Cat never had careers advice, but it didn’t take a professional to see he had people skills in abundance. Had he been human, Alex Polizzi would have snapped him up for a front of house role in one of her smarter hotels, meeting and greeting the guests. I often thought he would have loved living in a children’s or old people’s home and excelled in the role, a thought that was confirmed in the last weeks of his life when we had an extended stay at the scheme where Mother lived.
He kept me waiting at the door when he saw old acquaintances coming along the street, or spied someone he liked the look of. He knew every old lady with a shopping trolley, every mother and toddler. They were his key street audience, but it also included everyone else from lorry drivers to school children.
He was a Feline Ambassador. Chats with his admirers led to two cats being rehomed from the charity that runs alongside the cattery where he spent my holidays. He widened my social circle to include neighbours from the end of the Square whom he had befriended.
At the flats, he was the Resident Cat. It was his garden. He would make a point of welcoming people into it. He joined in with barbecues, sat with neighbours enjoying a summer beer or reading the paper, watched patiently when we deadheaded roses. One of my neighbours enjoys sunbathing. She would spend afternoons with Cat at her side, or underneath the sun lounger when the sun became too hot for him.
The two small boys, brothers, would hunt him, stalking him from one end of the garden to the other with makeshift bos and arrows. I’d yell at them from the window. If Cat was outside when they came in the garden he would make himself scarce, and hurry up to me when I went to rescue him. But as the boys grew up, the relationship changed, and far from running from them, Cat would walk to greet them, standing up on his hindlegs to but them, showing obvious and unexpected pleasure in their company.
Regular visitors were met as they opened their car doors, with some getting the ecstatic response reserved for his special friends, though they did not know me, and never came to my flat. His love of people was his defining characteristic.
One of his best summers, when he was still in single figures, was when a neighbour’s sister and brother-in-law came to stay from Australia. They bought a camper van and the brother-in-law was doing it up for a trip around Europe. Cat became his work partner, inspecting each job, checking out the van and testing it for comfort. I’d come home to find both boys busy; brother-in-law working, Cat supervising. When they put the tent up on the grass, Cat was full of approval. He clearly thought it was for him.
I think he’d have liked MySpace for its name, as he firmly believed every space he walked into was his, and every person in that space a potential admirer. On Facebook, which coincidentally was Not Cat’s name when I adopted him, he’d have been one of those members with thousands of friends. Networking came naturally to him.
It was an education, or maybe I mean a masterclass, watching him assess a potential contact then set about introducing himself. I learned to wait patiently in the background as he smooched and purred, accepting, as his due, attention and affection from people who had been, moments before, total strangers.
What an adorable photo of a most special boy in your life…..Cat sounds like a joy from beginning to end and not just for you but all who knew him. I think cats have quite an interesting way about them as far as befriending and including people in their lives. I have a feeling Cat and Sam would have been “best buds” had they known each other…..but then I have a feeling that Cat hardly ever met a soul he didn’t like. What a lovely tribute piece this was to read…..recollections of a most extraordinary guy.
Cat would have loved you, but you’re a human!
He hated other cats; really couldn’t see why they should exist. He didn’t want to share the people I reckon. Not Cat is much more open to feline friends.
Cat thought a day without a fight with another cat was a day wasted. Not the Mahatma Gandhi of the feline world!
He sounds like he was a larger than life character – is Not Cat going to shape up in the same way do you think?
Just after posting, I gave into Not Cat’s demands to go out. In the street, he completely ignored an elderly lady with a shopping trolley who was saying puss puss puss to him. Cat would have gone into overdrive. Anyway, she ended up talking to me. She’s eight-eight and this isn’t her usual route home from the shops, so I got her recent history and all about her last dog and cat.
No Cat s not unfriendly, but he doesn’t love people like Cat did. I am the exception f course!
He’d have had you sussed in a moment Badger! 🙂
Isobel, what a sweet read this morning. I would have loved to have met Cat. Z hated other cats, dogs too and defended her territory, well, let it be known what was hers from the inside 🙂 She didn’t really warm up to other people and I was her person. You have brought back memories for me this morning. Such a beautiful picture of Cat.
He converted me to cats, and so many people would say, ” I don’t usually like cats, but he’s an exception.”
I was, as I have said before, extremely lucky that he adopted me!
A right schmoozer, then Isobel. 🙂 Looks, personality. Cat had everything.
Some, like Cat, have such charm that you can’t fail to like them.
We have a talking tabby and white cat near here that jumps off his usual place on a garden wall to walk alongside you mewing in a conversational way as he accompanies you along the path through his patch. When he reaches his boundary, he sits and watches you continue on your way. Happens every time.
Everything except toned tummy muscles!
He had a real presence, and was a force to be reckoned with. Fortunately he had his soft side too, otherwise it would have been like living with Napoleon.
What a pleasure reading your loving account of Cat’s human befriending highlights!