June 2, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Essay: The Cat’s Gifts by Smitha Murthy

2 min read

In this personal essay, Smitha Murthy reflects on the quirky relationship one can have with cats.

I have never been particularly fond of cats. Dogs, with their utter neediness and hopeless, vulnerable love, have been more my friends. 

Years ago, almost two decades ago, I was nicknamed the ‘Cat’ at university. I am not sure why, but I think it had something to do with my inherent sarcasm and laziness – not really an ode to my coolness (Sadly). It’s a nickname that’s still in use, even though I hope it’s now more because I am really a cool cat and not for less desirable sarcastic qualities. 

When eager friends show me their cats, I gingerly pat them to avoid offending them. The friends that are, not the cats. The cats don’t care. One friend had three Persian cats, their fur a carpet-like invitation to relax. They mostly ignored me when I visited him, staring out the window before lounging to his wardrobe for their nap. I admired their indifference to me – not many do that in my life – and it felt oddly comforting. The friend moved to a different part of the city, and in Bangalore, that’s akin to moving to another country. My visits ceased, and the friend dropped out of my life. I rarely think of him, but I do think of his cats. 

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