What’s in a name? I hear them ask. Reputation. Trend. Statement. Likes.
Maybe. Why did I choose FootlooseTomCat as my blog name? What’s in a name? I hear them ask.
Without a doubt, I say: “For that is I”. I am a footloose tom cat. In the vernacular, pusang gala. Not in the cursed sense but, because I have been to a lot of places.
I was born in Digos, grew up in Davao City, started my elementary days in Cotabato City, went to General Santos City. Worked in Pasay City, hid in Taguig, transferred to and worked in Rosario, Cavite, moved to Gen. Trias Cavite, relocated to Bacoor Cavite, briefly put up a business in Manila, studied and stayed in Mandaluyong, fell in love and currently residing in Pasig.
Not to mention trips here and there which to me is, really just a few.
Apart from that, I could have sworn, I must have been a cat in my past life.
People closest to me know how close I am to my pet cats. Even when I was young, I took care of cats who went to our house after each human meal time, so they can have their own share of our food.
But I can never tell anyone enough of the kind of love I had for Sergio. Yes. You got that right. Sergio, so named because I was at the peak of watching my idol DingDong Dantes’ teleserye with now girlfriend Marian Rivera. I later nick-named him Shao-shao, since I really sound gay when I call out his name lovingly. Nothing wrong with gay, I have a lot of gay friends. Just that I’ve always wanted to be perceived as masculine.
I was feeding and playing with our adopted dog, Patat, on the rooftop of Tita Marie’s house when I noticed that a cat gave birth to 4 very cute and playful kittens. I immediately named them according to their physical attributes, “Putol” for a cat whose tail is seemingly cut short; “Tunay” for a cat who has the truest gray color a cat can have; “Batik” for the only multi-colored cat in the litter, and “Abo” for the cat with the light-gray color, who I eventually cat-napped.
Cats are known to lead away and lose their kittens after all the antibodies have been transferred to the latter, so they can fend for themselves. I couldn’t bare the thought of not seeing these cute kittens anymore, so I thought out a plan. I was at the 3rd floor looking down, and a brilliant idea came to me as I tried to feed them by lowering a basket full of food to our neighbor’s rooftop. Needless to say, the “masiba” cat,
“Abo”, not only viciously ate the food, but also went inside the basket to have his edge from the other cats, and boom! I raised the basket higher and successfully kidnapped him.
Patat, the friendliest dog I have ever met, cried foul after he saw what I did. I guess he felt betrayed. And so I ran towards my room where I intended to keep “Abo” for good. He is cute, adorable and very playful. He would play with the Christmas balls, my toes, the sofa, and pretty much anything.
Because I’ve had cats before who I feel I was not able to really take care of, I took care extra care of Shao-Shao. I had him de-wormed at a nearby vet clinic, I cleaned him, gave him whiskas, toys, and his part of the bed. When he woke me up on days that I really wanted to sleep, I give in and play with him. When he scratched my arm because we played like crazy, it was okay. When he made our sofa his scratch pad, I frowned but resigned to the fact that I can’t do anything anyway. When he pooped on our housemate’s bed, I cleaned, washed and perfumed the sheets, and apologized on end to the ladies. The only time I physically hurt him was when he played and bit a cockroach. I had to grab him by the nape to make him let go. Eww. Shao-shao, dirty!!!
When he entered the stage of heat, and met a girlfriend in the neighborhood, I understood his needs and allowed him to stay out during the night, and with me during the day. Such was our routine. I knew he loved me. And I love him very much, too. That when he gets kicked by my father when we fight, I feel enraged.
Until one day, we transferred to a different house on a different street. I bade everyone goodbye that night to go to work. And, because his routine is to go to his girl every night, Shao-shao ran to their nest and never returned since.
Everyday I would go back to our old house and shout his name, ask neighbors about him, search every house…all of which were in vain. I told everyone, I would give a reward if they found him, and that all they do is knock, or yell.
And so even when I was already asleep, when neighbors tell me they found him, I would run down and examine the cat. One was smelly and his paws were gray. Not Sergio. One had a cut tail. Not Sergio. For months, I was like that. I cried.
I remember the cat bag I bought for him, his body leash, his toys, his food pan.
I don’t think I’d ever be ready to love a pet that way. Because when I lost him, it felt like I lost a best friend. He would snob me when he’s not in the mood, bite me when he’s mad, and shed his hair on my clothes, but that would have been fine. As long as he was still here…Sigh…
I miss you, my Shao-shao…The real footloose tom cat.