When we started getting constant messages on Mom’s phone regarding a tropical storm that might be hitting us on the weekend, we were hopeful that it might change its course at the last minute and save everyone the worry and damages that come along with it.
The only thing that seemed to change in Shaheen was the definition. Now, it was a cyclone and certainly heading towards us. On Saturday morning while driving by the beach road, the sea was grey and raging with high waves.
By late afternoon, dark clouds were gathering and my brother came to check on our windows and doors. He even moved the cars into a safe place away from the course of any flying objects.
We stood in front of the laundry room deciding to turn it into a shelter for the outdoor cats. To lure them in, I left some dry food along with some cushions.
Only Borsa was smart enough to find herself a spot along with her two grown-up kittens. As for the rest of the cats, they kept following me around in and out of the shelter, which made me wonder how effective their disaster detecting senses were (probably nonexistent or simply mushed in their fat bellies!). I had to move Rocky to the bathroom as his cage was the first thing that would flood. Strong wind and rain started about 7 pm and I kept checking on the Kitzanians from the balcony.
Some were hiding under the cars and others in corners of the house where water couldn’t reach them. Sleep denied me that evening and I woke up around 1.30 am to find the rain and wind at their peak and amongst all that a white Land Cruiser roaming around the neighbourhood. (What is there to see or film in these horrible conditions?). Kiki the blind was the only indoor cat panicking and meowing in distress. I almost slipped to discover that water was leaking from my windows. I had to wipe it twice before giving up; it was a fool’s errand as more water kept coming in.
I managed a few hours of sleep and woke up to more rain and wind. Our garden was ankle-deep in water as the drain got blocked by the cats’ toy ball. I removed it and went to check on the shelter to find more cats gathered there despite the mess that was made by the water and wind that scattered the food and broke a pot.
I started cleaning up but Borsa swiped me twice, she wasn’t happy with me sharing her space. Ignoring her and the scratches, I cleaned the place as fast as I could before heading to the front to check on the rest of the cats.
Despite the ordeal, my cats were hungry and demanding breakfast but how to feed them in this bad weather?
I had to squeeze their food in spots where it was somewhat dry. Many ate hurriedly before hiding once again under the cars as the rain got stronger. As for my indoor cats, they kept shaking their wet paws and giving us dirty looks.
The day was spent clearing the water off the floor, checking on family and friends and watching storm updates on TV. The storm finally ceased by 2.30 pm. It was still drizzling when I went to feed the cats around five. Thankfully, no cats were lost. I slipped on the mud while going down the wadi to feed the dogs. There weren’t any but I left them food. They’ll come down soon, now that Shaheen had left.
(The writer is a certified skills trainer and an author)