Friday, 20 February 2009

Bengal cats rule Suburbia

What a learning curve that hissed and spat from the cage that day. An F3 with a bulging belly full of arms ,legs and wild expectations. She had been found wide eyed and assumed to be a fox until the torch light that set off her glittered coat revealed a none too happy Pussy cat with an Asian past.

We never found why she had escaped or was abandoned but she was safe to have her kittens in the Farmhouse at Trallwm Farm and to rest up for a bit. All the time she was heavily pregnant or nursing her babies she had no interest in anything other than their welfare and she had a wonderful instinctive nature that clearly showed how motherhood would be done in the wild. She produced five mewing fur balls with spots and glitter that Cruella De-ville would remortgage for. Each Kitten was destined to be a career cat because all good Bengals need to be a super hero in their own territory and many don't get that opportunity in this fast and furious world where we have taken away the rights of wild animals in exchange for ready caught food and fences.

The famous five grew with extraordinary leaps and bounds in every sense of the much used words. They suddenly were nearly as big as their long suffering mother who became the patient butt of their many games of torturous intent. Her ears were chewed and her belly sagged with their fervent nursing. She loved them with the quiet watchfulness of a Tigress and apart from the odd slap of her long elegant paw and her quiet chirruping they remained free to terrorise the house hold
Kesari as we called her was a girl of meticulous grooming and timing.She coped with being captive by adopting a form of hunting involving left over chips smeared with Heinz tomato sauce. The chips would have to be left grazing on plains of the wooden farm house floor. She would size up enemies and distance before sloping off behind the sofa forest to organise an attack on the unsuspecting chips. It was awesome to watch a streak of freedom launch itself from behind the furniture and carry off her prey which was beheaded and swallowed before it had time to blink. Kesari would always argue and scream at food which would result in her litter of fireballs swooping from cupboards,wardrobes and under beds to help their mother catch and thrash dinner within an inch of its life.
Soon her beloved babies needed her less and she watched the world outside with renewed interest. Several times she escaped but came back smelling of freedom and the joy of life. One day I saw her walking up the lane towards the house,she stopped and sniffed the air before giving a daffodil in bloom an argument in the hedge.She turned and disappeared into a new life leaving her beloved offspring to fend for themselves trusting that their heritage would be enough. I never saw her again.

Her Beautiful babies grew to be huge spotted, Rosetted Bengal cats that rampaged and decimated trees, curtains and the rat population. I had a friend with a dairy farm who agreed to take and love the whole litter. Somewhere where the mountains were safe enough for a few boys and girls to dream wild cat dreams and to play in streams,climb the backs of Jersey Cows and still be home in time for dinner. Somewhere no crimes could be committed and human captive rules broken by unsuspecting Bengals out on a charabanc.

I often wonder what happened to Kesari. I like to think that she never became a prisoner of humanity, trapped in a brick cage with words she couldn't understand and punishments that broke her spirit.I hope she lived her life hunting, sniffing the air, batting daffodils and finding the odd chip that in her mind was a antelope. I hope she never went without Heinz sauce but most of all I hope she remained free in her own space with her own dreams just like all Bengals should if their humans understand them.
Since Kesari bounded into our life and out again, we have had many Bengal casualties here. Refuges from a world they dont understand and from enclosed space that you wouldnt swing any cat from let alone a Bengal. Time and knowlege has moved onwards and we are lucky enough to have a Bengal cat expert called Debbie Connolly who translates for sad Bengals,smooths neighbourhood spats,and works out ground rules for desperate owners of these beautiful unique beings.
Most of all she is a friend to them who understands all things important to thier little souls. She saves them from disaster and helps them negotiate a new way that human restiction can cope with, but little hearts with big cat dreams can still live to fight another day for.

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