Alright, so the roof isn't made of tin. But the cat was begging for food, though.
This picture shows the ladder that leads to the terrace, and the lines that run across it are clothes lines. This 40 sq. ft. area is not covered, which makes for an ideal hang-to-dry place in the household; what better way to utilize the scorching Chennai sun. The little overhang (the allegedly "tin roof") that the cat is on is there to prevent heavy rain, especially the kind that comes in sideways, assisted by the howling winds. And that brings me to what the cat is doing here.
Our feline visitor isn't here to assist with the laundry, as I have established earlier. What she is here for is one of two things, preferably both: some milk and/or some Pedigree dog pellets. For whatever reason, my uncle decided to try feeding the cat some dog food, and neither the cat nor my uncle have looked back since.
This arrangement was established more than a year ago. However, since then, the cat has given birth to several kittens, and one of these kittens has occupied the area in front of the house where its mother used to receive her daily 'canine' sustenance, so to speak. This has forced the mother cat to seek alternate routes to the food source.
Now, most animals with whom we have this sort of 'feeding' arrangement will announce their arrival with loud cries, indicating fulfilment of their end of the bargain by simply arriving on time. In fact, it is the animal that sets the schedule; timing so impeccable you can set your watch by it. This cat, the mother, is no different. However, she can be demanding, switching from cute-and-cuddly purring to a swift but brief show of aggression, instantaneously. I speak from experience, having received a sharp bite when I mistook the show of affection for 'unconditional love'.
But, there she is, trying to sneak a peek into the kitchen, indicating agreement at the items on the menu to be presented to her by meowing in appreciation...or at least that's what I think. Am I willing to find out by offering her meal to her? No, thank you.
Now, there is a deliberate anthropomorphic reference to the cat, I know, but this is the sort of relationship we share with these stray city dwellers. In fact, it has been my experience that most people in India treat their pets as regular, biped members of the family, talking to them in full sentences instead of short commands like "sit" or "roll over". And with regard to that second one, I have yet to see a pet dog in India 'roll over'. Just thought I'd mention the fact that I'm fully aware of my tendency to refer to animals as 'he / she' rather than 'it'.