[Editor’s Note : Every week we will be publishing one chapter from Ansh Das’s book, The Memory Of A Face. Needless to say, we are super excited! Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Chapter 23, Chapter 24, Chapter 25, Chapter 26, Chapter 27, Chapter 28, Chapter 29, Chapter 30 & Chapter 31]
Diano took Jai Jai to his room and placed the basket in one corner. Summer brought out the cage they’d bought in advance. She folded a clean towel and placed it inside the cage, to cushion the base. Then she fixed the water bottle onto the front of the cage. It was a special one meant to be inverted and had a ball at its tip to prevent the water from dripping out. The idea was Jai Jai would push against the ball with his tongue and suck the water out. However, it remained to be seen whether he would drink from it at all. Since he was a few weeks old, he’d probably prefer drinking from a saucer, like Mrs. Matthew had mentioned. So she brought in some water on a saucer and placed it next to the cage.
“What about cat food?” asked Cute.
“Mrs. Matthew said that he likes Royal Canin for Persian Kitten and boiled chicken.”
“Isn’t Royal Canin expensive?” asked Cute.
“We can try other brands. He’s just a baby.”
“Oh no. We forgot to get litter sand.” Diano sighed.
“Are you sure he knows how to use a litter box?” Cute narrowed his eyes.
“Yes. I’d asked about it.” Summer grinned. “It’s okay if he goes on the floor. It’s Diano’s room anyway. Why are you worried?”
They burst out laughing while Diano made a crying face.
“Why me? Oh, why me? This is so unfair.”
“He’s your son ma,” Cute said.
“Actually, I don’t mind. I’m sure I can train him to be a good boy like me,” Diano said.
“Oh, no,” Summer said, making them laugh. “I’ll go and get the litter sand.”
“Can you go with her?” Diano asked Cute. “I don’t think she can carry the bag all by herself. Or I can go with her and you’ll have to take care of Jai Jai.”
Summer and Cute went down the stairs onto Percival Street. They took the footbridge and crossed over to the other side of Hennessy Road. From there, they walked along Lockhart Road towards SOGO and made a left turn on to Cannon Street, which had a few pet stores.
The first store didn’t have Royal Canin products but the second one did. Summer picked up a few different types and read through the ingredients while Cute watched the puppies in the nearest cage. She found the one Mrs. Matthew had recommended. However, she didn’t want to take a big sack. They had to get Jai Jai to eat something cheaper. It was tough. Cheap had to be balanced with safe too. Many pet food products got recalled frequently because they were found to contain harmful ingredients. It was scary. As long as she kept the ash contents down, she’d be okay. More poultry products and less others. The reason was simple — cats were predators on land. A cat eating a bird was thinkable. A cat catching fish was way overboard. She laughed.
Cute turned around to check if she was okay.
She continued thinking. She wondered why pictures showed cats with fish in their mouth or a saucer of milk in front of them. They couldn’t grab a cow and milk it. Moreover, dairy products were bad for cats. So no milk, no chocolate, etc. It was important for Jai Jai to eat good food and live a long life with them. Jai Jai was an Exotic Shorthair, not a long-haired Persian. His patterns showed better because his hair was short. She picked up a medium-sized bag with Persian kitten formula. She also picked up a few cans of Japanese wet cat food.
Next on her mind was litter sand and it confused her. There were several choices to pick from. She wondered why the ones made from recycled paper were so expensive. Surely, that was just paper, right? Sigh. Some brands had clumping sand that formed balls when used. They’d be easy to remove but what if Jai Jai ate some and the sand clumped inside his stomach? They’d never buy that.
Another option was to go for tofu-flavoured sand, which was costly but smelled nice! She recalled one of her friends having trouble with her cat refusing to use the litter box because it smelled bad. They had to switch to tofu sand, which solved the problem. Perhaps Jai Jai was too young to behave that way. It was good they’d got him while he was a small kitten. He’d be more flexible and adjust more easily than would an adult cat. Thank God for small mercies. She picked a cheap Japanese one without the tofu smell and got in line to pay at the counter.
“Hello, stranger!” Someone spoke behind her. She didn’t turn.
“Hello, Miss?” The guy persisted. She turned to the right looking for Cute. He was busy at another cage. She turned around in the other direction when she realized the person was actually talking to her.
“Oh.” It was Oliver! Out of all the words in the universe she chose to repeat it. “Oh.”
“Hi. Remember me?” Oliver winked.
“Hi!” God, what was he doing there?
“Hi. Hello.” Oliver smiled and nodded his head. “I was just walking by and saw you inside. And I said to myself, now, if I don’t say hi to her, it would be bad of me. And so here I am.”
“Ha-ha. I was wondering… never mind.” Wondering what? She couldn’t even think straight. Her heart was beating so loudly she was afraid he’d hear it.
“It’s good to bump into you again. So how are you?” asked Oliver.
“Not bad. Could be much better but not bad.”
“So what’s the name?” Oliver asked.
“Name?” What was he talking about?
“Oh. Yeah. Jai Jai. Just got him, like an hour ago.” She grinned.
“Nice. What breed?”
“Exotic Shorthair. You must come visit us sometime.” She’d just invited him over!
She couldn’t believe her ears. Summer, you smart girl. Ha-ha.