my ignorance

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Year 2012 collection. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” Confucius

Kung in Thai means shrimp. As customary in Thailand, at very young age, Thai people get nicknamed by their family with mignon names mostly related, but not necessarily, to beautiful flowers or small and micro animals that do not in general cause harm to people and sounds cute apart from being culturally superstitious related to good luck in the future.  From the hospital she works as a nurse she called my wife to ask advice about her persian female cat that keeps sleeping and behaves very strangely. Take her to veterinary, my wife said.

The day after, early morning, Kung called to tell the outcome. She is pregnant! And is due to deliver very soon!!! How come she is pregnant if I never see her going out? Don’t be naif Kung, my wife asserted, cats are very sneaky and if she is not castrated she will find a way out when they are in need!

In fact, one week later Kung calls again to offer my wife a kitten. I was in China on professional duty and my wife called me explaining everything. What do you think, she asked. Well, I like persian cats… I hesitantly said not knowing what more to say.

When I arrived in Hua Hin for my winter holidays on the 3d December my wife already had the 1 month older kitten. It was a female and rather white. I never saw a persian kitten so I did not know if the aspect of her was normal or not. My daughter arrived for holidays too and she was very happy with the kitty wandering in the house and this feline made our vacations differently from what we use to have because the attention it required, almost like having a baby of ours… She twisted her lips when inquired if the kitty would look like a persian when growing up…. She does not look like, but I don’t know, Anna said.

Time went by and around Songkram festival or Thai New Year, in April of 2012 we drove from Bangkok to Hua Hin with Vanilla (name meanwhile chosen) inside the car. She was the center of all attentions, and conversations about cats, where rather usual in the first days upon my arrival from business trips.

– I think something wrong with vanilla, I venture. Because she is now almost 7 months and does not look like a siamese at all.

– Because is from different father, said my wife so assertively that I burst into laughing…

– Why are you laughing. Jin,jin jin! (thai way to say true, very true!)

– Because that is not simply possible! I said so assertively too.

– About cats and dogs you are ignorante, don’t discuss with me about it.

In fact my wife had sometime in her family land more than 20 stray dogs she got from the streets and some cats. Cats have mated so match that at some point she had more than 25 cats! God, it was like a zoo when entering the premises. But this, I thought, did not gave her the right to claim more knowledge about these animals and so we went on discussing about this for some kilometres. I believed she was wrong but she insisted I was ignorant on this matter and challenged me to look on the internet… I kept silently believing she was completely wrong and that knowledge was a fruit of popular saying related to some twisted meaning.

When we arrived at our flat in Blue Lagoon and Sheraton Resort the story was already over and we got busy to prepare the house for our two weeks holidays. Two days later, while playing with Vanilla, I realised I forgot to look into the cat’s fertilisation. I sat in the dining table, logged in and surfed… S…! It is true!  She is completely right! I was frustrated and yet humiliated with myself for being so ignorante about something that was also part of my life when I was kid because I also grew-up with dogs and cats, but never heard of such a thing, not even in familiarly joking!

“…Female felines do not release eggs from their ovaries until stimulated by the mating process. This is called induced ovulation and usually occurs from 20 to 50 hours after mating. Miss Kitty is likely to breed several times, and with different tom cats, before her body tells her ovulation has begun. This is why her kittens can have different dads — there can be sperm from several different males in her reproductive tract as the eggs are fertilised…

…The term for two or more eggs from the same heat cycle being fertilized by different sets of sperm is called superfecundation. It is not unique to cats, but is also common in dogs. Although not likely, it is theoretically possible for every single member of a litter to have a different father. Though extremely rare, it is even possible in human twins!” (http://pets.thenest.com/can-cats-litter-two-different-fathers-8341.html)

My wife was coming out from the duche when she noticed a blushing face on me. What happened? Did Vanilla do something wrong? No, I nodded, I’m reading about the feline’s fertilisation and…

– I told you! Vanilla’s father is just a stray cat from the hospital neighbouring and the 3 other brothers are all from different fathers because all have different colours stripes.

– I am totally embarrassed! I said. I had no idea this fertilisation process was possible in any creation!

She called Kung.

– Kung? Have you castrated your cat?

– …..!

– You better do it because the cat you have is far from being naif and even less an angel! The four kids she had are all from different tom cats! And you never know when she will see them, or vice-versa, because she is smarter than you think…

– …. ?!….

– Ok, tomorrow you do it!

……

Well, the lesson is that what seems too obvious hides many times the most intriguing but beautiful mystery we haven’t come across.

//jb.24january2015