I was 40 years of age when I got my first pet. Actually that’s not strictly true; I was 40 when I got my first two pets, because they came as a duo: fluffy, mewling peas in pod, or rather kittens in a cage. Mini and Mouse—spindly, inseparable siblings—had a noticeably special bond in their litter of rescue kittens and so had been kept together. She and he were a non-negotiable ‘we’, whose prospective owners (not that you can ever really own a cat, of course) were asked to take together from a pet charity’s adoption day at the Dubai Garden Centre.
Not that I had any intention of going home with a cat, never mind two. No, I was just window shopping, cooing at the kittens and murmuring sweet, empty words. Because, you see, I’m not a pet person. Or at least I thought I wasn’t a pet person. Like many South Asian families, the one I grew up in was not concerned with petting animals; steering children on the righteous path to success—no distractions, no decadence—was the overriding concern.
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