On Cats

When I planned this post some weeks ago, I did so for several reasons: my posting-day falls on Hallowe’en, and cats are a traditional familiar for witches; cats beat dogs, paws down, claws out; and my parents were being adopted by a kitten of no more than four or five months old.

One of the hardest things about living in a flat, and renting, is not being able to have a cat of my own. Instead, I have to visit friends and family to borrow theirs.

I grew up with cats, most of whom adopted us rather than us adopting them, such is the way of farming communities. The early cats also received unimaginative names, based on their colouring – Ginger, Blackie, Tabby. My dad says they originally had a cat called Cat, so I suppose our names were an improvement on that. I imagine having three at once made it difficult to call all of them Cat.

The adoption by the kitten happened to coincide with a trip home, so we brought her inside: adoption complete. And proceeded to spend the weekend lavishing her with love and attention and kitten milk, because she was all skin and bone, barely the weight of a bag of sugar. So much so that our other cat Cosmos was reduced to playing up his limp to get his fair share.

Sadly, this story does not end happily, for the kitten arrived to us too late, and must have already been quite ill, for she died only a week after the adoption began. But she had a good last week, in the warm and dry, with plenty of food and loving attention.

So this is also an In Memorium for the kitten, whose name was Damson, fitting for the day of the year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest, or so the Celts believed, and the day before November, when the Church remembers those who have died. Cats included. Because they’re so much better than people.



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