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My cat Jolawi: so faithful and true

Tomorrow, I will travel 400km out of town to take a picture of my cat Jolawi. I wonder why for the last four years, I have never taken pictures of Jolawi yet I have taken a picture of everything, anything and everyone else. I guess it is a popular case of taking a loved one for granted.
I have loved and lost many men, I have made and broken up with many friends, I have socialised with and dropped certain aquaintances that outgrew their time and use and I love my family dearly but for some strange reason, Jolawi beats them all…this darling, silly, playful, lovely pussy cat.
Jolawi is supposed to be my cat but she has recently acquired a higher status and is now the family cat. The family has had many cats in the past but again I dare say that Jolawi is the King of the Castle. Although she could go into a contest with my lovely nieces’ pussy cat, Oscar Ayiemba who is very loving too. Oscar might win because of her age and wisdom but Jolawi would be runner up.

Some of my friends on facebook know Jolawi too. When MM shared her experience about her cat Karen forcing her to open the door every midnight for a pee, I mentioned to her that Jolawi could be a nuisance too but everloving.

Many found Jolawi’s name rather funny. My friend Mary mentioned about a cat that appeared at her doorstep on new year’s day and there I went again offering unsolicited advice using examples from my cat Jolawi, so Mary now knows Jolawi too. Linda D and Cousin D have heard about Jolawi. Everybody in Kondele and in Muhoroni knows Jolawi….this Levite of a pussy cat. And whenever some people want a favour from me, they throw in Jolawi’s name for they know this will gel my heart. Graca, Krysta, Elvis, Jackie, Jackie May, Jackie G, Jack Papa, Brayo, Lily J, Rooney Wayne…all my little nieces and nephews love Jolawi too.

Jolawi nya Kisumo, such a famous cat. Brown and beautiful with seductive eyes and a playful spirit. Always forgiving and never loving me for who I am, what I am or what I feed it but just loving me despite everything. Sweet Jolawi, my cat that never harbours grudges and shows gratitude although sometimes, Jolawi betrays thievy tendencies and steals from the sufuria. Her favourite theft food is chicken and Jolawi can never resist the urge to steal it no matter how many pieces I give him, I guess it is a curse on her part. Let me just put it plainly that Jolawi is a thief. Yet I still love her with all my heart.

If a friend stole my money or my property, that would be the end of our friendship. If my brother stole my food, I would forgive him rather grudgingly. But not Jolawi, he has stolen so many times making me so angry. Yet that does not stop me opening for it the window late in the night when it returns from its catty escapades.

I have dreamt of publishing bestselling books but a book I gave a publisher ten years ago has never been published and now I watch with pessimism as my manuscripts gather dust on the shelves and darken with age. I may not get space to publish my articles in the local newspapers but for Jolawi this social site at WordPress.com is my special gift to you. Millions of cat lovers and cat haters will read about you from all parts of the world and I promise to make you famous…you silly faithful pussy cat. I think after reading about you, some cat haters might just change their minds.

Your story will be read by President Barrack Obama, the first Black President of the United States of America and Michelle Obama and I think they will really like you. He is on facebook too. Rupert Murdoch, the Media Mogul…brought down by his trusted friends too will read about you and like you too. If only he had a trusted his cat, his media empire would not have come down a tumbling like Humpy Dumpty! He blogs these days and if he has a cat, we will compare notes about you, Jolawi.

Even Raila Amolo Odinga, Kenya’s Prime Minister is on facebook and when he reads about you, Jolawi, he might pass by Home and drop you a huge bowl of milk and Weetabix, he is a farmer too. And let us not forget Bobby Collymore, that great Safaricom giant, I think he will love you too and might just give us a free BlackBerry phone with free Bamba hours. I think Uhuru Kenyatta, Martha Karua, Kalonzo Musyoka, Charity Ngilu, George Saitoti, William Ruto, Peter Kenneth…all Kenya’s Presidential candidates will read about you too and they will really like you, Jolawi.

I have not seen President Yoweri Museveni on facebook, but when my friend Nakabuga tells him about Jolawi, State House Kampala might just be our next destination. Thy will be done Oh Lord.

The New York Times might just give you a Page 3 and who knows? Time Magazine could just name you “Time Cat of the Year 2012” and place you on the cover. Wait until they read about you on Twitter!

For me, Jolawi was a godsend from my dear Cousin J who lived down the road. Cousin J had several pussy cats, about seven of them and when he heard that I was bedridden, he brought one. But the three-month old cat ran away when it was being removed from the car and found its way back to Cousin J’s house. It later became a wildcat and started seducing Jolawi through the kitchen window. It must be the one that taught Jolawi some bad manners.

But when Cousin J brought a one-week old Jolawi a few months later, Jolawi stayed. Jolawi is the kind of friend that stays through thick and thin. Jolawi nyar Kisumo. She is never on and off. Consistent, persistent so faithful and true. Other wild cats may come and visit but Jolawi knows her place is with me…at home.

At one point in my life, some friends abandoned me because of my poor health then and would not move near me or pick my calls but Jolawi stayed. And on a bad day when I failed to get up, Jolawi would climb up the bed and sleep on the pillow, waiting patiently by my side.

When not playing with a fly or a mosquito or chasing a bird, it would lie on the floor at my feet, grooming itself all day. It reminded me of the Levites in the Old Testament always washing themselves and their clothes ready to go to the temple before the presence of the Lord. The Levites in my mother tongue are known as Jolawi. That is how Jolawi gots its name.

I have learnt so much from my Companion Jolawi. By the time I decided to come back to the city to look for a job, I wanted to carry Jolawi with me. But the family was already attached to her so she stayed home. I do visit her often and she welcomes me with a loud miaw. She tends to misbehave when I am around, as if she knows nothing will happen to her when I am close by. From my experience with Jolawi, I have learnt to survive through loneliness, joblessness, frustrations, starvation, through temptations, through stress. For Jolawi might fail to catch a rat but that will never stop it playing or loving me, her owner.

Jolawi loves music although I have never seen her dance. But whenever the music is on and I dance all round the house, Jolawi climbs the sofa and listens very keenly. I used to chase it away from the seat but when I realised it does not shed its fur, I let her be. Jolawi, she appreciates what I love and the little I have.

Thank you Jolawi, you naughty, playful, silly, pussy cat. And you had better thank me for making you so famous.

Copyright Omwa Ombara, 2012

One response

  1. This piece is enchanting.

    January 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm

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