The Boxing Day Tsunami Cat -Effie
Its five years since the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004, which caused undescribable destruction in South Asia and as far as Africa. My beachside naighbourhood South of Colombo was severly affected and many people lost their lives and homes. Even today li8fe is not back to normal as the otherwise congested beach by the rail track lies empty, the people relocted to safer areas or living in transitional shelter camps.
It is strange that something so destructive can also bring with it something that can give much happiness. The Boxing day tsunami cat -Effie is one such miracle and I am going to tell you the story of Effie -my tsunami cat.
How Effie Came to Be
The Boxing day tsunami wrecked havoc, on my beachside neighbourhood and I was compelled to evacuate for two days and stay with my sister, not because my house was affected but due to warnings of further tsunamis.
Returning after work two days after, I was devastated by the destruction, the otherwise densely populated beach was empty except for the debris of all the broken houses. Power was still out and only military patrols and a few men remained in the area. I had no food, as everything in the refrigerator had gone bad. Power connections were restored later in the night and I poured a cup of tea for the troops guarding the road in front of my place.
Walking down the stairs I heard a feeble meow, but couldn't locate the source of the noise. As time passed the meowing beacme more frantic and insistent, and as I watcehd from a window, from a concrete hume pipe embedded under the driveway to my house emerged a scraggy looking kitten not more than two months old.
Now I knew all the cats in the neighbour hood,as they often came into my garden as there were no dogs, and this cat was certainly not one of them. it was obviuosly starving and although I was not planning to get a cat as the loss of my belowed Tibbles after a long illness had left me reluctant to get another. But the pitiful cry of the kitten worried me and I gave the only thing left, which I thought a cat would eat - a pot of buffalo milk yoghurt, probably past its expiry date. The kitten,came out of its hiding place and wolfed down most of the pot and went back to its hiding place. There was no way this cat could have got here unless it had got washed inland by the tsunami waves, or escaped before the waves by instinct as many animals did. A nasty gash in its inner thigh which I found later, bore evidence that it may have rode the crest of the wave and cut itself.
I fed it the next evening with milk and bread from new stocks I got for myself, and the kitten walked gingerly behind me into the garden. It was not much to look at, just askinny little gray and white kitten. I continued to feed it morning and evening and the kitten started following me along and before long, it was in the house. Before long the Boxing Day Tsunami cat - Effie took over my home and my heart. I started calling it Effie the reffie ( for refugee) but before long I found that I was fighting Effie the toughie, as she would never walk away from agood fight with me.
Ding Dong Bell -Effie's in The Well
One day after work I noticed a very white Effie ( otherwise she is more brown than white by rolling in the dust) with a red nose. I just wondered how the cat was so clean as there had been no rain. The next morning my landlord's nanny approached me very cautiuosly and inquired about the cat, and only then did I know that Effie had had avery watery adventure in their well, and had to be rescued.
Effie had as usual gone exploring the wall around the well and had fallen in and had be rescuedby the nanny and the kids with a big bucket. Of course the well had to be de- watered and my landlord installed a well cover to prevent future adventures.
Effie at the Checkpoint
When the Boxing Day tsunami cat Effie was around one year old, it fell very sick with an upset tummy. Many visits to the local vet did not help, until one fine day her hind legs became lifeless. I decided that I had had enough of the local vet and decided to take her to one of the larger animal hospitals in the city - a twenty kilometre drive in a three wheeler. It was late - around ten in the night, when we left for the hospital, and as we entered the city we were stopped by a miltary checkpoint. The conflict was raging and I did look a prime suspect for a suicide bomber ready to blow a VIP into smitherings, with my basket carrying Effie enclosed in a black bag and travelling at night. Mercifully the troops were polite and wanted to know where I was going and waht I had in the bag, and when I explained, they insisted that they inspect the bag. As i got ready to open the bag Effie let out a well timed screech and the troops decided bit was time to let me go! They just said "Okay madam, you can go now!" laughing loudly.
Effie and Her Children
The Boxing day tsunami cat -Effie has been mom, to many kittens, both her own and others dumped in my garden. Two of them live with her right now - Bully her son, the most loving, adorable and talkative tom cat I've ever seen, and Ungie - her not so nice daughter. Brownie- her foster daughter and Bully's lovey dovey girlfriend also remains with her. Effie was kind enough to raise Brownie as her own kitten with bully and its twins, and today Brownie is Effie's best play mate. They chase each other around the garden and scamper up the coconut trees, and keep me amused for hours.
Is your Cat Pregnant?
The Boxing day tsunami cat Effie, has been chubby since her kittenhood, and this was the only reason she went on to have three litters. One could never make out whether she is pregnant or not. Even today she sports a big rice belly and everyone including the vet wants to know whether Effie is pregnant.
Effie the Queen of my Cat Kingdom
Effie is undisputedly the queen of my cat kingdom of seven cats ( four until last week). She carries herself regally, and rules with an iron fist. No cat tries to mess around with her, as a sharp spat from her can be expected by everyone.
She never joins in fights for food and is always served seperately and will never eat unless a pat on a her head and a scratch behind her ears are given.
She can be very loving and has her own special way of getting a massage when I am in bed. She jumps on to the bed with one running leap, and with another running leap she is over me and to the right side of me. Yes it always has to be the right side. She will snuggle close to me and lay her head against my chest and I would then give her a good massage, a head rub and scratch her chin. If I stop for any reason a commanding meow, would ensure that I countinue, until she wants no more massages. A loud purr and a look of sheer contentment- eyes closed and smiley face is what I get as my reward.
I am still amazed at how this little Boxing day tsunami cat brought me joy, and think how lucy we are to have found each other!