When MasterB was a kitten, I doubt very much if anyone, least of all Himself, imagined he would be a boat cat. Not a full time, paid up member of the union boat cat, but a boat cat nonetheless. Nonetheless seems the wrong word. MasterB is not known for his daring do approach to life; there is little (I hesitate to say nothing for fear of offending him) of the feline Errol Flynn in his make-up. He verges on the timid though has a habit of making friends with intact male cats the other more laddish cats shrink away from. My boy is a ginger contradiction.
A ginger miracle.
Of course I am biased. But days afloat with MasterB are almost more precious than days in London. He is confined. He is not allowed shore leave other than in a jacket attached to a lead. This is probably the most demeaning thing a cat can face. There are probably multiple entries in the Oxford Feline Dictionary plus links to feline psychotherapists who will hold a paw and encourage the client to breathe deeply and dig claws into soft furnishings while they express and expel their upset at such treatment.
Yet despite his restrictions, MasterB shines. He subverts my attempts to protect the upholstery from his claws and fur with thick rugs and blankets by burrowing underneath said rugs etc and sleeping there. He emerges to sit beside me, to blink his forgiveness, to climb onto the top of the cushions to watch the local wildlife.
Being at das Boot without him would be easier. No litter tray in the ‘bathroom’; no piteous meowing in the night to beg for unsupervised outdoor play and exploration; no sudden thuds as he knocks things over with an experimental paw. And no purring companion, no weight on my feet in the night, no shared stares into the night at the wildlife, no companionship.
We sit together in the fore cabin like an old married couple. Content to be together. I photograph him. He looks out at the night, eyes widening as a bull approaches the fence. When he came to live with me I wasn’t sure I wanted him. I am fairly sure he didn’t want me. But it’s a bit like one of those arranged marriages that works. I now have no doubt he loves me. I know I love him. The fact that I didn’t think I wanted him tells me I can be very stupid. He is the best cat in the world, and I must have done something very good to deserve him.