I always had an inkling I would be a crazy cat lady. Dad predicted from an early age (mine, not his) that I would resemble my grandmother, something which I fought vehemently and yet find more and more applicable with the passing years. Nan stopped at every animal she encountered during her walks around town, making cute noises, and she always had some treats in her pockets for them. It was a source of embarrassment for me when I was young and foolish, but now I am just like that (well, I haven’t arrived at the treats yet, but I am sure I will get there eventually). It’s got to the point that some of my friends point and laugh whenever we watch that Black Books episode when Fran is labelled as “aunt Millicent, who lives in the crooked house with 20 purple cats, and she has sex with them all”.
I defiantly started collecting cows, but the truth is, I bloody adore cats. I don’t mind dogs but cannot abide the sucking up and emotional dependence. Cats are criticised to be fickle and “fuck you” , that they own their masters, but that’s what I like about them. They get what they want and then they go their own way. I wish I was more like that.
Anyways, the splendid year I lived with Kate, I also lived with two cats – a treat in the pet-unfriendly renting market of the UK. Dolby and Theta are old and wonky, but amazing, both in their own ways. They have mannerisms and personalities and cracked me up many a time... especially Theta, the old blind man with a penchant for getting spanked , sitting in impossible spots, nosing and nudging his way under duvets where he would sit purring like a 1920s car motor, and sporting splendid Batman ears and ballet feet. We always imagined him as a bowler-behatted English gentleman who has a sex dungeon and wears fishnets and gimp masks on Saturday nights.
Sometimes I just sit and observe them. And this is what happened one sunny summer afternoon in the garden, something so defining and Theta-esque, I had to write it down.
Theta blindly shuffled around the flowers that grew by the garden path, nosed them, investigated closely, while I watched, with the usual affection and amusement for his wonky antics. He looked like something out of an old ladies’ fantasy, flower-sniffing kittens and the like, the type you see reproduced on cheesy G&Ts greeting cards and who are only ever cute in real life.
Finally he gingerly, ever so carefully, set a paw in the midst of the feathery bush of blossoms that grew by the path, then the other, then finally the last two, blinking, until he stuck out of that floral lump like a feline, short-sighted garden gnome, pretty as a picture. He looked like he was trying to play the trump card in his and Dolby’s never-ceasing battle for my affections. And it nearly worked.
“Awwww Theta, you darling...” I managed to say - but then he lowered his behind ever so slightly and stuck out his tail. And when his ears pulled back into Batman formation and he squinted concentrated into the dusky distance, I knew what was coming. Shattering my granny fantasies, he unceremoniously dropped a huge dump into the virginal blossom crown. I could almost hear them scream like prissy maidens.
With little regard for this violation, he hopped back onto the garden path, blindly located the epicentre of his business and then, in a vain effort which was barely more than a symbolic gesture, he ruffled the flowers around it a little to cover up the deed and then scampered off.
I love that cat. Have I mentioned that?