Friday, August 17, 2007

A tale of a cat

July 2001: I have a mouse loose in the house (Please say this in a Scottish accent. It's funnier). I decided to head off to the Peninsula Animal Shelter and find me a nice fat tabby I could name Agatha (Aggie for short). They had kittens, toms (useless at mousing) and more besides. Then saw her. A sleek, petite black cat. "Stick your hand in there and she'll bite it off" was my ex's sage advice. I stuck my hand in the cage, she came forward, leaned in...and started rubbing against me. Love at first sight. Pagan was mine. My dad called her "Satan" for the first month. A perfect match.

Over the next year at my first place she settled in, sucked up to the neighbours, the usual stuff. Then one day, some sadist on a motorbike decided to kick her as he rode by. I came home from work to find a note from a neighbour telling me what had happened: the lady across the road had seen it, but she didn't have a car, so she went to my next door neighbours and got them to drive Pagan to the vet. That was how I found out how my cat spent her day - mornings, she wondered into my next door neighbour's sunroom and basked there, til in the afternoons she wondered across the road to lie on their back verandah for the afternoon sun. After dinner she headed off to the next door neighbour's garage to sit on her son's computer monitor while he worked. A hussy.

After a burglary we left that suburb and moved away. After we had been at the new place for a few weeks I took Pagan to the vet because she was suddenly getting quite fat. The vet's advice? "Go ask your neighbours to stop feeding her." So I walked up and down my new street pointing out the black cat didn't need feeding. Luckily I only needed to tell twenty-five houses. A con artist.

Pagan knew when I was upset. It was a gift. A few days after my fiance left me, I was sitting in the lounge, crying once again. She wandered into the room, jumped into my lap and purred for the first time. The first time in the three years I had owned her. I was so surprised I stopped crying. A friend.

She didn't mind me knitting. She used to sit on my lap and watch, waiting for her chance to attack. Not the yarn, never the yarn. But the ends of the needles fascinated her, and she'd gnaw on them any chance she could get. I spent a day watching "Pride and Prejudice" knitting the sleeves to my "Grecian Plait" jumper with her on my lap. When I finished I stood up Pagan jumped off my lap and wandered away, a fluffy cream cat shedding mohair strands as she walked. A comedian.

I went overseas for the first time over the Christmas of 2003. The person I missed most was Pagan. I ached to have her curled up next to me. When I arrived home (a week early) I sat and talked to my mum for a while then she had to answer the phone. I walked out, sat on the back doorstep, happy to be back. A small shadow on the back verandah stretched and yawned, then looked up at me. "Hey baby" was all I could say as she came languidly over and jumped in my lap. A lodestone.

Yesterday (16/08/07) was the third anniversary of her death. She was attacked by two dogs on Friday the 13th (oh, the irony for a black cat) and hospitalised with over 200 stitches. The first night, she was stoned out of her brain when I saw her. The second night she was sore, and angry and didn't want a bar of me. I started crying, leaning me head next to her, so upset that my precious baby was in so much pain. I felt her nose touching mine just as she started purring. She always knew when I was upset, and just how to fix it. My cat.

I miss her every day.

1 comment:

Lynne said...

Oh what a sad ending to the tale. One of our cats was savaged by a dog 20 years ago and I still have not forgotten (or forgiven). You need another cat.