All dogs go to heaven, that’s just science. But cats are contrary buggers and hang around long after their nine lives are up.
My cat, Busby, was the scourge of squirrels. The menace of mice. The dispatcher of rats. Legend tells of the day a dozen foxes ran screaming from the bushes, being chased by a jet-black missile of fury.
I’m not saying he was maliciously evil. But we frequently saw squirrels without their tails, and rabbits without their heads. Occasionally we would find them with our bare feet.
This is a cat who got run over by a car and was rushed to a vet for an emergency cast, only to dash into the garden, and return a few minutes later without the cast as though nothing had happened.
One day, he sauntered through the cat flap with a face covered in blood and a torn ear. He never told us whose blood.
He died. As cats sometimes do. I was devastated. As humans sometimes are. But, strangely, he kept turning up.
It has been well over a decade since he gave his last miaow. And still, occasionally, I’ll walk down the stairs, spot him out of the corner of my eye, and think “Oh! There’s that daft cat.” Only to do a double-take and realise it was merely a pair of black shoes shaped like a cat ready to pounce.
I woke up the other night and, half asleep, saw him curled up at the bottom of the bed. He knows he’s not allowed there, so I reached down to gently move him, only to find I was pushing my own feet. Cats are tricksy like that.
Last week, I found a dead mouse in the loft. I didn’t step on it – luckily. Apparently Busby decided we weren’t feeding ourselves well in lockdown and needed some extra protein. Thanks, I guess…
I’m sure I heard Terry Pratchett talking about cats refusing the leave the mortal plane. But all I can find is this second-hand quote:
I know that when Paul McCartney finds himself in times of trouble, his ma pays him a visit. I’m lucky to have such a good cat watching out for me.
This is an ancient video of his powerful purr.