(In the photograph: Dave, the marmalade cat, and Meelka, along with Deanne: tri-coloured, Dominique, and Scyther.)
I must begin by saying I regret not having more pictures of Dave. I never felt the need to. Also, ‘selfies’ wasn’t a phenomenon yet, and neither was taking lots of photographs with your phone. To take a picture, I used to use a digital camera. And one or two pictures to get my shot, and I was set. Sorry, Dave.
Dave was named after a computer game I loved to play: Dangerous Dave. Also, the name was appropriate to his personality. Born in May, he was one of four siblings, and always the most dangerous one, and also the only boy. He wasn’t the one for games, not a ‘sunshine and rainbows’ type of kitty; he was a proper fighter, a born leader. He was quite serious for a little kitty. Barely a few months old, he’d defend his sisters from larger, more experienced cat warriors.
Dave was my best friend, him and D’Artagnian. (I don’t mean to play favourites, but we are all guilty of having the special one, and Dave and D’Artagnian were mine) We had a special connection, the three of us. We would have long conversations, silent walks, cosy naps, and when Dave saw all of us, family members, he’d make straight for me! We were inseparable.
Dave was always a mama’s boy. He would always be with her (Meelka). This one incident left me utterly baffled. It was his first one.
It was 3.00. a.m. and we were all asleep. The cats were in the terrace. Little Dave and his sisters, a few months old, and going about their usual business. And suddenly there was a squealing, cries of kittens, mewing for their mother, and the unmistakable sounds of cats fighting. It was the villain cat – Voldemort. He would terrorize the girls every now and then, quite terrifying he was, and strong too. I jumped out of bed and ran to the terrace, and the following scene greeted me.
Little Dave was standing in front of his mother, Meelka, fending off Voldemort.
Barely able to hiss with his tiny little mouth, he stood his ground and kept hissing as best as he could, inching closer and closer to Voldemort, a cat nearly thrice his size. Voldemort taken aback at the response, was momentarily confused. He continued to spar with the little fellow, not wanting to leave, but not wanting to attack either. All this happened so quickly, and yet, was so drawn out.
I immediately rushed out into the scene, and one look at me, and Voldemort was sprinting away. I took Dave into my arms, his fur standing on end, and he began to purr. Meelka was licking the three kitties, a gesture of reassurance.
That day, I realised. Size didn’t matter. It certainly didn’t to Dave, and why should it be any different for us? We have to stand our ground and fight, no matter what, no matter how big the enemy, no matter how great the obstacle. Dave taught me that.
We had to give Dave away; our neighbourhood wasn’t conducive for cats, and we couldn’t keep them all shut indoors – it wasn’t fair to them (another story). Although, I don’t entirely regret the decision. Dave, and his sister, Deanne, have found a loving home with a priest. They attend church regularly! With wide areas to explore and lots of love, they are well taken care of. We could never have given him that, and he deserves all that and more.
I miss you, Dave. I don’t need a photograph, I can never forget you.