Friday, February 03, 2023 | Rajab 11, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

The Visit

When my aunt announced that she’s coming for a short visit to Muscat along with her husband the artist — a man with no pet experience and innate hate for cats- it was the time for an urgent meeting with my indoor felines, to set rules and behaviour code around the guest.


The meeting took place in my room on my bed with cats spread all over the place: Naeemo sitting on top of pillows where she usually slept, Duja stretching on the blanket, Mansoor with his fat backside facing us — his way of letting us know what he really thinks of the whole meeting — and Kiki the blind at her usual spot on the ironing board sniffing the air to gauge what’s happening in her territory.


Sinan had to join us via Zoom as he was too terrorised to be around Kiki the little Minotaur. Cross-eyed Poppy sent her apologies earlier claiming that she rarely left her territory-Mom’s room- so she won’t be a nuisance to the guest (not to mention being afraid of bumping into Kiki). With my hair slightly smelling of cat urine — thanks to Kiki whose been busy spraying the room including the scarves’ rack the minute I mentioned the words ‘possible meeting in my room’ — I declared the meeting opened.


I started by mentioning the points that we’ll be discussing in the meeting especially the ‘no contact’ policy with the guest. Naeemo lifted her head as she was concerned about what’s exactly meant by ‘no contact’?


Does it include sitting next to the guest instead of jumping on his lap as per her lady-like manners? Before I could reply, Kiki intervened and asked if it includes sitting a few metres away from the guest and staring at him as she did whenever my friend Dalia came visiting? “Dalia thinks it’s cute!” She added nonchalantly.


I warned both that I’d prefer if they’d leave the guest alone and avoid any sort of contact with him- especially Kiki’s eyeless stares that constantly freaked out our visitors. I added that this would also include dirty looks- Mansoor’s specialty. Mansoor wagged his tail to indicate that he was listening but wouldn’t bother to answer as he was busy watching Mujahid — an outdoor cat who keeps barging into my room to clean up any cat food leftovers. Naeemo asked if it was okay to welcome the guest at the doorstep and walk him up to his room the way she did with my brother before he moved out?


As I pondered the question, Kiki wondered if she could still practice her acrobatic acts when chasing and catching flies around the house? I decided to ignore both and moved to the most important item on the agenda: spraying.


I addressed the screen where Sinan was and suggested that he stops spraying plastic items —including bags, boxes, and chairs — as we won’t have much time to clean up after him. Sinan kept staring at us with his half good eye rarely blinking, pretending that the screen had frozen.


Eyeing Kiki, I added that this would also include daily marking of territories and breaking into senseless chasings and fights with Sinan. Again, she chose to ignore me.


I urged Duja gently to stay in my room as he was looking awful with his mouth dripping of bloody saliva due to his Stomatitis condition and the scabbed hairless skin that made him look like he’d just came out from the municipality bin, and he consented hesitantly. The cats were obviously unhappy with these firm decisions and I called the meeting adjourned.


(To be continued...)


Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja. rashabooks@yahoo.com


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