My New Mom Has a Moustache

Submitted into Contest #176 in response to: Write a story told from the point of view of an animal.... view prompt

34 comments

Kids Teens & Young Adult Contemporary

My new mom has a moustache. He calls me by my old name Charlie and feeds me out of purple-coloured pouches.

I don’t want to relive the trip along with my brother in a cage to this new house. I just sleep on the upper edge of the sofa on my old mom’s t-shirt. The new sights, smells, and spaces are a bit overwhelming but I am trying to fit in. My brother who is hiding in one of the lofts right now could never fit in though. He made his escape within a week of arriving here and left my new mom in guilt-ridden grief. For a while.

My new mom is a fresh-out-of-college fellow, who is trying to live on his own but still needs his parents to pay his bills. I smell hope, fear, and angst spilling out of his pores. He has neatly arranged a litter tray and bowls filled with food and water to welcome me. I notice everything else in his tiny house is littered. I like that. More hurdles to jump over and more strings to pull.

He looks at me with a tender smile whenever he tries to come close. But I slink away quietly. Not so fast. Never will I be trusting anyone blindly. That’s just the way I am. I don’t like to give false hopes. Frankly, in this aspect, I am not too different from my new mom. Trust and loyalty are overrated, and underused in his species too- as I would come to observe later.

I let him pet me; At first, while I lick the bowl clean, and after some time while I sit on the sofa near the window watching the butterfly flit over the hibiscus bushes. He lets me goof around and looks away when I make an awkward landing. I like him. He plays with me by rolling on the floor and bears with me as I rip open the threads at the base of the sofa. We play with strings too and I feel bad when I accidentally end up scratching him. But he doesn’t get angry over it.

He understands my meow tongue and admires my poise as I navigate the house strewn with packages. He even leaves a couple of boxes open for me to burrow in.

I no longer sleep on my old mom’s t-shirt.

As weeks roll by, I learn to push open his bedroom door and he learns to be comfortable with me walking all over his assembled machines. He seems to spend a great deal of time in front of a big screen: flooding it with a gush of characters by tapping at the backlit keyboard, or watching the forms similar to his species but not real, or staring at the blank screen with a blank look. I notice that he goes through cycles of overeating and oversleeping followed by undereating and undersleeping. Everyone has their way of dealing with life, I guess. None of my business. I do what I can. I sleep near his feet on his bed. And knead his back with my paws to make him smile when he wakes up. He has earned it.

My first birthday is a few weeks away. I am put in that loathsome cage again and carried to a place that is full of others like me and reeks of chemicals. A man in a white coat grins and pokes me with a needle. The next thing I know, I am groggy and there is pain between my hindlegs with a part of me missing. My mom treats me with great care and extra special food till I recover. I am proved right in not trusting anyone blindly. But he is the best I have got, and I’ll take him. He seems to think somehow this will help him gain control over my behaviour. He is both right and wrong. I am as available to be controlled as he is.

He knows I love to bask in the sunlight in the garden and jump over the fence to my neighbour’s place. So, he leaves the window near the sofa cracked open, always. I slip out on some dusks to catch the moths and dawns to hunt the rats. There are a couple of rough, mean, homeless tomcats who give me grief at times, but I manage to sprint back home. A couple of times I gifted plump rats to my mom, but he shrieked in disgust. That was confusing and fun to watch. I like this dance of reliable mischief we share.

There are times when intruders disturb our routine. His parents, who are both proud and anxious about him, are visiting. They have been here for a couple of days and have only caught a glimpse of me. They say they trust him to find his feet, but I can sense, what they mean is they want him to walk their path. We can’t wait for them to leave us alone; I can come out from under the bed and he can come out from behind the mask. I learn to grow comfortable around them in their later visits and appreciate their love for me. Now I know why their love is a burden on my mom. Regardless of what they want to believe, it is conditional, like everything else in nature.

Then there is another time when his friend drops a clowder of pure breeds on his way out of town on a vacation. They are my counterparts from Persia and Maine; three balls of excess fur and friendliness. Ugh. What is this thing about lineage, looks, and social skills with these humans? How have they concluded one is superior to another? Anyway, I am distinctly uncomfortable with their presence in my space and for the first time since arriving here, think of running away. Luckily for my mom, he spots me sitting near the gate and immediately sends them away to the guest room at the other end of the house and shields me from the adulation that is showered on them by all the visiting help.

It’s been two years now, and only once have I experienced a prolonged period of separation from my mom. He was gone for a good twenty man-days. I spent my first twenty cat-days expecting him to walk through the door any minute. Though his parents took good care of me, they were not mine. I am usually self-sufficient, once my basic needs are taken care of, but I did miss him. I worried that he might never come back. Or worst still I might be sent away to a new home. Much to my relief after eighty more cat-days he did come back! I didn’t make a fool of myself by pouncing on him when he returned though. I just followed him everywhere for a couple of days and curled next to him, radiating the warmth and receiving it, always giving him enough space.

I know that’s why we chose each other. To be able to form a cocoon around us and yet give each other space to breathe.


December 14, 2022 07:37

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34 comments

Wally Schmidt
18:28 Jan 03, 2023

Thanks for pointing me here Suma! Love how you captured the mom and the cat's relationship of mutual interdependence and all the other finer details of a cat's existence. Missing only the cat's name.

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Suma Jayachandar
08:08 Jan 04, 2023

Thank you for taking time to read and comment, Wally! Cat's name is mentioned just once in first paragraph 😊

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Riel Rosehill
13:33 Jan 02, 2023

"I know that’s why we chose each other. To be able to form a cocoon around us and yet give each other space to breathe." - this is so beautiful. The perfect last sentence to this felinetastic story! Loved the at POV in this story Suma! Lovely story with some great observations and commentary about human nature.

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Suma Jayachandar
05:03 Jan 03, 2023

Riel!! Great to hear from you. How have you been doing? Thank you so much for your fabulous comment ( loved felinetastic). I loved the story you posted recently and hope to see more of your fantastic stories this year. Happy New Year 🎇

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Riel Rosehill
21:16 Jan 03, 2023

Thanks Suma, and happy new year to you too! I've been alright, just got a bit busy to keep up with the stories unfortunately - I'm still working on my future novel, so I won't be a regular on here, but will return for sure time to time!

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Suma Jayachandar
15:47 Jan 04, 2023

All the best!

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Olivia Rozanski
11:29 Jan 02, 2023

Great story, Suma! You really captures the inside of the cat's mind. The title alone made me laugh. I love how the cat is unable to decipher that his "new mom" is not his mom, but his new dad. Yet, he is able to understand how he is feeling. I love it. Great job

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Suma Jayachandar
04:59 Jan 03, 2023

Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, Olivia. I am glad you enjoyed reading it.

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Aeris Walker
12:21 Dec 26, 2022

Winner of the best title of the week for sure! It’s fun and attention grabbing and made me laugh. You really nailed the voice of this cat haha. He is aloof, discerning, and independent, but has a soft spot for his new “mom”and really does crave the comfort of companionship. Very well done. These were my favorite lines: “That was confusing and fun to watch. I like this dance of reliable mischief we share.“—this is cute :) “They say they trust him to find his feet, but I can sense, what they mean is they want him to walk their path. We ca...

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Suma Jayachandar
10:10 Dec 27, 2022

Haha, thank you so much, Aeris. I too suspect it was the title that placed it in rec list for a while. As a cat person, happy to see all the attention and love this piece got. Thanks again for reading and commenting. I appreciate it a lot!

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22:50 Dec 24, 2022

thats a very nice story nice writing

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Suma Jayachandar
07:27 Dec 25, 2022

Thank you so much!

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12:07 Dec 23, 2022

That's a very pleasant cat pov story. Having owned a cat, and left the window open a crack to let him go hunting, and sometimes return with "presents", I relate to so much of this. You made the regular happenings of vacations and visitors really come alive. Nice writing!

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Suma Jayachandar
13:48 Dec 23, 2022

Thank you for your kind words, Scott. Appreciate it!

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Amanda Lieser
03:45 Dec 22, 2022

Hi Suma, Oh my gosh! This story was such a great take on the prompt. That repetition of the title was so beautiful. I kept extending “moustache” out in my mind as I read it: Mooooostaaccchheee. Wonderfully brilliant. I also picked out a favorite line: But he is the best I have got, and I’ll take him. Nice job!!

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Suma Jayachandar
11:49 Dec 22, 2022

Hi Amanda, Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment! Truly appreciate it.

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Katy B
15:50 Dec 21, 2022

The name of this piece immediately caught my eye. You did a great job capturing the voice of an animal! My favorite line: "They say they trust him to find his feet, but I can sense, what they mean is they want him to walk their path." Really powerful sentiment. Thank you for sharing.

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Suma Jayachandar
11:48 Dec 22, 2022

Thank you for taking time to read and comment!

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John Del Rio
15:43 Dec 20, 2022

I like it. To me, you captured the way a cat feels and acts and thinks. I'm glad for the cat, and his new mom, that they found each other.

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Suma Jayachandar
04:01 Dec 21, 2022

Thank you so much for your kind words.

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Susan Catucci
17:18 Dec 19, 2022

I agree the title is fabulous - I had to see what it meant and I'm so glad I did. Wonderfully warm and wise. I also chose an animal to voice and would welcome your thoughts, if you have time and inclination. :)

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Suma Jayachandar
06:34 Dec 20, 2022

Thank you for your kind words, Susan! Yes, definitely would like to read your story. Heading there!

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Tommy Goround
11:23 Dec 19, 2022

10 points for the title alone.

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Suma Jayachandar
13:54 Dec 19, 2022

That's very kind of you. Thank you!

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Zack Powell
04:42 Dec 19, 2022

Suma!! Long time, no read! (And that's my fault, of course, not yours. 😅 Who would've thought that a new job could be so stressful?) But finally I have the time to tackle some of my favorite Reedsy writers' stories, so of course I had to take a stop by your page and see what you were up to. (Also, a VERY belated congratulations on getting another shortlister! I'm so proud of you.) Happy to know that you're still writing and sharing your talent with us, and I was even happier getting to read this story, with it being so fresh out of the oven....

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Suma Jayachandar
13:52 Dec 19, 2022

Zack!! When you took a break from Reedsy (unannounced 😪), every week I looked for a title with purple DP to show up. Then you make a come back( thank God) and shower my work with a Niagara of kind words 😢. I am speechless in face of such generosity. I'm sure you are moving up in your life if your new job turned out to be so demanding. Congratulations and wish you the very best. Please do keep posting here on Reedsy whenever you can. Your words have the power to make this world a better place. A mere thank you will be such an inadequate phra...

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Cindy Strube
00:32 Dec 17, 2022

Oh, I like this, Suma — what a sweet story! You’ve captured the cat’s nature very well, and the burgeoning camaraderie is beautifully drawn. I like the mention of sleeping on the old mom’s shirt, and then eventually not sleeping on it anymore as he grows attached to “new mom”. The title! It’s so perfect… The gaining of trust is very familiar to me, and you really show it well. We have 2-1/2 cats — 2 came from a friend who had to move and downsize. They don’t really like each other, but they both like all 3 of us. The 1/2 cat is a recent vi...

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Suma Jayachandar
08:23 Dec 17, 2022

Cindy! Thank you so much for leaving a heartfelt comment, as always. I'm glad to know it struck a chord with a fellow cat lover🤗

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Rebecca Miles
14:53 Dec 16, 2022

Ah, this is perhaps the ideal first independent relationship, both cohabiting, looking after the other with no fall out ( barring a castration, poor thing). I liked how both cat and owner negotiated change together and the sense both would always be there for the other. A story which bears testament to why four legs are a two legs' best friend!

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Suma Jayachandar
08:20 Dec 17, 2022

Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Rebecca. Independent relationship - yes, I like the sound of it ☺️

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Michał Przywara
22:35 Dec 14, 2022

A very catchy title :) What I like is the focus on the cat perceiving emotions more so than words. He does perceive words, of course, but he digs underneath them, like when the parents visit, or during the (anxiety? depression?) cycles of the owner. This does go the other way too, when the cat's at the gate and the owner clues in on what's happening. So it seems like the journey here is one of bonding. The cat's uncertain initially, then they share some adventures - and a betrayal at the vet's - and get to know each other. They develop a...

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Suma Jayachandar
05:09 Dec 15, 2022

Thanks, Michal! I know I can always rely on you to improve my work. I did tinker around and hopefully the ending reads better now. Yeah, you are right. Cats have uncanny ability to pick up on feelings. I had so much fun writing this stream of consciousness short :-) Deeply appreciate your comment and support, as always!

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Michał Przywara
21:50 Dec 15, 2022

I like the changes. It gives us some more details, and we know the cat's fate during the absence. Looks like a line got duplicated though: "I am usually self-sufficient, once my basic needs are taken care of, but I did miss him."

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Suma Jayachandar
00:44 Dec 16, 2022

Oops... Thanks!

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