Kim waltzed into the room at eleven o’clock last Saturday. He paused to look at me for a split second before proceeding to the kitchen perhaps to pour a cup of milk for his rumbling stomach. Kim still affords milk even with the scorching economy. He is a senior bachelor but I bet he has got several girls in the neighborhood very pregnant. He came back to the living room, with a puzzled look of who added water to my milk. He hopped up to the arm rest of the seat I’m on and without me noticing it crawled to my lap to give company to my notebook. It now a lap cat and a lap top on my lap. He watched a bit of Game of Thrones but lost interest where Daeneryls Targaryen comes in play riding dragons that spit fire, he would prefer ice and wildlings in the North to a sexy blonde with an ego. He fell asleep on my lap and the purr came like the distant buzz of a helicopter. Unconsciously I patted and played with his fur; he relaxed and stretched his long frame on my lap. He even sighed with pleasure but the party was cut short when I realized he is a male cat. That was more than our allowed 30 seconds of gayness.
I pushed him off my lap amidst protest and crawls that left my thighs scarred. I opened the door and threw him out.
“Shindwe, enda ukatafute panya huko nje kama paka wenzako!” I screamed and threatened to kill him.
Kim looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and arched his back to look like a hillock; I almost fell for that but he should man up. I slammed the door in his face, pretending to be brave and deaf to his pleas. I leaned on the door and slid to the floor convincing myself that I had done the right thing, ”All is well.”
The current generation have idolized pets especially cats and dogs. Walk-and folk there will think you are a creep- in estates like Kileleshwa and Lavington and you’ll meet hundreds of light-skinned girls in sweat pants and hoodies walking with chained furry white house rugs or even their boyfriends trying to fall in love with the rascal too. Visit homes where they have a pet cat by the name Sue or Alex and you’ll think that’s their last born. The cat has everything a kid brought up in the rural areas dreams of. They are trained to poo in a soil box near the garage and are dewormed to avoid cross-infection with the family. The pets are spoilt and bossy and the hosts expect us to glam over how healthy and smart the cat is. Some of us have hate-fear relationships with cats and when you sleep over at such places, the cat will crawl and tuck in beside you and as a good person you’ve disguised yourself, you tie the cat to the bed leg furthest from you with your shoe lace and snore the night away. In the morning you untie the cat and both of your scamper to the living room, for safety having learnt each another’s limits and safe words.
“Hope Alex didn’t disturb you,” the host’s wife inquires as he hoists the cat and gives him an early morning kiss. Urgh. The husband didn’t even receive such a passionate, from-heart kiss like the cat here did.He should be jealous and go on a food strike for a week, even when she cooks brown soft pumpkin chapatis.
“Not a bit. In fact I never realized she/he was there,” you love satire.
“It’s a she. In fact she’s three weeks to. I will keep a kitten for you.”
You feel guilty for letting a pregnant cat sleep on the cold, hard floor overnight but still wonder how to react to her piece of information and generosity. Should you run to the cat,pat the belly and place your ear on it and say congratulations?
“I am more of a dog guy,” you lie since you hate the hassle of keeping pets. Personally,the only pets I’ve ever owned were bunnies for rabbit meat. I didn’t even call the bunnies, they were just thungura and owning them meant a lot. I could sell them at my own free will, hire a male from a friend when I needed the progeny and slaughter them for the family and feel like a man. They were my boyhood symbols of commitment, their well-being was my priority and if they were doing well it was a reflection of me.
“Are these your rabbits?” A smitten girl had asked me when we were eight and pointed to a white, red eyed one browsing on some herbs by the eave of the granary.
“Yeah and there more grazing in the backyard,” I said like how Okuyu men today speak of 50 by 100 plots of land they own along Kangundo Road.
“They are beautiful and healthy.” She was already in love.
She came over on Sunday when mother was away in church and together we slaughtered a big rabbit and fried it. I got my first girlfriend, Sheerow. I really wonder what happened to us when she blue ticks me for a week these days even when I send her rabbits-the emoji.
If it doesn’t have returns it’s not worth keeping. (Not the girls but the pets. Come on, I’m not like that.)
Back to the home where you had crushed overnight, the wife continues as she fixes you and Alex scrambled eggs.
“Hubby had a dog, a German shepherd but we moved to this estate and could no longer have him around. Hard time the two boys had parting.” She fed me with more reasons why I should not keep a pet. Who develops an attachment with an animal, and parting feels like divorce. This is Africa, not a scene from Keeping up with the Kardashians.
I wonder how male pets feel. I would hate being closed in a house with only soft couches, a TV always in background sound, a bowl of processed cat or dog food at the corner and a soil in a box for my toilet. I would love to walk around the bushes peeing on hundreds of them with one hind leg raised high, poo in the fields and skid on dew. I would walk to a boulder on a hill early in the morning and late in the evening to enjoy the sunrise and sunset and the panorama from up there, seeing nature at its best and meditate like men do. I would think of the fury puppies and beautiful kittens I had made that year and how my journey of self-discovery would run. I would have time off my master and his incessantly bossy children-especially the one who still drinks porridge and leaves a messy patch between the eye brows- and for two moments a day I would be free and see myself as a lion or a big bad wolf. Later as I walk from the hill with dew on my fur, looking urbane and too sexy to be real, beautiful cats or bitches would be head over heels in love with me. I wouldn’t talk much lest I admit to living with a family who feed me on dog or cat food and comb my hair, I want them to believe I come with the wind-that I’m a free spirit whose only care in life is to look sexy as hell and make beautiful puppies or kittens.
Pets are good; they bring life and a feeling of peace to our rather blunt houses. They give guests something to muse about while you prepare a bite for them to grab. Importantly they speak what we would not have words for like order and discipline. During supper, some pets will run to their bowls and wait for their share there while some will wrestle with the guest for bone meat. They are like children and just like children they require to be taught, with a cane and strict words but always with love. They are also bound to make mistakes which warrant them to be grounded but remember they are animals and on their free will would like to be on an adventure rather than offering your lonesome soul some company. Jimi- the dog from Meja Mwangi’s story book The Little White Man was more of a partner than a pet. He was an empowered dog, who would listen and take care of his master.
Remember to cool the milk for your pet this weekend, will you? (No pun intended)