I’m a Cat (and Dog) Person


I’m a Cat (and Dog) Person

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

Coming back home these days, is an exercise in mathematical exactness. I walk up to my door, and the arithmetic begins. As soon as it opens, I have to divide my affection equally between my two pets, so as to not trigger a hissy fit. To a lot of my friends, this scenario is nine parts adorable and one part absurd. “But how can a dog and cat coexist in harmony under one roof?” they often ask. If I’m being totally honest, they don’t: Their coexistence isn’t harmonious by a long shot. Yet, our combined affection is multiplied.

My dog, Zippy, has been with us since 2008, and is a senior dog at this point. She loves her leisure time and enjoys cuddles more than cardio. So when my mom decided to adopt and then hand over a sprightly kitten to me two years ago, it was an overwhelming experience for ol’ Zipps. The very sight of the kitten seemed to bring out the aggressive Zippy from days of yore where she’d gained a notorious reputation of terrorising watchmen and delivery boys alike. Her atavistic transformation reminded me of Shekhar/Tiger’s from Hum.

Even as she snarled at this tiny feline, I could tell from the look on her face that it wasn’t so much rage as feeling threatened by the idea of having to share the affection she’d only enjoyed herself all these years. In a way, Zippy was suffering from the doggie version of first-child syndrome.