Sunday, September 24, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 8, 1445 H
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The Visit (Part 3)


Mansoor was curious about the new visitor and tried to make contact from the second day by jumping on the artist’s lap. The artist was freaked out by the act and apologised by saying that he still wasn’t used to him, to which Mansoor responded with a dirty look wondering how long would it take if not the second day?

Yet he didn’t lose hope and kept hanging around the artist’s room waiting for him to come out. Slowly, the artist learned to stand still while receiving cat greetings of rubbing against the leg and to pat Mansoor’s head. One day when coming back from the vet after surgery, the artist felt sorry for groggy Mansoor who hasn’t recovered fully from anaesthesia. Whenever he passed by the old cat, he’d pat his head and look genuinely sorry for him.

The following day, Mansoor started visiting the artist’s room and became his friend. He even started communicating with him by meowing and got a free photo session in the course. But being his old moody self, and while being patted by the artist, Mansoor bit him and ran away.

The artist was shocked and wondered loudly what had happened — and if he needed a Tetanus shot, all in the same breath. I shrugged my shoulders nonchalantly and told him that the old cat had reached his quota of human affection. The artist shot Mansoor a wounded look that was returned with a bored one. For the next few days, the artist and Mansoor exchanged silent looks that Mansoor responded to by fruitive tail movements. The artist tried approaching him from a distance by clicking his fingers and when Mansoor got closer the artist jumped back warily.

Two days later, things got back to normal between them and Mansoor — being so magnanimously forgiving — allowed the artist to pat him again. What cemented this friendship even further was when the artist was watching Mansoor and Sinan playing together. Being young and enthusiastic, Sinan seemed to be abusing old Mansoor and the artist reacted protectively by shouting at Sinan to leave him alone before getting up threateningly.

Sinan ran away and Mansoor gave the artist a weird look as he left the room hurriedly. That evening, Mansoor decided that he liked the artist enough to sit on his lap, while he was watching TV. Mansoor walked up and down his lap before deciding to prop himself up against his thigh.

The artist cried in agony: “Why is he cleaving my thigh?” “To leave his scent. Congratulations! You’re officially best friends now!”. Despite the pain, the artist was flattered yet wondered again if he needed a Tetanus shot. Mansoor ignored him and with a bored look placed his arm on the artist thigh. The artist patted him and my aunt took a picture of them both and sent it to my best friend Dalia, whose been trying for years to pat Mansoor and failed miserably.

Mansoor kept hanging in the artist room and while napping there he got sketched. Days before the artist left, his feline best friend kept sitting on his lap looking sad.

The artist couldn’t believe that cats sensed parting and reacted to it. Other cats followed suit, including Kiki who on his departure day jumped and sat on his lap for a while and so did Naeemo. Mansoor went hiding that day and wasn’t found; his way of objecting to long-distance travels and avoiding sorrowful goodbyes. Although it was a short visit, the artist learned a few lessons about feline friendship. Different, fun, filled with bites and scratches but truly worth it.

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

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