My daughter rushed into the room, “Amma! There’s a kitten outside and it has been abandoned by its mother. It was hungry and we fed it some milk and Acha named it Lucky,” she said. It was 8 in the morning and I was still in bed contemplating another miserable day spent languishing on the couch. But my curiosity got the better of me and I got up and went downstairs. My daughter beamed proudly as she pointed to the kitten crouched behind some cardboard boxes. I hadn’t seen her this happy in a long time. I peered behind the box and two little grey eyes with a black and white face looked back at me and mewed pleadingly. Something melted deep inside of me and all my defenses came crumbling down. All my sadness stood meaningless in front of this poor helpless creature.
“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you. We’ll feed you. We love you,” I found myself saying these words. I was offering the very comfort I was seeking and in that moment my life changed. If I could have named the kitten I would have gone with Joy because in a trice she had pulled me out of my sorrow.
Lucky was very wary of us on the first day, darting quickly behind the boxes whenever we made any quick movements or loud noises. The kids were relentless in attending to her needs. They made sure that she felt safe and she was fed regularly. Now feeding Lucky was a challenge because both my husband and I had only had dogs for pets. Her diet on the first day was milk, curd rice and biscuits. When I went to sleep I prayed that Lucky would be around the next morning. The kitten had opened up a part of my heart that only pets can – by being vulnerable and by loving us unconditionally despite our flaws.
The next day Lucky seemed to be more at ease with the kids and allowed them to come close and touch her. She didn’t eat as much as she did on the first day. We replaced her coconut shell bowls with a plastic tray, now that Lucky was a part of our household. As we were playing with Lucky after dinner, a cat jumped onto the compound wall. My husband beamed the flash light in its direction and it slunk away into the dark. Could it be the mother cat? Will she whisk Lucky away in the dead of the night? Fears of losing her clouded our minds as we retired for the night. I prayed that Lucky would be waiting for us in the morning.
My son gave Lucky an old ball to play with. In two days the frightened, helpless kitten had transformed into a sprightly fly-chasing fur ball! She let us stroke her and rub her belly. She ran to my son when she called her name and enjoyed playing with the kids. She tried to follow us inside but we decided to let Lucky be an outdoor cat. I remember how the neighbor’s cats used to steal fish from my grandma’s kitchen and I didn’t want any of that.
The kids had wanted a dog for a long time but life gave us a cat. In a moment of deep understanding I uttered these sage words, “We didn’t choose Lucky, Lucky chose us.”
For a long time we thought she was a male kitten. But soon we figured out that she was female. She showed up when we most needed her and turned my focus outward. Lucky touched my maternal chord and triggered the flow of selfless love. If she wasn’t already named Lucky I’d probably have named her Miracle.