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Our Neighbor has numerous cats for pets. Those animals confined themselves religiously to their habitat at our neighbors’ sit out only to address their gastronomic needs. The animals, for some reason chose our house for every other activity cats indulge in. some queer force of nature had them mistake the lawn in my wife’s most cherished and well curated garden for a public latrine, maligning the efforts of the state to achieve an ‘open defecation-free’ status ! The animals, without any concern for cleanliness of their neighbors’ habitat and environment moved their bowels on the lawn regularly. This made it extremely difficult for my septuagenarian mother to walk on the lawns in her daughter-in-law’s garden, which was anyway difficult due to its uneven surface, thanks to irregular mowing, brought about by my wife’s want of time to supervise the gardeners mow the lawns to perfection, a price she had to pay for being a busy doctor!

The cats’ droppings had my mother, rather obsessive with cleanliness to confine herself indoors, swearing at the feline species in general for her forced confinement. The animals also showed the gumption to make occasional forays into the rooms of the habitually ‘pet hating’ family of ours only to hide behind furniture making their continuing presence within the house a matter of trepidatious concern and uncertainty. Despite the cats’ omnipresence within our compound, there was no let up of the rat population which indulged in their destructive activities, especially within the vegetable garden much to the consternation of the family’s womenfolk, especially my mother whose contention was that ‘these intrusive cats are of no use to us, despite our stretched tolerance to their uninvited and much unwelcome presence.’ The ultimate mayhem caused by these feline intruders was almost akin to that of Mumbai’s 26/11! Mayhem in terms of provocation and the extent of infiltration. This when one of the cats decided to take its own life in the depths of the well which stood in our compound. We found its mortal remains in extreme state of putrefaction within the well when water pumped from the well smelt unbearably putrid. This had the livid family, led by my mother to sanitize not only the well, but the overhead tank too by availing of the services of experts, who did a great job, much to the satisfaction of the violated, wronged, and much- maligned family. This extreme nature of provocation of the feline kind had us, as family plan the execution of the rest of the intruders by poisoning them, even if it resulted in denting bilateral ties with our neighbors. They had already been warned adequately and repeatedly about ‘violation of the border’ by their favorite pets. We zeroed in on Rifampicin, an anti-Tubercular drug as the ‘weapon’ to put an end to further intrusions. One of our doctor aunts had enlightened us on the drug’s capacity to kill such unwelcome intruders possibly through liver failure.

The only factor that had us give up our assassination plans was the logistics involved in disposing off the mortal remains of the poisoned intruders. This factor and extreme dislike for pets dead or alive had us hold our peace, adding to the health of good neighborliness, a favorable byproduct despite the feline intrusions!