Nhọ and Tẹt

Caught in my made up and self-declared ‘tumultuous’ daily existence, I tried to distance myself a bit from thinking too much and writing in the past week. But realizing that I can only survive without writing and blogging for five days, at most, I thought of having a line up of things to write about so that when finally I find enough time to write the things on my mind down, they’d come handy.

So a week ago I asked my Vietnamese friend, Chi Le, to send me pictures of her cats. In her email she promised to give me as pet her newest cat she named Nhọ, meaning ‘dirty’ in Tieng Viet, if I one day decide to live permanently in Hanoi.  Nhọ is a stray cat in the neighborhood whom she and her mom adopted.

And to make sure she’ll remain true to her words I’ll use this post and that email she sent me to remind her someday that she made this promise, that is, if I eventually decide the Vietnam is the place for me.

Nhọ looks like Puss ‘n Boots in Shrek. And who wouldn’t fall for a cat as cute as this cat? And besides, this cat does what chi Le’s other cat should have been doing but failed to do: ridding the house of mice.

Meet Tẹt:

Tẹt, her only cat that time when I was still staying in their house, was by default my favorite. This aging fat cat has grown too old, too fat and spoiled by my friend and her mother, Co Doanh, that it has completely abandoned its responsibility of catching little mice in the house. According to Chi Le, Tet has come to feel more superior now because of seniority, and he’s more than willing to show Nho who’s boss in the house.

Tet used to stay in my bedroom located just beside the kitchen except for times when my friend would carry the lazy cat upstairs. In the cold Hanoian winter of 2009 he stayed most of the nights with me, together with the big but docile dog, Gau. Tet always made it a point to sharpen his vestigial claws at midnight and gave out those scary wails to signal he’s in heat and ready for romancing (he’s a castrated cat, by the way). Still, I tolerated him.

This gave me enough confidence that if bad comes to worse and worse comes to worst, he’ll give up her old mistresses for my warm embrace. But I was wrong. No matter how much I goaded this black cat to take my side and come with me to the Philippines, he didn’t bother to consider my proposal and even thought of it as absurd by giving me that tired yawn and proud grin. He, of course, chose to live a comfortable, shielded, and lazy life in my friend’s house until this day.

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4 thoughts on “Nhọ and Tẹt”

  1. Haha, now that you mentioned it, it is true that Nho somehow looks like the cat in Shrek, but I still think the one in Shrek is much more adorable 😛 Your post is great, just a small edition: Nho is the bossy one that chases Tet around, not vice versa. You see, he is young and energetic and thick-faced and all, so he shows off his strength whenever I don’t have an eye on them. And they managed to drop several things to the floor while chasing each other, so we’ve decided to take Tet upstairs at night to avoid more troubles. But both of them are stick to their owners, and strangely enough, you can call them by name and they will both run to you, just as dogs do. It’s getting hot now, so I have to bathe them once a week, and I’ve become an expert in bathing cats without getting any scratches ^^’

  2. Wow. More cats. With green eyes, how cute, and the top one a redhead (or should that be marmelade). The bottom cat has very unusual coloration round his eyes, in the photo it almost looks like he’s wearing a black mask. I’d say he had an interesting history prior to his retirement into domestic bliss. Maybe he still ventures out for a bit of fun occasionally.

    1. yeah, according to my friend he used to be involved in major cat fights whose stake is the prettiest cat in the neighborhood and his pride of course.

      tet had seen better days. he’s gone past his years as the most eligible bachelor cat around the street.

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