On day four, I wrote a post about losing something. Today’s Prompt: Write about finding something.Use this one as the second installment — loosely defined from the Serially Lost post.
Maxwell, or fondly known as Ah-Max as a term of endearment in Singlish, was a scrawny, scruffy but friendly little kitten of about 2-3 months old when he made an appearance before us along Maxwell Road. He followed us for a good 300 meters back to our office after accompanying us at lunch time and made such a big fuss when we had to leave.
Neither one of us had the heart to leave him, so we scooped him up, took him to our office, gave him a bath, fed him, let him roam in our spacious balcony and named him after the road where he was found. We made him a nice little home temporarily in the office balcony , along the walkway to the toilet with the intention of putting him up for adoption.
After 2 days, one of my colleagues, who already had a dog, decided that she would adopt him. But as she had to go to a meeting, she requested that I took Maxwell with me first and she’ll come pick him up later in the evening. It was merely for convenience as I lived closest to her.
She came by as promised and took him home. Not an hour later, I got a call from her that she needed to send Ah-Max to me temporarily as her dog and Ah-Max had gone berserk on each other. We found out later that Ah-Max hated dogs, and in his teenage years, we have actually seen him attacked dogs and chase after them!
As reluctant as I was at that time as I already had a cat, I did not have much choice but to house him for a couple more days till she was ready to try again. It never happened and Ah-Max never leave our home. He had found his way to our hearts.
He was the sweetest cat, although my older cat did not like him very much. Intruder! She would say. But Ah-Max was friendly to her and wanted to make friends. She eventually tolerated him and funnily enough, they became good friends.
I remember that when my old cat passed, Ah-Max got extremely disoriented. He spent a few days meowing away, going to areas in the house and sniffing her out, looking for her. He would sleep at the places where only she had “owned” and when we caught Ah-Max doing that, he would look at us, with sad eyes and gave the softest, sad meow…as if telling us that he missed her.Oh! How my heart broke.
He never was quite the house cat, given his street-cat genes I suppose, but he never really stayed out for long and would always come home after a few hours of wandering about. However, we noticed that he stayed away from home more often and for longer periods after our old cat died. Sometimes, he wouldn’t come home for a few days and we would worry.
And, when he did come home, he would bore fresh wounds and lacerations from what looked like bites from a cat fight (or dog, perhaps) that needed urgent medical attention. He always picked the best times though! I don’t know how many times he had come home in such terrible condition when I’m about to travel. At one time, he was fighting for his life and it happened the night before our wedding! His timing was always impeccable.
Ah-Max was a free-spirited cat. He was the “samseng” (gangster) in the cats’ world. He did whatever he liked and he would drive us nuts with his loud, crazy meows when he got cooped up at home for too long. Sometimes he didn’t come home for weeks, and when he finally showed up, he would have scored himself a new swanky collar. Somebody else had put a claim on him it seemed!
And, every time we took the collar off (how dare they! Ah-Max was OUR cat. My cat!), he would get a new one every single time he came back to our home. Months later, my parents discovered from one of our neighbours that Ah-Max was pretty well-known in our neighbourhood.
They said that he was such a friendly cat and would drop by their homes every now and then, staying over for a few days if it suited his fancy. Apparently, he got a few favourite homes within the same apartment building, but we never figured out who they all were. It seemed like Ah-Max did his round of PR pretty well with fellow humans!
With other cats, especially dogs – not so much! There was this one monster cat who used to wait on him and pick a fight every time. Things would get ugly and we would never see Ah-Max for at least a week before he appeared right on our doorstep with more wounds. I caught sight of Ah-Max once, from a distance, in a cat-fight when I was on my way home. It was ugly and he went all out! Albeit a shriveled and grape-sized testicles (he was neutered), this cat had got some balls!
With humans though, Ah-Max was like the model cat, and, we saw a totally different side of him.
I wish I knew what exactly he was up to when he stayed away from home. Yes, I worry. Yes, I was concerned if he was abused. Yes, I wondered what type of homes he had been to and how he may have added years into someone else’s life. He was definitely street-wise..and with a lot of love to give, spreading his unconditional love for humans in the way he only knew how.
We may have “lost” him to someone else temporarily, yet at the same time, I realised that he had taught us more than we bargained for. He stood his ground when things got nasty. He stood up for himself when there was no one to defend him. He (literally!) licked his own wounds and in his own way, taught us the art of letting go.
He may be exhausted and battered from all that fights we didn’t know about, yet, he was tough enough to surrender and allow us to take care of him, in full vulnerability.
In the grander scheme of things, what I found out was that no matter what, he always found his way back into our home and our hearts, for he knew that there’s always this place he could called home.