Monday Column: Maternal instincts

Oman Sunday 16/October/2022 21:34 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday Column: Maternal instincts

When I had nothing better to do with myself earlier this week, I thought I should go and look for the cat who woke me up several times the night before.

I inspected my garden and there was this brown and white cat stretching under the lime tree. I thought I should give the cat a proper dressing-down for giving me a sleepless night. I bent down and started talking to it.  The cat completely ignored me and started licking its paws. Then rested its head on the tiled ground to indicate how bored it was with me.

My wife came around the corner and asked me to leave it alone, saying,” the poor cat is pregnant. She needs a rest because she did not sleep the whole night.”

I wanted to say that was the whole point because I did not sleep either. But thought I should steer away from the maternal instincts the cat and my wife shared that moment. Instead, I asked casually as I was walking back to the house,” I wonder who the father is?”

“Who cares? You should care of your own role as the father of your own children,” she said and grabbed my hand and pushed me inside.

I grabbed my car keys and left the house with one thought in my head. Would my wife have been in a defensive mood if a male cat was howling the whole night? I decided to leave like that and drove straight to the beach. No one was there at the time except three fishermen untangling their nets. I sat on a bench under a tree and watched them. The temperature of the day was in mid-thirties but the wind was surprisingly cool.

I diverted my gaze to the passive sea and watched the waves rolling lazily to the white sands. My attention was interrupted when a group of seagulls invaded the sky. Right under the flying birds, I could see the reason of their invasion.  The fishermen were removing the fish from their nets and threw them on the carpet laid on the sands.

The bravest of seagulls, swooped down at an incredible speed and picked the fish and flew off to feed at a distance. The fishermen did not like it. For the next five minutes, I was an audience to a free show of men versus birds. With free food right below them, the starving seagulls would not just go away. I was thoroughly entertained while watching three fishermen trying to scare away about two hundred hungry birds.

The whole show took about 15 minutes and it was over when the fishermen covered their catch with a big canvas. I was disappointed to see the poor birds flying away but more disappointed because that was the end of the entertainment. I got up and started walking towards my car. As I was opening the door, two cats crossed the road, walked into the beach and dived straight under the canvas that was hiding the fish.

The fishermen did not notice them. I smiled to myself but a curious question crossed my mind. Was one of them the pregnant cat who kept me awake all night? I fought off the impulse to go and check so I could at least have something interesting to tell my wife about her beloved cat. Instead, I drove back home and the first thing I did was to check if the pregnant cat was still in the house.

She was not.