Full of the Joys

If Not Cat does not sleep soundly tonight I shall worry.
He has been on the go since lunchtime. I can see that if I want to enjoy his companion animal services in the warmer months, I may have to put a tent up in the garden. This is his first spring with me.

Playing With the Sensor

Unbelievably, it is nearly a year since Cat died. A year since Mother hovered between life and death, and, as I now know, the beginning of her move into the nursing home.
Not Cat has eased some of the pain of Cat’s death. He, like Cat, has unknowingly provided support through some of the darker days of Mother’s decline. He has given us pleasure, and somehow, hope.

So this time last year, I had a feisty but ageing Cat, an elder statesman of the feline world, expecting respect as his due; basking in the attention of the carers at Mother’s scheme. I am still so glad he had those twelve days there. He had a rare old time, and I can’t help but smile thinking about him. If ever a cat was born to command, it was Cat.

This year, I have the ginger ninja. He is certainly more malleable than Cat, and I have less of a struggle to assert my authority, but he is as headstrong and reckless as any adolescent. Cat was reaching the pipe and slippers stage; happy to sleep more, unable to jump much – though he did get to the top of the trellis outside Mother’s flat – and generally slowing down.

In contrast, Not Cat just seems to get busier every day. His playmate of a few weeks ago came to see him today. She was open mouthed to see him on the highest walls. He came down and snuggled round her, pushing his head against her hand and rolling on his back. He even allowed himself to be picked up. She used to brush Cat in the garden. We had a brush hidden in the ivy for her to use. I thought it had been thrown away when the ivy was taken down, but she tells me she has it at home.

She is hoping to spend more time in the garden when summer comes. Her parents own a flat in the block for her nanny. “Do you think he’ll get to know me better?” she asked tonight. Then, “I love him. He’s so sweet.” “I love him too,” I said.

If Cat hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have Not Cat. The circle of life. Both have brought me so much joy.

He is not a replacement. He’s a boy in his own right. My silver lining. But if there is a Cat Heaven, I bet Cat is shaking his head at this boy on his territory and thinking he could do things so much better.

23 thoughts on “Full of the Joys

  1. No, they are never replacements, as you say. They are their own selves, just as we are. All so different, with so much to give, and such sharp, invisible little razors that carve their own unique shape out of our hearts.
    What would we do without them?

  2. One look at Not Cat cathandling the sensor made me burst out laughing. His expression is hilarious. Looks as if you’re in for a busy warm weather spell although I’m not sure that Cat woud have approved a tent in the garden.

  3. Cats bring a measure of comfort in a way that only they can do, and without them our lives would have a sizeable gap – much bigger than any cat could ever be. Thank you for sharing this heartwarming piece.
    The photo made me smile

  4. I love reading your memories about Cat. I love to read what you write. Period. Love it. Your Ginger Ninja is so much a boy 🙂 Just like a guy to be all into that sensor! I’m thinking Not Cat could be quite an armful of kitteh for the young girl to pick up, he seems to be a solid mass of muscle!

    • Thank-you for your kind words, Pix. He didn’t look terribly comfortable, but he didn’t struggle and even turned his head to touch noses. She is ten.
      How are you enjoying the novel?

  5. Lovely words Isobel. It is amazing how the love and energy of Not Cat helps you heal. Animals are wonderful companions in life and offer so much love and happiness. I love hearing about his adventures.

    • Thanks, TBM. I took several pix of him yesterday, so I may post some later. He soent hours outside yesterday and slept like a log. Now he is full of beans and racing about again.. He is on an insect hunt, and studying the flower beds intently. It is magical to have such close contact with another species, and to start to have some inkling of how the world looks through his eyes.

  6. I’m glad you are glad. No wonder you are comforted by your bond to Not Cat. Animals do get very deep into us as it’s a relationship from heart to heart, isn’t it?

  7. That’s a great expression to describe it, Maria. I know people say it is all based on the fact we feed them, and that is partly true. But I have been feeding Not Cat for nearly a year now, so why should he become increasingly demonstrative? I am not giving him any more food.

  8. What do you mean you are not giving him any more food?!!!
    What I ment is that the comunication between you two does not happen through words but through action from your structure to his and viceversa. And I suspect the feeding action (together with all your loving driven actions) is essential in building up the bondage to your cat, who in return replies with actions that increase yours: feeding and playing and fussing joyfully. There’s a saying in Castillian: “El roce hace el cariño”

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