Over the past two months, I have been frequenting the old Bedok market because a good friend’s mother was warded in the nearby hospital, so after visitation this was our usual dinner joint. After our dinner at the nearby eateries, we would usually walk around the area, occasionally pop into the 24 hr Supermarket or many a times, we would walk over to this alley where we would meet a few stray cats, often hanging around the area.
Very often, along with our visitations, we will bring along a can of tin food or some table scraps from our eateries to give our new found feline friends a small treat. There were three female cats, small in stature and utterly cute. They would respond to our “cat-call” and the moment they saw us, they would sped to us from where they were, followed by affectionate purrs to hint that they were hungry.
And to one corner, there was one very shy cat. An orange coloured cat, male, with a stumpy tail. We called him George with no particular reasons, simply because he looked George.He would not come anywhere near us, though he would always stay a distance away. Occasionally he will heave a small mew to hint to us about his presence so that we can tip a small spoonful of tin food for him as well.
As time went by, he became more and more familiar with us and after a few weeks, George finally allowed me to touch him, followed by a gentle purr. However, he will always stay at one corner and never come near to the girls because the feminine felines were quite nasty towards their “boy-next-door”. After I patted him, I gave him a huge chunk of the tuna I had and he devoured hungrily before he gave me a purr again and disappeared.
It was since 3 weeks that I last notice George. He did not respond to my call which he usually did, always hiding at one corner. Last night, while feeding the cats at the alley, we met a n elderly lady who is also a keen fan of this group of cats. We had a short conversation and I happened to speak of George.
“That orange cat?” she said in Mandarin, “he’s dead. He was run down by a car 3 weeks ago just over at that carpark.”
At that moment I felt a terrible sinking feeling. Quite un-explainable I must say, since George is not my own cat nor a pet I see everyday. But to hear the news of his demise was a big pain. After dishing out food for the remaining cats and give each of them a pat, we drove home. On the way back, I thought of George and how the one and only time he allowed me to pat him and offered his purr became the last of what I will remember of him.
I laid on bed last night thinking of George. It was a sad thing that happened, but sadder that life can be so unpromising. It also reminded me never to take the existence anything or anyone for granted for the moment of happiness is never eternal or continual.
I will remember George for a long, long time. The alley will never be the same without him.