of living under the same room with a cat, or any pet for that matter. I was so afraid of cats that I used to jump a mile away on contact with his fur. My face used to burn, my ears used to twitch and my heart used to race when he came near me. But within a week, he won my heart. His mischievous eyes that also reflected the innocence of a 2-month old kitten and his playful attitude warmed my heart towards him and made me find a new companion in him. I named him Simba because of the grandeur with which he walked, always reminding me of the cute lion cub, ‘Simba’ of ‘The Lion King’. I never knew before that the presence of a tiny animal could affect my life to such an extent. Simba had become the baby of our house. He got the most attention from everyone. His charm worked on people in such a delightful way that our relatives used to ask about his well-being every time they called from India. I am not sure whether those who have never owned a pet would be able to relate to my emotions but I can guarantee that anyone who has ever loved and cared for an animal in this manner would be able to understand exactly what I am talking about. A strange bond forms between a pet and his family, which can just not be explained. It can only be felt. To compare it to the bond between a mother and a child, or two friends would still be inappropriate because this is just something different, yet intense. A new lesson life has taught me is that love, companionship and attachment are not dependent on how similar two individuals are. It does not depend on race, culture, religion and in this case, species of origin. It is a magical connection that just happens and its longevity depends on how much we value it and how much effort we take to maintain it.
When we took him in our house, none of us ever thought we would have to part with him so soon. But certain unavoidable health problems are associated with cat fur that forced us to make this decision. The pain of his separation still lives in all our hearts, yet nobody talks about him anymore. All of us are trying to move on and giving each other hope that he is fine and that soon we would be fine too. It is almost as hard as losing a human companion. Every place I see in the house still reminds me of those two years spent with him. I can sometimes almost see him right there, lying on the couch, or climbing on the fridge or looking at the world outside from the balcony. And to think that now he is out there, facing it all alone without us makes my heart ache. I do not think I would ever be able to forget him. He was my first pet. And also my last.