👀 We're Feline It
#200 | Who let the cats out? Meow, meow, meow
It's April, and we're back on our regular schedule. Which means you get a new edition of Just One Thing delivered to your inbox every single weekday.
Rejoice! The drought is ended.
On top of that, today you're reading our 200th edition! We've scored a double century already! Feels like just yesterday our little newsletter was born, tentatively called whatsitcalledagain, taking its first wobbly steps to forage in the internet wasteland.
To celebrate and honour the internet for all its bounteous gifts, I want to talk about a species that is the apple of the internet's collective eye: cats.
This week, I was traveling through the Nilgiris, visiting churches, tea gardens, graveyards, lakes and cafes.
The highlight, however, was something else (although I must confess, standing on the empty banks of the Emerald Lake near Ooty in a haze of grey rain made me feel like I'm in a coming-of-age indie movie, and I have a weakness for that genre of feeling): a Cat.
This was a cat we met at our homestay in Conoor. Overlooking lush green hills, this British-era one-storey bungalow belongs to a retired colonel.
The cat lives on the grounds, and according to the caretakers, she doesn't have a name.
A chubby ginger cat, she meowed her way to our hearts almost instantly with her near desperation for cuddles.
In course of two days, she spent several hours lazing with us in the sun, clamouring at the door when we were having fish, and turning her nose up at Marie biscuits (a true connoisseur, she recognised the supremacy of Digestive biscuits).
That such a regal creature would leap into my lap of her own volition not once, not twice, but thrice was beyond my wildest imagination. And yet, this did happen, and this was, of course, the highlight of my trip.
Her ceaseless purrs and her endless amounts of fur (that she shed with gay abandon all over my clothes) endeared her to me forever, even though our paths crossed only for a little while.
I took an embarrassingly large number of selfies with her each time she came to me and another round of zoomed-in photos of her sleeping in the crook of my arm. I was, as a friend rightly put it, "in love".
After we left Conoor for Kotagiri, we wondered about what she might be doing now that we were gone. Maybe waiting for us (yes, we're a dramatic bunch), or maybe she was off on her own, having her fabulous feline adventures or rendezvousing with single tomcats in her area.
And that brings me to today's thing: The secret lives of cats. Much like love itself, cats are not fully knowable.
Even the most domesticated of cats are known to wander, to take off without warning, chasing sounds, sights or smells we humans don't have the means to sense or understand.
Ten years ago, some folks at the BBC got together with the Royal Veterinary College to put trackers on a bunch of cats in Surrey. The goal was to unearth, at least partially, these secret comings and goings, these mysterious motivations.
They made a documentary to showcase everything they found, but if you want a more interactive way to learn about their findings, take a look at this.
P.S. I'm just gonna attach some of my photos with that Cat because JUST LOOK AT HER.