I live with cats. When I told friends that I was going to get myself a cat –a longhaired Persian at that—they were concerned because it was not the best pet choice for somebody asthmatic like myself. “But I want a cat, I always liked cats.” I was adamant. According to them, there were simpler ways to aggravate my lung condition that won’t cost me an arm and a leg. “Like standing on EDSA eight hours a day for a week, inhaling toxic fumes from passing vehicles,” they suggested. But I persisted. A few days later I took home a male and ginger fur ball. I named him Natarajan Beckham.
Natarajan was derived from a character in Amulya Malladi’s novel The Mango Season, which I was reading at that time, and, to commemorate the 2006 World Cup, I gave my cat the last name of my favorite soccer player.
Nate, as I fondly call him, turns 5 years old today. He’s grown large with shiny orange hair. He likes to imitate me. He prefers sleeping flat on his back –legs spread out, tummy exposed— like his human. He spends more and more time in front of the computer. I won’t be surprised that one day he’ll be writing my essays for me. I spoil him silly. I refuse to refer to my cat with the pronoun it, preferring the masculine pronoun he. When I am out of the house and people would ask, “Sinong tao sa bahay mo?” I would assure them that the house is safe because, “Si Nate ang tao doon.” He’s a member of my family.