Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Farewell CatMan

A Tribute to a Beloved Moggy 

When I think of J, I have the impression of her always having had cats around. Thinking a little deeper about this, I realise that this impression is false. J had cats when she was growing up, before I knew her (I'm tempted to say before I was born, but she'll kill me). I remember fondly the stories of her cat that followed her to school that she used to shoo away with manic limb waving, which almost never worked. The fact that her neighbours couldn't see the cat she was waving at behind the short garden walls of the houses in her area only added to her general aura of weirdness for them. It's about as perfect and all encompassing characterisation of her as I can imagine. 

When I first met her and even when we first started being friends, she didn't have any cats. It wasn't until life moved on a little, as its wont to do, and she lived in a different flat that she got cats. That was many years and several moves ago now and the last of her furry feline companions had to say goodbye recently. That over there is Cat, or Mr. Cat, CatMan or  CatManDoo. That last name was given to him by Husband, whom all animals adore, but CatMan especially loved.

He was the fluffiest, handsomest and sweetest cat that we had ever had the pleasure to meet and we were both very sad when the vets could no longer treat his illness. I'm mostly happy that the last time we saw CatMan he was comfortable, not in any pain and quite clearly please to see us. There he is sitting on top of Husband and purring like mad. It was taken just before Christmas, and you can just about see J's Christmas tree made out of books in the background. That night Cat sat on top of either me or Husband the whole time. When we were almost ready to leave, he came and sat on my feet. We stayed for another cup of tea after that. 

CatMan was, like J's other cats Xiao and Sabby (short for Xiaolin and Black Sabbath), adopted. While Xiac and Sabby came from the shelter, CatMan was a friend's Cat who went to live with various different Aunties when his Mum moved Down Under. J was one of the Aunties, and if you ask me she was the best one. I think CatMan would have agreed. 
Cat drinking out of 'his' bidet.

J is now no longer the cazy, witchy cat lady that the story of her showed, and I don't know how she's feeling about having said goodbye to CatMan. It's been quite some time since we said goodbye to a beloved pet in the Took household, and living in a small, second floor flat with a(n admittedly lovely) shared garden means that our two dogs are a Westie called Bella living with the Dogs Trust and a Golden Lab called Dotty training with the Guide Dogs. They have decided not to get another cat, and that's something that I think I can understand. However, something tells me that while they might not be looking for a new cat, one might just find her.
There's something cemented in my mind between J getting her own flat, that place where we spent countless hours drinking tea and having the most meandering, disparate and wonderful conversations, and the cats being there as much part of the furniture as I was. And I was very much part of the furniture, sometimes sleeping over without so much as a toothbrush or clean underwear. After a while I stopped going up to J's without a spare pair of clean pants in my bag, 'just in case'. Her home is somewhere that people want to be. It's a happy, warm, comfortable environment where you can take part in what's going on, or just sit and chill. After this blog by Amanda Palmer on homelesness, I'm much more acutley aware of what it is to feel at home somewhere, and I'm glad that for his life CatMan was part of my home, and that we were part of his.

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