I was in this evening on my own, a podcast widower, with my wife out drinking and solving crime with her friends (or so she claims) and had been thinking about playing myself at snooker, but was probably thinking I wouldn’t.
The doorbell rang, which is unusual at this time and I’d already undone my belt for the evening, so it was most inconvenient. But I answered to find my neighbour with her dog. “Do you have a white cat?” she asked.
“Yes, we do,” I replied.
“I’m really sorry to tell you this, but I think it’s been run over. It’s lying in the road by your back gate,” (our back gate is on the main road in the village)
“Oh my God,” I said, “Is he dead?”
“I don’t know,” she said, “It’s just lying there. I’m sorry, but I thought you had to know.”
Now I was very upset by this news. You may remember us getting Liono and Smithers from Battersea Cats Home six and a half year ago
. We lost Liono in 2016 due to health issues which came from her being the product of unscrupulous interbreeding. Smithers was always hardier, but with his own problems as he’s deaf and pretty stupid. In London we didn’t really let him out of the house as we were pretty sure he’d die within minutes, but we have a cat flap here and an enclosed garden and though it’s not impossible for him to get out, it’s only happened once before.
I headed to the back of the house with my heart beating. Smithers has been an annoying cat. His meow was always much too loud and not very meow-like and he often wakes me up in the middle of the night and he scratches up the furniture and carpet. He’s a dick and I have often joked about wishing he’d died and not Liono and even voided the desire that he’d get run over. I hadn’t met it, but had my Henry II-like “Who will rid me of this annoying cat?” Been inadvertently taken as genuine by some foolish knight with a car.
And I realised on the walk how I hadn’t meant it. I was feeling sick and dizzy and thinking about how I’d break this news to my wife, who loves this dumb cat and my kids, who don’t really understand death.
I was also a bit worried that I was going to be greeted with a living but badly injured cat. How would I cope with that? I couldn’t leave the house as the kids were asleep upstairs and I couldn’t face seeing my pet in pain. Was I hoping he was dead? If he was nearly dead my only option might be to put him out of his misery. Oh God, this was a terrible end to a day.
I opened the back door and I could see a little still white paw sticking through the gap under the gate. Oh no, there was no doubt now. My little crazy cat was dead. I didn’t want this, but I had to be a man and deal with it.
I opened the gate, wondering how bad it would be and there was Smithers on the floor, covered in dirt and leaves. Why had this happened?
I didn’t have time to answer as the cat leapt to his feet and came through the gate.
What? He had survived. Maybe he was badly injured, but no. Aside from being covered in detritus he was OK. The neighbour was passing with her dog and delighted to see that the cat was fine, though maybe mildly embarrassed that she’d caused me 25 seconds of trauma.
“I guess he tried to jump over the gate and lost his footing,” I surmised. It was much too high for him and he’s always falling off stuff.
Had he knocked himself out? Or had he just tried to style out his fall and pretend that’s what he meant to do and now he was having a sleep. It didn’t matter. He was a bit shaken up and confused, but then when isn’t he?
I had to have him taken away from me in my imagination to let me know how much I loved him. And though I feel my cat might have pranked me, what an incredible relief it was to not have to hit him over the head with a brick.
I gave him a cuddle instead and his best friend Wolfie attempted to lick him clean.
That's cat's a prick. I wish he was dead for doing this to me.