Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cool as Cats


Cats have always been there for me. We had cats when I was a boy: Fag, Huple and later, Rocky. Fag and Huple died; they always seemed old to me anyway. Fag only had one eye and Huple was shy, until Fag died, then she was over-affectionate. Rocky was my favourite. She died a few days before I left home for college. It seemed appropriate somehow – I don't know if I could have left home with her still there, without me.

Then there were the neighbours cats who have been and gone; 2p (a tabby), Toto (a vicious grey cat who used to attack me whenever I stroked her tail), Chloe, Polly and Sukie. My parents other neighbour's cat, Leo (though we called him Socks on account of his white socks), is still around. He's never seemed to have aged. I'm sure I've known him for like twenty years. We used to be close but I rarely see him nowadays. Still, it's always good to catch up with him when I visit my parents.

In Brighton I lived on my own in a damp flat behind a shop; there was a black cat who came to visit me every day. When Taryn and I were lost in the Egyptian Sahara desert, a tiny, skinny cat (pictured above) helped us find the way back to town. When we got back to the cat's home (basically a hut) we met its owner, who proceeded to kick the poor thing around. We tried explaining how it had just saved our lives, and to treat it kindly but he didn't understand what we were talking about. Let it be known: ancient Egyptians may have treated cats as sacred, but I don't think it applies to modern Arabic Egyptians. And now there's Orlando, the handsome ginger cat next door in our Wiltshire home. He's a bit standoffish, but it's good to have some distance; you don't always want to get too close. He's getting on a bit now, but in his prime he caught mice, rats, birds and even a bat once.

According to statistics, there's meant to be more cats than dogs in the UK, but I don't see them around as much as I used to, yet dogs seem to be everywhere. Maybe they're just louder and more aggressive.

3 comments :

Melanie said...

I'll have you know Orlando is nowhere near past his prime - have you not seen the feathers currently littering our lawn? Have you forgotten the water rail he hunted down and dispatched last summer? Or the rat he crippled, just for fun? He's as fierce as they come, he is. He's also a mere 10 - he's got years in him yet. You leave Orlando alone...

Bobby said...

Which was the cat with extra toes from next door? R

Barnaby Attwell said...

I forgot all about the extra toes! That was Socks.