Something Is Here To Stay

In 2020, my brother in Singapore was moving to Beijing for a work assignment. When he asked me to take care of his cat for a few weeks, I gladly agreed. Animal transportation across countries was a complex task when Covid hit, and making a stop in Hong Kong seemed to be the only viable solution.

The worsened situation of the pandemic continued to put international travel to a halt, and a few weeks of temporary stay turned into a few years. Tuco, my brother’s four-year-old Maine Coon cat, has already spent a fourth of his life living with me in this ‘transitory home’. 

While everyone would assume domesticated cats were gentle, active and independent, Tucos’s behaviour drew no similarities to those preconceptions when he was first brought to us. Vicious, assertive and self-centred, he displayed traits that most cat-owners would not call familiar. I regretted my decision every time I looked at the wounds and scratches on my arms. Getting him to fit in was a struggle.

Until one morning when I opened my bedroom door, I saw a big, white mouse sitting sluggishly on the floor, looking nibbled and battered. Tuco brought me his favourite toy to show his love, and I am still receiving this gift every day.

‘Something Is Here To Stay’ is a family album journaling Tuco’s time with us and a record of who he is. It is about life’s unexpectedness and appreciating what we have at present. It is about being thankful for diversities, even though they do not conform to our standard of ideology.

The pandemic, challenging political dynamics and economic situations have made life exceptionally pessimistic in the past few years, but the unintentional stay of Tuco brought us an unexpected reward of companionship that we treasure dearly. When Tuco eventually leaves us, these images will be all we have left to relish. The only way to nourish these precious moments is to appreciate and savour the present for as long as it lasts.