I heard her cry but I couldn’t do anything but to run around her like a helpless child. Indeed, I am one. I am barely a month-old creature; still needing her milk to survive but now she, my mother, was lying on her side, crying for some pain unknown to me.
Then she came, Theresa, who towered over us, face contorted in worry. We were just feeding when my mother—which Theresa called Kit Kat—suddenly collapsed on her side, wailing in agony.
I don’t know what to do. My brother and I circled Kit Kat around and around, crying, wondering what happened.
I know Kit Kat was dying. She was about to leave us. How could she leave us when we could barely support ourselves?
Theresa knelt on her one knee and asked, “What happened to you?” wiping my mother’s forehead.
My mother just moaned in agony, wanting for help but could not say it. My other brother, Tak Gu, was moaning like us, wanting Theresa to help our mother.
I don’t know what to do without her. I was used to crawl onto her belly and searched for her delicious milk. Tiko, my twin brother, used to drink with me. They called me Tiki, so my name is Tiki. I am white while my twin is black. I don’t know where they get my name but I can’t really do anything about it. I just let it be.
Theresa picked my mother up and brought her away from us. We, Tiko and I, followed Theresa. She brought my mother outside their house, laid her near the garbage and observed her faltering breathing.
I have no idea what happened. We were just happily eating in the kitchen. My mother was even faster to run for food than the rest of us. We don’t mind leftovers as long as they are tasty. But I think everything is tasty for us.
My mother already wetted herself. She soaked in her own discharge. I and Tiko cried. Tak Gu, Prince and Plince too. Our mother was suffering and I couldn’t bear it.
Jeri, Theresa’s daughter, was crying loudly. I don’t doubt they love my mother. We love them too although sometimes they scolded us for messing their house.
Theresa and Jeri picked us up and brought us inside. Shiny tears flooded Jeri’s eyes. She was just eleven and my mother’s death struck her hard. I know Kit Kat had been with them for more than five years.
We were all sad. We lay on their sofa, not moving. Tiko was still crying. My other three brothers were silent, with tears in their eyes. I cried too, not knowing how to ease this sudden pain I felt. The feeling was alien to me. I never felt this before. All I used to do was to wake up, eat, play, sleep, eat, sleep, play and sleep and that cycle goes on every day of my life. Mother was always there for me and my twin. Milk used to be always available for us.
Alfredo, Theresa’s husband, was there, observing us. He had been sick for few days already. Rhain gave him his medications. Rhain was not yet here. I don’t know how she would react if she would find out my mother was already gone.
“I think, Kit Kat saved my soul,” Alfredo said to Theresa. “She died in my place.”
That was the last thing I remembered.
I awoke with the sudden noise of the gate. I think it was Rhain who was banging on the door. Jeri opened the gate and let her enter.
Sometimes Rhain had been cruel to my mother. When she was eating, she would shoo Mother away from her food. Mother only wanted some morsels. She would scream at her, at all of us. But I know she was not really cruel. She used to cradle us on her lap, stroking our heads. But I noticed she had some favorite. It was Prince and Tak Gu. They looked good, I must say. Tak Gu was pure white while Prince was striped brown, like the popular Garfield. Plince looked like Prince, only a little aloof to them so I guess that was why Rhain do not cradle Plince.
“What happened to you, Je?” Rhain asked her sister. “You look so sad.”
Jeri indeed looked sad. “Kit Kat is dead.”
Rhain’s eyes widened. “What? Why? How?” she asked.
“They were just eating there when Mama found out.”
“Oh my God…” she murmured. She looked sad. I know it was true. They all looked sad.
Rhain sat beside Tak Gu on the sofa. She stroked his hair, face in worry. “What happened to your mother, Meng?” she said. She always called us Meng. I wondered what that means.
“What happened to Kit Kat, Pa?” she asked her father.
“She was just eating with the other cats. Your mother just found Kit Kat lying on her side, moaning.”
“Perhaps she was poisoned. Where did Mama get the food? Perhaps it was already spoiled.”
“They all eat it but it was only her who collapsed.”
Rhain turned to me. “Tiki, what happened to your mommy?” she asked in a childish voice.
I don’t know if she indeed asked her that but that was what she said. I didn’t reply for I couldn’t talk. We all couldn’t talk. God didn’t give us the talent to talk. I just moaned, letting her stroke my head, comforting me.
“Why do you think it happened, Pa?” she asked, still stroking my head.
“Perhaps she died instead of me.”
“Pa—oh my God…”
I don’t think they were mourning but it astonished me when I saw a pair of heavy tears flowed from Rhain’s eyes.
Now, I knew I was not really dreaming. My mother was really dead.
*A tribute to a beloved pet told from a perspective of a cat.