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THE MOTHER CAT by Priyanka Neogi

The Mother Cat

Priyanka Neogi

Tirti entered her room after a long day at the office and heard a cat giving birth. Without saying a word, she quietly went to another room. There was no problem with this in their house, so no one got angry. Meanwhile, Tirti's father opened all the doors so the cat could take her kittens. The cat gave birth to three kittens. Tirti's family woke up to find that the cat had taken two babies and left one behind. The newborn kitten, just sixteen hours old, was left alone in the house, crying and searching for its mother.

In this situation, Tirti's mother, Rukmini Devi, suggested that they should feed the cat by buying a bottle. Immediately, Tirti's father went to buy one. Rukmini Devi also suggested that Tirti feed the kitten with water temporarily until her father returned. When he came back, they would mix milk and water to feed the kitten. Ten minutes later, Tirti's father came home with the bottle.

Rukmini Devi carefully mixed milk and water, ensuring the baby cat wouldn't have any problems. She did this with all her heart, treating the kitten as if it were her own child. She handed the milk bowl to Tirti's father, who set it down before using a towel to gently lift and feed the baby cat, just like feeding a human baby. The kitten became silent, feeling the warmth and love in someone's arms. It no longer felt alone.

After the kitten fell asleep, Tirti's father put it in a vegetable bag and hung it on a plank in the room where it was born, keeping it safe and comfortable. When Tirti's father left for work, the cat began crying and entered the big house through the door. Both Tirti's parents realized that the cat had come to take her child. So Tirti's father went behind the cat to give the baby back.

When the cat entered the room where she had given birth, Tirti's father took the baby out of the bag and placed it on the ground. The cat woke up and saw her child. Both were happy to be reunited. Then they left through the front door.

Witnessing this heartwarming scene, Tirti felt moved. She realized that mothers instinctively choose a safe place for their children to be born healthy. Human mothers give birth in hospitals or nursing homes, where they can receive proper care. But animals like cats, dogs, and goats have to figure it out themselves. They have to find safe places to give birth and take care of their young ones. Tirti pondered on how these animal mothers face such challenges all alone, with no one to understand their struggles.

Motherhood is a remarkable thing. Even though "female animals" cannot speak or understand like humans, their maternal instincts are just as strong. The experience of pregnancy and motherhood is universal for all women, regardless of whether they are human or animal.

Motivated by this realization, Tirti decided to launch a campaign in her community the following Sunday. The campaign aimed to raise awareness about treating pregnant animals with respect, not chasing them away or exhibiting rough behavior. Pregnant animals should not be abandoned either. After returning from work, Tirti learned that the mother cat had returned around 3:00 PM to check if she had any more kittens. Rukmini Devi gave her some rice in a bowl. The mother cat, realizing there were no more kittens, left without eating. She did not come for food; she came to search for her missing child. She stayed away from the food as a sign of her grief.

Meanwhile, Tirti decided to invite four friends and go out on Sunday. They preached throughout the area, spreading the message of supporting pregnant animals and showing kindness to all animals during the birthing process.

Priyanka Neogi is a poet and writer from India.

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