Monday, May 18, 2009

My Precious

This is Gizmo.
    We've had Gizmo and Chuee since they were about 5 months old. This was somewhere around 1998. 

     My brother was in the Police Force at that time and he had a colleague whose female cat, or correctly referred to as queen, gave birth to a litter. His colleague had a bit of trouble finding proper homes for them, so my brother agreed to adopt one. 

     He had seen the kittens in her home and he fell in love with them immediately. One thing that caught his eye the most was they were of a Persian breed.He roped me in to help him convince my mom to agree as she wasn't very keen of cats. 

    My brother brought two of them home on the understanding that he was to pass one on to a friend who lives nearby. Just another of our neighbourhood friends who is also an avid animal lover. We had to wait a few weeks as they were not of age yet to be removed from their mother.  
       On the day they arrived my family was in awe of them both. They were just so gorgeous! They were two small extremely fluffy fur balls that were just beginning to get their proper footing. They moved around so funny, like two very clumsy miniature dinosaurs. Truly adorable beyond believe!  

       They had such a strong impact on us that my parents refused to give either one away. So much for our neighbourhood friend. She was OK about it at first when my brother told her but one day when she came over and saw them for the first time, she was heart broken.  
        It was difficult to differentiate their gender at that age, but one was somewhat more playful and daring than the other. So we assumed that that might be the male or Tom. It had a beautiful grey white coat and it had this rather unique black stripe running down its forehead.  

        We remembered this movie called Gremlins where this furry little things create mischief throughout the show. One of them was called Gizmo. It had the same markings on its forehead too. Since the character and the appearance fit, we decided to call it that!  

        The other one was actually a little tinier then Gizmo at that time. It was all white with a tinge of grey near its tail. And it was rather timid. It used to even get bullied by its sibling, especially during feeding time. 

       My mom gave it the name Chuee which in Punjabi actually means 'female mouse'. How horrible we were, huh? Boy were we in for a surprise! As time went on and as they grew larger, we soon found out that Gizmo was actually a queen and Chuee was a tom. Chuee even started to outgrow his sister. He became a lot more territorial and practically dominated the home and even the neighbourhood. He would chase any stray cat that so much as come up the corridor. 

        At night when we all go to bed in our rooms, he would station himself at the main door even though it was shut. He would roam around the hall and the kitchen like a King. Well, in a way, he was one. Gizmo would sleep in my parents room and get comfy on their bed. Weeks turned to months and months to years. My whole family grew very attached to Gizmo and Chuee. They became family. Our relatives and friends would come over and totally fall in love  them.

        They have also been very well trained, by yours truly. Every time they need to relieve themselves , they would do so only in the toilet. And if you happen to be using it, they'd let you know they need it too by scratching on the door and meowing loudly till you get out.  

        Chuee was the notorious one. Being a Tom , he'd go around the house and 'mark' his territory. We'd scold him for it and he'd just run and make us play a game of catching with him. He'd sharpen his claws on the furniture but I soon taught him to use some old bicycle tyres. 

       On September 19th 2006, Chuee fell ill all of a sudden. He had severe breathing difficulties that morning and my mom and I brought him to the family vet. The vet told us that he had fluids in his lungs and that the chances of him making through were slim. Needless to say we were devastated. I called my brother and he soon arrived with his lady riend. Ling was already there with me. 

     Chuee was breathing very erratically and the vet had to place him on an oxygen mask. That night we went home as there was nothing more we could do and the doctor told us that he and his nurses will be monitoring him and that they would call us should anything change. The following morning, we went back to the clinic and things seemed pretty much the same. As the day went on, we got news from the doctor that things seemed a little improved but Chuee still had to be on the oxygen. We felt somewhat relieved but still felt that it was not right for him to still be on the mask. 

       I remember my mom, my brother and myself that evening at the clinic as we were leaving. We kissed and hugged Chuee as we left for home. For the first time in two days we saw Chuee sit up and turn to look at us. He sat there in that huge cage with that plastic mask over his head. He gave a very short purring meow. His head was turned towards us and we could see his eyes. They looked so tired. I'll never forget that look. 

       Chuee passed on early the next morning. We rushed down to the clinic with tears in our eyes. We saw his lifeless body on that basket and we all broke down. I understood then that that last look and meow he gave us was his way for saying goodbye. It was so difficult to let him go.  

       Chuee was cremated and his ashes given to the sea. There is never a day that passes by when I don't think of him. All of us for that matter. It affected my brother the most as they were very close. We have posters and photographs of him at home.  

      Gizmo took a while to understand that her brother was never coming back home. For the first few days after his passing, we would see her sometimes roaming around the house to all their usual hiding places. She would meow as if calling out to him. She'd then sit down and look at us with a sense of confusion in her eyes. It was so heart wrenching to see.  

      Gizmo has since taken over as the master of the house. She no longer sleeps in the room but in the hall where Chuee used to sleep. She now chases stray cats away instead.
Gizmo on her super long leash just so that she doesn't venture off too far.
Sometimes, only sometimes, late at night, I still see her suddenly waking up from her sleep, and roaming around the house. I know she still remembers her brother.
I too, still think of you, Chuee. Everyday.

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