Every Mowgli needs a Bagheera
Whether you are driven or lost, working or a homebody, young or old, a Persian Cat can be just the right companion for you. They are gentle, not very predatory, protective, and very, very intelligent animals. They might not invite cuddles but the certainly command respect. My journey with my Persian cat has been a pleasant one—we are good friends, and shall continue to be so forever more. To those who think cats aren’t fashionable pets, or aren’t as nice as dogs, please remember that the King of the Jungle is also Feline.
I have always been fascinated by cats. The great grandeur that is the feline personality. That sauntering walk, those glowering eyes, bushy tails waving menacingly but like a gentle warning. I was newly married and somewhat unemployed when my partner Nabeel took me to a family who had about 20 Persian cats. I will never forget the day when I was given the luxury of choosing one out of five amazing, furry, woolly-feeling Persian kittens. They were all so unique, so adorable, so soft to touch, and their fur… the fineness of a Persian cat’s fur is simply alluring.
Out of those five playful, bright-eyed, differently coloured kittens, there lay one who seemed disinterested and laid back. He was grey and had a serious mouth set in a grim straight line and slanting, deep-yellow eyes. I took that little kitten into my arms and decided he was the one. He meowed all the way home and we tried to come up with an apt name for him. The smokiness and sheen of his coat, the alertness of his eyes, the pointiness of his doll-face, the silent dignity of his whiskers and the erectness of his tiny ears earned him the name of one of the most famous characters from Rudyard Kipling’s novel The Jungle Book—Bagheera.
Being an amateur cat pet parent in the beginning, I was unsure about a lot of things. I got him a scratch post and some cat toys, a bed, a bowl, some Whiskas cat food and of course a litter tray with sand. One lesser known fact about Persian cats is that they are absolutely sensitive, sensible, and intelligent creatures.
It amazed me how quickly Bagheera took to his litter-tray training. It was almost like we didn’t have to teach him anything. The minute we named him, he knew his name and became very aware of his identity. He was laidback but in a cool, back-bencher kind of manner. He was the most assertive pet I had ever experienced. I didn’t really know what to do with him. He didn’t need much training since he already knew what was what. He was too remarkable to be naughty or to display any brat-like behaviour. He didn’t need to be monitored. He was independent from the very outset, didn’t fuss around much and didn’t and still doesn’t like being cuddled or smothered. I guess that’s a quality most Persian male cats possess. So there was not much to do over here.
More than a son
I had taken Bagheera in like a son, for I was looking for a child-like project for myself to invest in, but I am so thankful that Bagheera could never really be that. He just didn’t allow it. Bagheera is my friend, my compadro, my fellow traveller in life. But he is not my baby. And it is perfect that way. Because that is the reason that pushed me to be more. To be more of myself. It helped me glance within and find something to drive me and to discover my passion in life, and Bagheera’s inert silence told me that it had to be more than just mothering him. I am so grateful to him for that. He has truly earned my respect.
So if you are someone who is going through a mid-twenties crisis, do yourselves a favour and get yourself a Persian cat. Not only are they absolutely gorgeous to look at, but they are like art—because they make you stir. Another thing that the Persian can boast of is his incomparably tolerant personality. When Bagheera turned one year old, we decided to get a baby bird, and then another. And another six months down the line I decided to get a miniature rabbit.As pet parents, we were really nervous. Everybody said, ‘The cat will eat up the other critters’, but two days of training, and Bagheera proved his kingliness by happily-coexisting with the other animals edgily, if not happily. And today, they are like siblings. Bagheera may not like to hang out with us but every now and then he lurks into my room to have a quick chat with the other pets. He sits in his signature regal manner and watches over his brothers and ensures that they’re not up-to some pranks.