A cat once came into my house with her three kittens, maybe they were around two months old. I did not think much of it. I gave her some milk and later in the evening some milk with rice. She decided to make it her home. She started living in the garage with her children. The kittens were a handful, very playful, and were a feast to the eyes. One was grey and the other two were brown and white. They continued to live with us till the kittens were about a year old. Two kittens passed away, one after the other. Then the third one left in due course.

After this, my house became like a temporary home for stray cats. They would come and stay in the verandah for a few days, weeks, or months and then leave. There were a few kittens as well who walked in and stayed with me for a few days. I would take them to the vet but after a couple of days, they died. I used to feel very sad whenever this happened, I used to think why is this happening to me. Where did I go wrong, or why are they all dying on me???

I still remember that evening when I saw a black and brown cat next to a vegetable shop, with her two grey kittens who might be around 3 months old. I bought the vegetables and as I walked back home I noticed the cat and her kittens following me. I knew they were my next visitors.

The mother stayed at my place for about a month and left without her kittens. The kittens were happy to stay with me. They continued to stay on and have fun with the toys that I had bought for them.  In due course of time, one grey cat left while the other one continued to stay with me. I named her Yin.

Yin grew up to be a beautiful grey cat and on 12th August this year she gave birth to three kittens—one was totally grey like her, the second one was grey and brown and the third one was grey and black. They were like baby rats, so small so fragile when they were born. I gave them a cupboard to stay in and some clothes so that they can rest on a soft surface. The first few days went very well.

Yin then started doing something strange. She would carry the babies in her mouth and try to come into the house. She wanted to stay with us inside our house which was strictly not allowed as my parents do not like animals inside the house. Every day Yin would bring her babies at least thrice during the day and I would put them back into the cupboard.

I soon noticed that she brought the fully grey one the most and I assume that as she was a first time mother, she did not know how to carry them in her mouth. She had hurt the neck of the baby and it was too late. By the time I took her to the vet, she had passed away after a short struggle. I was really heartbroken.

After this, I thought Yin would be more careful but she was the same. She continued bringing the babies each day, sometimes dragging them, sometimes dropping them from a height… it was heart wrenching. I still don’t know why she did that. I decided to take care of the babies myself as by then the babies seem to lose weight as well. I bought goat’s milk powder and started feeding the babies. Yin was happy after giving the kittens away to me. First I adopted the grey and brown, did whatever was possible to keep it alive. I put them all in the garage so that she could stay closer to us. The kittens were slightly older and were growing well when suddenly Puttu (the grey and brown one) stopped drinking milk one fine day. She continued to starve herself for two days and then she was gone. Just like that… it hit me at that time that life is so fragile. I also realized that I finally understood what is true detachment.

Till that moment I used to get too attached to the kittens and see it as my personal failure when the kittens passed away. But these three kittens were born to teach me to be free, to be detached. I was finally free. Poochi (grey and black) was my last warrior. He continued to play and pretend to be strong after his sisters were no longer there to play with him. I tried to do everything I could to keep him happy. He lasted for a couple of days. He too passed away soon after. This time I did not feel miserable or blame myself for his death. I simply accepted and that was my aha moment…

Thank you so much to all my Gurus who showed me firsthand how freeing it is to be detached. Mind you I still love cats and kittens but I feel I can do my best and step back in the knowledge that I gave it my best!

Yin continues to stay in the verandah and I feel she is pregnant again…Life goes on!

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Anushree Nagaraj

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