El. pošta

BROTHERS

Does anyone remember a sad little family I took in almost a year and a half ago? When I first heard of them, they had been living on the street for some time, fending for themselves, struggling to survive and fleeing from danger on a daily basis. The mother cat had given birth to her kittens in an unprotected place next to a busy road, where there was no food or shelter and encounters with roaming strays and pet dogs off their leashes were the norm.

I have no idea how many kittens were originally in the litter, before most of them died a violent death in the jaws of vicious dogs; two little boys were the only survivors. Had their Mom been present at the time, she would have probably been killed in a death defying, risky attempt to protect her babies. Presumably, she was away; maybe she went off in search of food, maybe the kittens began to explore the world on their own and none of them foresaw the tragedy that was about to happen. Be as it may, a little stray cat family suddenly had only three members left.

As soon as I heard of their plight, I brought all three of them to the shelter. While the Mom and her ginger boy Jaki were friendly and lovable from the beginning, little tabby Hermes was shy and withdrawn, the exact opposite of his brother. They were never even slightly alike, not even when they were kittens. Jaki has always been affectionate, outgoing, and a loving and friendly type; Hermes, on the contrary, has been skittish and cautious, tended to ignore other cats and seemed to be happiest when left alone. And that hasn’t changed up to this day.

Both brothers have grown into large, powerful and magnificent cats, and in spite of slight resemblances in their faces, they are totally unlike, as different as night and day, as heaven and earth, as fire and ice. Jaki is huge attention seeker and so cuddly that it borders on obsessive; Hermes, on the other hand, recoils in sheer horror at the very thought of being touched. Jaki will jump enthusiastically into laps of total strangers, with no hesitation at all; Hermes freaks out whenever I try to pick him up.

They don’t even spend time together. Jaki has many friends, he enjoys running and playing with them all day long and they are always on the move. Hermes has no friends except for maybe Muppet Show, who is as shy and unapproachable as he is, but sometimes they do sit side by side. Jaki loves to be photographed, he hams it up posing for photos; Hermes hates the camera and tries to hide whenever he sees me with it. After over a year and a half, I've managed to take just a few photos of him, on the extremely rare occasions when he didn’t notice what I was doing.

Jaki is happy to be picked up a hundred times a day, the more the better; Hermes has been picked up twice since he's grown up. Once I wanted to move him from one part of the yard to another, but as soon as his paws touched the ground he broke through the gate on his way back, and the next time he started biting and scratching furiously the second I tried to lift him, so I gave up.

Maybe Jaki and Hermes don’t have the same father but they do have the same mother. They were probably born within minutes of each other, they grew up in the same place, they had the same care and yet, they couldn’t be less alike. I’ve never even seen them behave like brothers. Their personalities are different, their preferences are different, their lives are different, but as long as they are happy, each in his own way, nothing else matters.