Shaan, Shivu and Simi! A Psychic Bond

Shaan, Shivu and Simi! A Psychic Bond

Shaan Khattau with cats

Text & Photographs: Farzana Contractor


If there is any cat crazy person, it is Shaan Khattau. She simply adores all cats. Here she tells us more about her bond with her feline beauties

“My love affair with cats began when I was 10 years old. The jamadaars in our building had this beautiful black cat who I used to play with. They had called him Motilal. I wanted to take the cat home, but my dad said, “No!” He didn’t like cats, though he was fond of dogs.

Then one day Motilal was killed, a car ran over him, in our very compound! I was very, very upset and since that day, I have wanted a cat of my very own.

The story continued through my entire childhood with me playing with cats on the street, looking after them, feeding them etc., but with no thoughts of having one of my own, since it was made clear to me that I couldn’t get one home. Then, years later, an opportunity presented itself at the faculty where I was studying psychology, where there were many new kittens which they were giving away. I pleaded with my dad, who once again said,  “No!” Just imagine I was now 28 years old!

Sad, but only after my dad passed away in 2007 did I get my first cat. That was Simi. The way she came into my life, it feels it was pre-destined. Simi was found in a gutter outside a temple, by Mamta, who I got to know. I very much wanted to adopt her but Mamta wasn’t sure I was ready. This confused me for I always longed for one, so how could I not be ready. It was yes and no, an on-and-off situation, and then I had a dream. In it, I saw my dad pick up a cat and put it in my lap! That was a clincher. Simi was now going to be mine.

Well, it was on Diwali, November 10, when I got Simi home in a tiny little box. Believe me that was the most special night of my life when I had this little kitten sleeping curled right next to me, almost a part of my body. I felt like a new mum!

I have a divine connection with Simi. I must tell you the strangest of stories. As a child, I had a nanny who we called Baaji. Baaji was with us since forever, more than 70 years. She had seen my mother being born, as well as all of us, me, my brother. I was her favourite. The apple of her eye. In fact it is safe to say she was obsessed with me. I loved her, too, and used to call her, Billi, say meow whenever she was around, pull her salt-and-pepper braids. She had these beautiful, round green eyes and always wore white saris. Now this is where Simi comes in. She reminds me of Baaji/Billi! They have the same look, green eyes, grey head, white body! And what’s more, their demeanours match. The way Simi looks at me is exactly how Baaji did. And Simi is equally obsessed. Won’t leave me for a moment!

She means the world to me. She is the centre of my existence. My heartbeat, my very breath. Even before I fall ill, she seems to be aware. Comes to me and tells me in her own way. She looks after me. Like Baaji did. I was 13 when Baaji died.

Shivu came into my life five years ago. I feed a couple of building cats every night. One night, I found this new one creep towards me. I tried to shoo it away seeing it was a male and was worried the other two females would come under threat. But he wouldn’t go away. In fact even when I did not feed him, he would just sit there, purr and make eyes at me. It took me just five days to fall in love with him.

I started to feed him too. Then one day I saw it was beaten all black and blue. My heart lurched! He was a timid boy who couldn’t really look after himself. I had him neutered and then a few days later he went missing. I was besides myself. Went crazy looking for him. Even told the security guards in the building that I would give an inam to whoever would find him. As luck would have it, he was found hiding under a car, all beaten up again.

I didn’t think twice. From now on, Shivu, that’s what I named him, will come live with me. Or least my mum. Where I kept him for a year. In that time I worked on Simi, introduced the two, supervised their interactions and finally decided they were friends enough to live together. Clearly, between the two, Simi is the boss! Shivu only pretends to be more aggressive, but he really is a mouse.

Though they are both rather cagey and jealous of each other when they are around me, I have to say they now live together in harmony. In fact all three of us even sleep in the same room, and rather peacefully!”

shaan khattau cats

Shaan & Shivu Khattau

Shaan Khattau cats

Simi Khattau

Shaan Khattau cats

Shaan & Shivu Khattau