Up on Hazard Cat now. And you thought I just wrote about psychopaths – pah!
I’m updating this post because, actually, the story is pretty much fact rather than fiction. I have kept cats for many years and once had 13 Persians, part Persians, and odd mogs at the same time. Many were related as I bred Persians – at least that was the idea, although Eric the Ever Ready, a beat up wonky eared tom who camped outside my house, had other ideas. Of all of those, the only two who showed any real bond was a mother and daughter who were inseparable and, when the daughter died following a series of seizures, Cassie looked for her on their favourite chair night after night for months. She never sat on that chair again.
Monty and Muppet were not related. Monty is a double pedigree chinchilla/devon rex cross with elegance running through his bones. He struts and poses, patrols his territory; and beats into submission any other male cat he sees. So dominant, in fact that his brother left home and found himself another family down the road where he still lives, perfectly happily, and doted upon in his one-cat household.
Muppet was a stray or an abandoned victim. Found by a neighbour in the bushes, she was broken and paralysed, skinny and lost. Gradually, movement in her hind limbs returned but the tail, hanging limply, was set for amputation and only avoided this due to bits of it dropping off on the morning of each scheduled appointment for surgery. She was left with a palm tree plume that she held stiffly in the air and with which she swore eloquently at any slight admonition.
She and Monty became best mates. So unlikely a pairing was hard to imagine. Monty, master of his universe and holding the rest in fearful submission; Muppet, a skinny pixie who went on to become a two-cat-cat in a one-cat-pack. They crammed themselves into boxes and baskets that really only held one. He came to her rescue when she got into occasional spats. They groomed each other, purred, and held each other in platonic embraces.
When she became ill, Monty really did not know what to do. Perhaps she smelled different; I’m not one for anthropomorphism so I don’t believe he ‘knew’. Whatever the reason, he kept his distance as she went slowly down hill and was pretty much absent during the day or so before she died. When she had gone though, he howled and howled, and searched and searched. He had never sat on my lap but now he came up, stood on my chest and howled into my face. I was supposed to put it right. I should find her and bring her back. It was utterly heart breaking.
A year or so on, he has recovered, although at almost 16, he is an old boy and thinner. The stress of losing Muppet may have accelerated that. He sits with me much more but I feel as though I am second best. Not quite up to scratch, but good enough. Latterly, one of my other cats, a pretty little lass called Chaka who has always been rather insular and flighty, has persuaded him to be her best friend and now occupies the space on the sofa that Muppet once had. She is tiny. He has accepted her. But she isn’t Muppet and I think he knows that.
‘Glorious Eyes’ came out of that episode and is a bit of a proxy catharsis for a cat who can’t know what that is. Animals are extraordinary if you can only stand and watch.