We were a dog family. Definitely. Never was a cat mentioned; indeed we didn’t really know anyone who gave a home to a cat. Then I went to University, following the Archaeologist and blow me if, when I returned after a couple of terms, there was this new resident. Misty. A jellicle cat if ever there was one.
She was small, affectionate on her terms and a huntress of no little skill. Variously she deposited inside the cat flap: pigeons, mice, shrews, one large brown field rat, a couple of rabbits and, much to Dad’s amazement, on one occasion, a stoat. She would often follow Dad down the garden, sit opposite where he was working and thoroughly clean and groom herself, as if the first date was about to arrive and squire her to a party. Then, silent, sleek she would disappear into the hedge for a couple of hours, touring the fields and hedgerows, before returning to the clickety-clack of our arthritic cat-flap and take her place on Dad’s lap.
Once, she left Dad a present of some choice rodent. Unfortunately for him it was in his wellington boot which he only discovered ten days later when the smell emanating from his footwear moved beyond the ripe and entered the realm of the rotten.
You had to love her, you really did. So when, aged thirty to the day I was handed a cardboard box with air holes in it and found the tiniest cutest kitten I was smitten. It’s nearly 30 years ago but since then at no stage have we been a cat free household and, well, I can’t image we will be again.
This week Charli Mills’ prompt from the Carrot Ranch is
July 6, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a cat. It can be a cute and adorable kitten or it can be mean old tom that swipes a claw at unsuspecting humans. Cats are prevalent in the mining country – mousers and companions. Some survive in luxury with cushions in a sunny window, while others fend off coyotes. What cat comes to mind and how does it spark a story?
Mary and Penny, like a lot of Brits, have been suffering for their devotion to Andy Murray’s attack on Wimbledon. But maybe Mabel, the cat, can help.
Mary stood by the door. ‘How’s he doing?’
‘Shh mum. He’s a set and a break down.’
‘Shall I go? Maybe I’m bad luck.’
‘That’s silly.’ Penny looked forlorn.
As Mary turned Mabel slunk into the room. She purred as she rubbed against Penny’s feet; then she jumped onto Penny’s lap. ‘Mabel. Go away… HE’S BROKEN BACK!’
Mary smiled; the cat settled while Penny absently stroked him.
Two hours later a scream brought Mary back. Penny, smiling, punched the air in delight as Mabel hopped down and left the room, her job done. As she passed Mary she winked.
If you want to follow Mary’s story please click here.
And to finish with one of Dad’s poems, this one about Misty
Our Misty is an English cat
Whose natural feline grace
Conceals inside a haughty pride
In her native English race.
Her sire sprang from New Forest Stock.
And her dam from a Midland shire,
And she was born on St. George’s morn
In the warmth of a Hampshire byre.
On her mother’s side, generations gone,
Cats more wild than tame
Saw Royalists yield on Naseby Field,
Cursing the Roundhead name.
And earlier yet her father’s kin,
Of the Wessex woodland race,
Watched an arrow fly, saw the Red King die,
And Tyrell fall from grace.
The law of the countryside she knows,
As a kitten the lesson was learned,
That to live and thrive, to stay alive,
Is a privilege hard earned.
She knows this land on warm summer nights,
She has hunted through the snow,
She has heard the trees, sing their symphonies
When the great south-westers blow.
And now, on this black November night,
I doze by my fireside warm,
While the windowpane is lashed by the rain
Of our first real Winter storm.
Down at my feet our Misty lies
Silent, she slumbers on,
What dreams are hers? Ears twitch, she stirs,
Stands, stretches – and is gone.