He registered his presence days after we moved into our current house, skulking around the doors and windows and loitering in the backyard or the terrace. Often he would just come to the door and glower at me or my wife through the wire mesh.
It wasn’t long before he was terrorising our cats, giving them looks as though he would make ‘keema’ out of them if they ever stepped out of the house. And then he began urinating on our doors and windows.
“He” was a huge rust-coloured tom cat, and one that loved bullying all the cats in the neighbourhood, as we soon found out. His favourite pastime seemed to be to lounge in the vicinity of our home and try to provoke one of our cats. “Here I am and I don’t give a damn about you,” he seemed to be saying to them.
I would often be disturbed in the mornings and afternoons as our cats indulged in yowling matches with him when he marched right up to our front and back doors.
My wife decided to call the bully “Mota”, considering his size. Not really helpful when one of our cats is Motu, and I would often get confused about which cat she was talking about.
Matters came to a head when General, our largest cat, slipped out of a door left open by our maid and got into a fight with the tom cat. By the time I reached the door, there was fur flying and claws tearing into flesh.
I chased Mota away but General suffered several major cuts and bites. That was it for my wife – Mota had to go and any and all measures were to be taken to get rid of him.
Now that war had been declared, planning began in earnest. My wife convinced our incredulous vet to give her a syringe full of anaesthetic which would be injected into Mota so that he could be relocated to some part of Islamabad far from our home.
Great plan. But how do we get close enough to Mota to jab him? “No problem. We’ll just lure him into the house with food,” said my wife as I rolled my eyes in disbelief.
So several bowls with the best cuts of meat and cat food were placed in a line, leading to a corner of our backyard where our maid’s tomboy niece Saba volunteered to hide and trap Mota with a blanket. Mota came, ate, saw Saba and backed off. The plan wasn’t going to work.
Time to modify the plan, I thought. Mota was now in a corner of our backyard that was close to a corridor within our house which could easily be closed off at both ends. I decided to shift the bowls of food in a line leading to the corridor, the bowls with the choicest morsels placed within the door, in the hope that they would tempt Mota into the home.
Saba and I waited at opposite ends of the corridors in the dark as all lights had been put out. Just as I was reaching the end of my patience, Mota stirred. He began working his way along the bowls. He came to the door and stopped. But the lure of the cat chow was too much and he stepped in.
Within a second the door was flung shut and Mota was trapped in the corridor. As I held him down, my wife jabbed him with the hypodermic with a dexterity that would have impressed even our vet.
A blanket was thrown on Mota and he was bundled into a basket. I summoned a taxi and my wife and I decided to dump Mota at a market several sectors away from our home. By the time we reached the market, it was pretty late at night.
But our problems were far over. As I opened the basket to let out Mota, he took off – running right into the middle of traffic on the road. As I ran behind Mota, two cops decided to take an interest in the matter and my wife was left to explain as best as she could why exactly we were dumping a groggy cat in the market.
The two cops left, satisfied with my wife’s lengthy explanation, as I caught up with Mota. We left him in an area with a lot of restaurants, in the hope that he would be able to scrounge for food.
But our vet does keep warning us that cats have a knack for finding their way back to their favourite haunts, even from hundreds of kilometres away. Ah well, that would probably give me an excuse to write about Mota part II!