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Mr Pussy takes the sun

September 15, 2009
by the gentle author

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I was always disparaging of people who doted over their pets, as if this apparent sentimentality were an indicator of some character flaw. That changed when I bought this cat, just a couple of weeks after the death of my father in the autumn of 2001. My mother was inconsolable, so I bought her a tiny black kitten in Mile End – no bigger than my hand –  took him on the train to Devon, arrived late at night and gave him into her care.

At that moment, she went from being a woman with a bereavement problem to a woman with a cat problem. Looking back on it, I can attribute Mr Pussy’s placid intelligent nature to those first impressionable months of his life with her. Time has passed, it is now already almost four years since she died, and this year Mr Pussy approaches eight years old himself. He has returned from Devon for good, to live out his days with me here in Spitalfields.

I understand now how pets become receptacles of memory and emotion, the reason why people can lavish such affection upon animals. Mr Pussy’s age is the time since I lost my father – as he has grown into maturity my father’s memory lives, while the cat’s personality reflects my mother’s own nature.  I hold him in trust for her, and in memory and love of them both.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Michelle permalink
    September 23, 2009

    This post is beautiful. What a wonderful and moving story. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Vicky permalink
    May 18, 2011

    My feelings are similar to those held by you eight years ago, about cats & dogs and pet loving folk. My partner and I live in a caravan in an old cider-apple orchard on a traditional farm in Devon. We liken it to living in a ‘hide’. From our window overlooking the orchard and an ancient hedgerow we watch the bird life in its every detail. We all live up close, the birds our neighbours. But one of the farm cats roams away from the barns, his designated territory where he’s employed to catch rats, and treats itself regularly to cat and mouse games with the birds, especially with newly fledged chicks. The dogs are no better, just as destructive, they kill for the fun. My problem is this, they’re not part of the food cycle, not food in the chain, just out for a game.

    But! I have experienced the other side also, kept cats and kittens, and your heartfelt piece reminds me what pleasure they bring and your expression of this here is quite touching .. and keeps me in my place.

  3. July 29, 2014

    We had two lovely cats Mozart and Haydn they were brother and sister. We had just lost the previous cat through diabetes and I was crying and missing him then I saw an advert saying “Musical kittens for sale”. It was advertised at the music school where my daughter was learning to play the cello at a young age. I said “Let’s go and have a look”. We all (four of us, hubby, daughter, son and me) went to this house and the house was an absolute mess. Piles of books all over the floor, boxes of all kinds, we waded through between boxes and books and there was a most gorgeous tiny tortoiseshell kitten washing herself in an old winged armchair. She was a sight to behold and the black and white cat was scared at seeing us ran and went behind a washing machine. I said we will have them both but the black and white one was stuck behind the washing machine, the owner and the son pulled the machine out and got the kitten out. On the table in one corner was a piece of paper saying Concert at “….. Playing Mozart and Haydn on ……” I named the two kittens Mozart and Haydn and they grew up with the kids with Haydn aged 12 and Mozart, the tortoiseshell aged 19 years. They were members of the family.

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