It would be fair to say that ‘the cat’ is a complicated creature. And a pain in the arse. She’s had a few scrapes in her time. She once reacted to me coming up the stairs by jumping face first straight into a closed door, which I thought was a reaction too far and not a little bit insulting. On the other hand she was all for calling Catline and having me arrested. If you’re a regular follower you’ll know that she was staring at another door last year. That’s right, deaths door. She was hobbling around like an asthmatic cripple with a Baileys hangover and in the end spent a night in the vets, dripped up to the whiskers on the feline version of life support. Since then her journey has been patchy at best but at least she has faced the slings and arrows with her customary foul temper, mocking sneer and dismissive ingratitude. What a trooper.
In the last 6 weeks things have really hit the fan. She has become a little Miss Haversham; opting to stay indoors, curtains drawn, claws growing into talons and food gently rotting in the bowl as she stares wistfully into the beyond. What she’s staring at is beyond me as she’s made it quite clear she going very blind, evidence including walking into stuff and standing right next to you without realising you’re there. Which is spooky. Her back legs are giving up on her to the extent that she’s started slipping off the sofa in a most unladylike fashion. Such is the level of her kidney condition that she gets through more water than a post-coital horse. The house is littered with bowls and cups and glasses all specifically placed to ensure she has a continual supply of H2O. The unquenchable lap-lapping at her bedroom reservoir even becomes therapeutic at 3 in the morning.
Being a newly fully indoor cat creates it’s own particular problems. We probably spent a week in denial, a week of sniffing cat piss on the carpet upstairs, a week shushing her on as she defiantly hunched out a series of nostril melting bowel breakers. After that we got the litter tray going but even there she has to be awkward, holding it in, waiting for a fresh tray before unleashing something that could make a sewage works manager fret. Such a lady, and all this with the appetite of a shrew. Truly biology in action. She’s also showing signs of cat dementia, though after years of hissing and scratching it’s really very hard to work out when that actually started.
Anyway this is all just pointing towards yesterdays chapter. She vanished. Having spent roughly 8 seconds outdoors in the last 6 weeks she decided to walk out and not come back. ‘The wife’ knew something was wrong pretty sharpish and went to work with a heavy heart and as the day dragged on the fluffy one still remained elusive. We discussed the possibilities as we plodded the streets looking for signs. Had she been demolished by a bastard fox? Had she fallen down a hole and been too weak and feeble to clamber out? Had some clumsy dick locked her in a garage or shed? Or had she done a Captain Oates and popped out for quite some time, curled under a bush and let her maker meet her half way? Whichever, ‘the wife’ wanted some closure, and preferably a body. We hastily printed some flyers – a photo of a much healthier version of ‘the cat’ and a pleading message – posted them to our neighbours and then settled in to accept the inevitable.
You’ve not met ‘the cat’ so you won’t appreciate what an awkward thing she is. When considering the inevitable we must always consider that she has a part to play in it. And so, lo, praise be, 5 minutes later came a squeak from the back door and there she was, in all her crazy glory. No explanation, no apology, no regret, no kidding. The prodigal cat had returned, her exploits forever locked away inside her fluffy little head. We were both very pleased to see her but why does she have to make things so difficult? I’m already getting annoyed with her again, especially since I had to be Support Husband #1 at the vet drop-in clinic this morning, where I also had to endure listening to a lame pillow of crap stories about other people’s crappy little pets and the ‘things they do’.
I have no interest whatsoever in other people’s crappy little pets (except Daisy and my sister’s animal gang). If someone else’s cat or dog came into my house and took a dump I’d crossbow the little bugger. You see those first 3 paragraphs may look like a cry for help, a list of moans, but in actual fact ‘the cat’ sits on a throne in my book. She is the only animal in the entire world that I am prepared to clean up after and that really is something. She is a proper old mess these days and like it or not she won’t live forever, or even a little bit of forever. She is undoubtedly a cat legend but it feels like yesterday she used up another life. Which, if my maths is right, means she still has 7 left. Lucky 7. ‘The cat’ is not dead. Long live ‘the cat’!
G B Hewitt. 18.2.2017