Today we have Faye Kename here to tell us about a rather special cat. Faye claims to be two people, one of which is not a carrot, the other is J Cassidy. They’re both the same person. It’s not a little confusing.
Faye donated a short story to our latest anthology, Paws and Claws. It also contains a cat.
She was never mine
The first day I moved into my house, we started by unpacking boxes in the kitchen. It was a hot day and the air inside was stale so we opened the back door and got to work, when a tiny little tabby cat wanders in like she owns the place and starts meowing at us. The neighbour told us that she used to live in the house, that when the people before us moved out they left her behind. As far as she was concerned, she did own the place. I let her come and go after that, thinking that she was just missing her old owners. I’d come home from work and she’d be waiting on the fence. She always knew what time I’d be back. I’d unlock the door and she’d shoot in between my legs as if afraid she’d get shut out, start wolfing down the food I put down for her. I didn’t tell her owners I was buying her food, I didn’t want them to think I was stepping on their toes, but she was just so cute and always ate the whole bowl in one go, as fast as possible. After that she’d come and sit on my lap while I worked – alright, procrastinated – and sleep for a couple hours. I didn’t mind not being able to get up.
She’d chase her tail. I thought she was playful at first but soon it became apparent that she just didn’t like her tail. There wasn’t any problem with it that I could see, but she’d attack it with teeth and claws, hiss and spit at it. It was best to leave her to it when she got going, else your hands would get caught in the fight. She wouldn’t mean anything by it, she wasn’t out to hurt anyone, it’s just that she didn’t notice if something was in the way when her claws were out and she was trying to catch it.
Unless it was cold, she always meowed at the back door at the same time every day. That’s when her owners were home from work and could let her back in. Sometimes she’d be doing whatever cats do all day and left it too late to be let in, so she’d come to my door and in her own vocal way ask if she could sleep over. It wasn’t often, she preferred being at home, but sometimes. She wasn’t interested in toys. She wasn’t one for playing at all really. She just liked to sit and purr, loved cuddles but hated being picked up. She was confident, definitely Queen Bee, and very protective of her territory which included my back garden along with her own.
One day I came home and she wasn’t there. It wasn’t unusual. She came and went as she saw fit. After a couple weeks without seeing her I got a bit worried about her and made a note to ask her owners how she was. A week later the other half spoke to them, which is when we found out their cat wasn’t their cat after all.
She was a stray.
They let her in at night so she had somewhere warm to sleep, but they couldn’t afford to keep her full time. They thought we knew she was homeless, we thought they took her in after being abandoned. They assumed if we’d wanted to house her we would have.
They ended up calling the RSPCA to collect her after they let her in one night and saw she’d broken her tail. She didn’t need housing, not with everyone looking after her between us, never mind how well she looked after herself, but she did need attention for her tail and with no single owner, who would have put up the money for a vet?
I went up to the local shelter to see if I could take her home. It was quite unfortunate that I couldn’t because of her tail. Without knowing how it was broken, they couldn’t let her return to the area in case it was a person who harmed her, who would try again. Makes sense I suppose, but that didn’t make it any better. Her tail was amputated rather than fixed, given how much she hated it. She was a lot happier without it so it’s no bad thing. It didn’t take long for her to be adopted and I like to think she’s gone somewhere where she can swan about as Queen Bee.
There’s no moral to the story at all. She was just a cat that was never mine, that I wish was still here.