Petunia the Persian has been through some pretty serious health struggles in her short life and had managed to beat a horrible disease called FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) and everyone was so proud of her for doing so.
Her humans had bought her a wonderful cat tree and Petunia had been learning to jump to the top. Not blessed with the agility and fitness that most cats have, even getting to the top of her tree was a huge achievement even if it did take her several attempts to do it.
Petunia had a long-distance boyfriend which is my cat Kevin. Kevin had been obsessed with the beautiful little Persian cat and had taken to calling and messaging her every day to see how she was going. And before you laugh, yes – cats can do stuff like that and have active social lives like anyone else. You just have to believe in it, that’s all because once you start believing in your animals, anything is possible – just you ask my Kevin.
Anyway, one day Petunia hadn’t been feeling very well and had been suffering from breathlessness. She had been on the phone to her mates in WA and had told Oliver (the CEO of Raw Meow) all about it.
“You do know you need to go and see the vet don’t you Petunia?” Oliver said firmly and then added, “And you need to do this quickly.” Oliver is always the voice of reason and he just seems to know about stuff.
Petunia sighed and replied that a vet appointment had already been made by her human for later that day.
“Look, I had better go Oliver, I need to call Kevin and let him know.” Petunia sounded breathless.
“Ah yes, Kevin – good idea.” Oliver replied.
And as Petunia ended the call, she composed herself and found Kevin’s number on her mobile. A picture of Petunia and Kevin flashed up under his name. It was taken last Christmas when Kevin had a party at his house and Petunia had ended up joining them.
At Kevin’s House
Kevin and his canine brother Brutus were playing a game of cards. Kevin being a dab hand at card games, always manages to beat Brutus which makes Brutus cry and demand a rematch which of course he never wins.
“It’s your hand big fella but if you could hurry up because I know I am going to win so we may as well get it over with!” Kevin smirked at Brutus who was wearing a baseball cap back to front and a satin waistcoat. The silly dog had been told by his boxer friend Vader, that all serious gamblers wore satin waistcoats and baseball caps back to front and Brutus believed him as well.
Before Kevin had chance to say anything else, his mobile phone rang. Glancing down, he saw Petunia’s picture flash up on his phone.
“Petunia! How are you?” Kevin dropped the cards on the table and gestured to Brutus that the game was over leaving Brutus looking confused and asking if that meant that he had won. Brutus isn’t the smartest of dogs as you may have gathered but he does have a huge kind heart and that’s what counts.
Kevin’s grumpy voice softened when he spoke to Petunia, it always did because he liked her and even his friends Tuxedo Cat, Teddy and Oliver would laugh at him about it.
But whatever Petunia was saying to him, it certainly wasn’t making Kevin smile, in fact it was quite the opposite.
“You will be OK, won’t you Petunia?” Kevin stuttered down the phone. “Promise to let me know what happens?”
“Everything OK?” Brutus asked Kevin when he had finished on the phone.
“I hope so, I don’t know actually, I have a funny feeling.” Kevin frowned. Funny feelings are not alien to him as he is an anxious cat and gets upset at most things, but this feeling was different and Kevin didn’t like it one bit.
“Let’s take your mind off it. What do you fancy doing?” Brutus asked him.
“Can you just sit with me and we watch the birds for a bit?” Kevin said as he puffed air out of his cheeks.
“Sounds good to me.” Brutus replied simply and the two of them sat at the dining room window and watched a gang of raucous parrots have a parrot meeting in the palm tree outside.
Petunia had arrived at the vet and her breathing had deteriorated and the vet had told her humans that she had fluid on her heart. It was decided that she would stay in the vet hospital overnight to keep an eye on her.
With nothing but her thoughts for company, Petunia didn’t even have the energy to call Oliver or Kevin to let them know how she was. She hoped they would understand, she was sure that they would.
As she lay in her hospital cage, Petunia heard a little cough which made her startle. Looking up she saw a handsome ginger cat with a white bow tie on around his neck. He sat on a trolley outside Petunia’s cage and appeared to be making notes on a notepad.
“Excuse me, but who are you?” Petunia asked him politely.
“The name is Gordon and I have come to see if you are ready, you must be Petunia?” The cat smiled warmly and continued to write things down on the notepad.
“Ready? What for? I don’t understand?” Petunia frowned. Then as though it was all too much for her, she started coughing and couldn’t get her breath.
“Hmm, that’s not good. You certainly sound and look as though you are ready!” Gordon nodded approvingly, “Shall we go now? Come on, time is ticking!”
“Go where? I can’t go anywhere. I am poorly and my human will be seeing me tomorrow and I can’t possibly miss that!” Petunia said with a husky meow as she tried to take a deep breath.
Gordon looked at Petunia’s hospital cage and as if by magic, the door opened all by itself. The big handsome ginger cat winked at Petunia, “Trust me – come on and hold my paw, nothing to be afraid of, I promise!”
As a frail and weakened Petunia stood up with the help of Gordon, she touched his paw as he had requested. Looking at Gordon for further reassurance, Petunia felt herself go dizzy and the last thing she remembered, was Gordon saying “Come along, that’s my girl!”
A large white greyhound stood at some huge iron gates. He looked jolly important as he checked a list on his clipboard. He wore a bright purple leather and velvet collar with a brass name tag attached to the collar with ‘Bowie’ engraved on it.
A handsome young tabby cat with a white vest and four white socks, weaved in and out of the greyhound’s long legs, occasionally rubbing his head on him. With his tail held high in the air twitching, the cat kept kneading the grass with his front paws as though he were making biscuits.
“Are there many left to come?” The tabby cat asked Bowie the greyhound.
Bowie smiled, “Just one left. The others came this morning. You can go and tell everyone to get ready for the last one if you don’t mind?”
The tabby gave a paws-up gesture and ran through the gates to do his favourite part of the job – announce all the new arrivals.
Bowie yawned and did one of those greyhound stretches which looks like a play-bow when they stick their bums in the air. Letting out a quick and unexpected fart, Bowie coughed “Excuse me!” and quickly checked to see that nobody had heard him.
Suddenly he could hear the sounds of someone arriving. Composing himself, he stood up and straightened his collar and made sure that he was neat and tidy.
“Hi Bowie, this is Petunia. She is the final one due in today!” Gordon gave Bowie a friendly head-boop to greet him.
“I don’t understand, where am I?” Petunia cried as she leaned on to Gordon for support.
Taking a deep breath, Bowie bent down so that the little cat could see him better. “Hello Petunia, welcome to Rainbow Bridge. My name is Bowie the greyhound and I am the gatekeeper of The Bridge.”
“I am at Rainbow Bridge? But what about my human’s? What about my friends and Kevin?” Petunia cried.
It took a few minutes for Bowie and Gordon to explain to her that her body had run out of time and it was no longer possible for her spirit to live in it. He explained how we all have a certain amount of time with our humans – it may or may not be for as long as we would like, but whatever the amount of time spent with them, is precious and always for a good reason.
But when it is time to go to Rainbow Bridge, that is when you leave all your pain and illness behind and get a new lease of life. A life where you can eat what you like, chase birds and butterflies yet never hurt them. A life where nothing hurts ever again and occasionally, you can take a peak to see what your beloved humans are doing and be able to keep an eye on them until the next pet arrives.
“Do you understand Petunia?” Bowie asked her gently.
“I think so….” Petunia sniffed and wiped her eyes.
“Right then, ready to go through the gates?” Gordon asked her.
“I can’t breathe very well, I not sure if I can to be honest.” Petunia sounded doubtful.
“Try it, you might surprise yourself. I know I did when I went through myself a few years back!” Gordon encouraged her.
Petunia mustered up all of her energy and with a little help from Bowie’s super long greyhound snout, she managed to get up as Gordon and Bowie helped her to get through the gates.
Once she had passed through them, she gasped at what she saw. Cats everywhere, playing with toys, climbing on trees, running through tunnels, chasing rabbits and butterflies and having the time of their lives. It really did look beautiful and the temptation to investigate was almost too strong for Petunia to resist.
“What do I tell Kevin? He won’t understand why I haven’t come back. I know the vet will tell my human, but who tells Kevin?” Petunia panicked.
“You leave Kevin to me, I can sort him out!” Gordon gave a firm nod, “Now go and meet your new friends, it looks like they are waiting for you to join them for dinner.”
Petunia watched as the group of cats smiled at her and pointed to an abundance of delicious food including sardines, pilchards, salmon, prawns and steak. She had never seen so much food in all her life.
“Are you sure I can do it? Will I be OK?” Petunia asked him.
“Positive and you will be just fine!” Gordon replied and watched Petunia slowly start to walk to where the cats were waiting for her and with each step she took, her breathing got better until not being able to breath, was merely a distant memory.
“Are we done for the day?” Bowie asked Gordon.
“Not quite, I have a quick visit to make. Save me some prawns – I’ll be back shortly.” Gordon said and gave a mock salute to Bowie before disappearing.
While Bowie shut the gates for the evening, Petunia played with her new friends. There was no shortness of breath, no pain or low energy and for the first time in her life, she could not only jump high but she could climb to the top of the tallest tree with the agility of a cheetah.
Kevin was in his bedroom. He had felt unsettled since hearing that Petunia was unwell and when he felt like that, he was just best with his own company.
Curled up on the top of his cat tree, he stared out of the window trying to think about what to do. It was an awful feeling of being helpless and even his friend Oliver couldn’t placate him.
Kevin sighed and blinked a few times and yawned. Then opening his eyes, he saw something that nearly caused him to fall off his cat tree as he noticed a big ginger cat sat in his basket like he owned it.
“How the bloody hell did you get in here? Who are you?” Kevin shouted. He looked out of the window and saw Brutus chasing some magpies, “Brutus help me, there is a cat in my room!” Kevin screeched. Except that Brutus could not hear him or even realise that he was there and no matter how much Kevin scrabbled at the window, he seemed invisible to Brutus in the garden.
“You don’t remember me do you?” The ginger cat laughed and then picked up a tatty old blue crackle mouse from Kevin’s toy box. “This mouse was my favourite when I lived in here and this grey basket is just as comfy as I remember it!” Gordon started to noisily suckle on the old toy mouse and blissfully closed his eyes for a few minutes.
“But I don’t get it…..” Kevin cried, And that is MY mouse you are sucking on!”
Gordon suddenly remembered where he was and opened his eyes. Dropping the now soggy toy mouse on the floor, he explained to Kevin, “My name is Gordon and this was my house before it was yours and when I went to Rainbow Bridge, I guided you to this family because I knew you would be looked after. That is how it works you see, when a human loses one pet, that pet guides the next one and the right one into their lives.”
Kevin frowned but after a few minutes, he smiled in recognition, “Gordon – Oh my God, I remember you now! My humans spoke of you all the time. What are you doing here?” Kevin jumped off his cat tree on to the ground and sat opposite Gordon.
“I have a message for you and it’s about Petunia…”
Kevin started to cry as the realisation of why Gordon was here dawned on him. “No, I don’t want to hear it! I know what you are going to say, please don’t!” Shutting his eyes and shaking his head in protest, Kevin thought that if he stopped Gordon from saying it, then it hadn’t happened.
Gordon sat with Kevin for some time as he explained to the distraught cat about how Petunia had finished her time here with her humans and had to go for a new lease of health and life at Rainbow Bridge. He went on to tell Kevin how Petunia could now climb the highest of trees and eat all the fish and meat that she wanted. Because she had been through so much in her short life and being at such a marvellous place like Rainbow Bridge is what she deserved. And knowing all of that, made it a bit easier for Kevin to accept.
Kevin didn’t remember at what point Gordon left him and he didn’t remember falling asleep, nor how long he had been asleep for. But when he did wake up, he was in his grey basket. It was dark in his room and there was no evidence of Gordon ever having been there.
Opening his eyes and blinking a few times, he wondered if he had dreamt the whole thing.
Deciding that he was hungry and it was time for his tea, he got out of his basket and took a long stretch and as he did, he felt something wet underneath his paws. “Ugh, did I vomit and not realise it?” Kevin looked down to see what he had trodden in and saw that it was the blue mouse that Gordon had removed from the toy box and had been suckling on earlier.
“It was real, I didn’t imagine it after all!” Kevin thought to himself, then left his room to find Brutus.
A beautiful white Persian was holding court to a group of cats. Curled up under a tree in various positions, the cats all chatted and helped themselves to the picnic of fish and steak on the sharing plate on the grass. A small kitten bicycled furiously with his hind legs on a toy rabbit while another chased his tail in between eating small pieces of steak.
“Tell us again Petunia about how your humans loved you so much?” An elderly Maine Coon asked her as the other cats clapped their paws together in excitement.
And so Petunia began to tell them the stories of her humans, her life, her friends and about her boyfriend – a ginger cat called Kevin.
Dedicated to Petunia – a small cat with a huge character
Published with the kind permission of Petunia’s human – Julia Sowula
This story is about Dash the Italian greyhound. Dash was one of the characters in my book Planet Iggy and his real life naughtiness and escapades have kept his humans on their toes and the vets busy.
A very special little dog deserving of this tribute.
At Dash’s house
Dash and his brother Augie were at home. Augie was lying on his back playing on his mobile phone. He was obsessed with the ‘who’s who on the show circuit’ page, he enjoyed checking out which dogs were doing well and who had the biggest testicles. It made him miss the days when he had a splendid set of gonads himself – those were the glory days!
“I say Dash, have you seen this Iggy, he is pretty new to the circuit?” Augie asked him without even looking up.
Dash didn’t reply, he was busy gazing out of the window. He could just see the BBQ outside and it reminded him of all the times that he had stolen food from it – something he was pretty proud of. Had food theft been an Olympic sport then he would have surely won a Gold.
He hadn’t been well for a while and had been diagnosed with a serious liver issue that he knew would not allow him to live as long a life as a healthy dog. Although he wanted to have a full life with his humans, he knew it wasn’t possible and he was just waiting for the right time to leave them.
His humans had been warned that he may have to go to Rainbow Bridge at any point. It didn’t make it easier mind you, but they did understand and were trying to make each day with Dash count.
“Dash, I am talking to you!” Augie nudged him with his pointy snout.
Giving his head a little shake, Dash turned around and gave Augie a tired smile. “Sorry Augie, what you were saying?”
Augie frowned, his little face looked troubled, probably not helped by him having more grey hairs than Dash, who simply refused to age in both appearance and attitude. “Oh, never mind, it doesn’t matter. Are you OK Dash?” Sitting up, Augie picked up his drink and took a mouthful and dabbed his snout with his handkerchief to remove the coffee froth.
“Sort of, I will be….” He replied simply and then added, “Hey, do you remember the time I sneaked into the kitchen of the dog café when nobody was looking?”
Augie snorted his Dog-o-Cinno coffee through his nostrils. “Do I remember? How could I forget! Do you remember the tomato incident, nobody could believe it!”
“Oh my days! That was talked about for ages afterwards.” Dash laughed.
“Talked about until this very day and will be forever more I reckon.” Augie added.
“I remember how we used to stand on Brutus’s back so that we could reach the café table and steal the food!” Augie wiped his eyes as he roared with laughter. “Dear old Brutus, such a good boy for letting us use him as a ladder.”
“Actually Dash, isn’t there a photo somewhere of you and Brutus getting cosy together at Chewie’s birthday at the dog cafe?”
Dash cocked his head to the side. “Might have been!” he said knowingly. “Photographic evidence is kicking around somewhere I do believe.”
“You haven’t had a boring life have you Dash?” Augie poked him playfully with his paw.
Dash grinned, “No, I most certainly haven’t and I have kept my humans on their toes that’s for sure!”.
“Dash?” Augie asked him quietly.
“Yes Augie?” Dash stared at his brother.
“Are you OK?” Augie asked him again. His eyes bulging, his ears flat back on his head, the tiny Iggy trembled as he asked Dash the question, because he kind of already knew the answer. He was just hoping by some miracle that he was wrong.
Taking a leap on to the sofa, Dash then gestured for Augie to sit next to him. “I need to have a chat….”
“I don’t want to hear it Dash, please don’t make me hear it, I am not ready to hear it!” Augie rushed his words out all at once and spoke so quickly that it was almost hard to understand him. But all the same, he jumped up and sat next to his brother to hear what he had to say.
Dash gently explained to Augie that it was now time for him to go, what was going to happen next and how he was relying on Augie to take charge of the family afterwards. He told him how he was a big brave boy and that he would be just fine.
“Dash?” Augie asked him after a few minutes.
“Yes Augie?” Dash replied.
“Are you scared?” Augie’s eyes stared intently at him.
“No Augie. We all have our time with our humans – be it a day, a week, years – whatever. But when it’s up, it’s up. Besides, I am tired of being unwell and if I can’t steal my human’s food with the stealth and professionalism that I am used to, then that means it’s my time”.
Augie huddled up to his brother. “Will you be able to steal food at Rainbow Bridge?”
“I bloody well hope so!” Dash growled and both dogs burst out laughing.
Later that day….
Bowie the large white greyhound and gatekeeper of Rainbow Bridge stood outside the entrance with his regulation clipboard and a chewed-up pen in the shape of a large bone. It was a bad habit chewing his pen and he knew that, but he still enjoyed doing it.
“Hi Bowie, who are we waiting for today?” An important looking Scottish terrier named ‘Bertie McTavish’ asked in his strong Scottish accent. He looked quite dapper wearing a red tartan collar with a whistle clipped to it, which he was not afraid to blow to regain any order should it all kick off with any newbies. Not that it ever did of course but Bertie did like that whistle and the power that it gave him – think about the policemen in the UK when they had whistles in the olden days and you will just about get the picture.
But nobody ever kicked off at Rainbow Bridge and aside from a bit of exuberance when reunited with old friends, there was never any trouble.
“Someone pretty special who is going to keep us all on our toes, that is all I can say.” Bowie gave a curt nod to Bertie.
Bertie who had seen it all before – or so he thought, sighed, “There isn’t anyone we can’t handle here and should anyone be naughty then I have this!” He pointed dramatically to the whistle clipped on his collar.
Bowie raised his eyebrows and smirked, “Are you sure about that?” But before he got chance to say anything else, he could hear a commotion of an incoming new resident.
It’s a great source of excitement for new animals coming to Rainbow Bridge; it’s like being given a new lease of life and getting reunited with old friends at the same time. They tend to make a bit of noise on arrival but it’s all high jinx because they are so happy to be there.
“Excuse me, but where is the food? I am bloody starving!” Dash suddenly appeared out of nowhere. They always do that on entry to ‘The Bridge’. They transition through and appear very quickly. It never fails to make Bertie startle and say ‘Now then, there will be none of that here!”
“Hello Dash old boy, how are you doing?” Bowie said affectionately.
Dash’s tail wagged furiously, so hard in fact that it smacked the Bertie in the face and made him sneeze. “I could murder a chocolate muffin my friend!” Dash grinned.
“Why does that not surprise me?” Bowie laughed, “Let me get someone to escort you through the gates. You are the only one coming in today.”
“Who is going to take me through, I can’t see anyone around, are you going to take me?” Dash asked Bertie.
Bertie shook his head, “Not me pal and I don’t want any funny business from you!” he said sternly and then catching Dash’s worried face, he gave the little black dog a cheeky wink to show he was joking.
“Come on my friend, follow me.” Bowie reassured him.
“Wait a second!” Dash shouted and quickly lifted his leg to pee on the gatepost. Bertie rolled his eyes at Bowie and muttered something about it being ‘highly inappropriate’ and should he blow his special whistle to control the situation?
Dash hesitantly walked through the gates to the other side when he was suddenly bowled over by another Italian greyhound. “Darling, you are here! I thought you would never arrive!”
He looked up and saw Madam Gigi looking absolutely gorgeous with a pair of oversized sunnies and an Italian silk scarf tied around her neck. The two Iggies hugged each other tightly, that was after Gigi had done the European thing of kissing the cheeks of course.
“Follow me, everyone is waiting for you! Fat Harry is eating everything in sight and it’s high time that you came to redress the balance!”
“It’s so good to finally be here Gigi. Tell me, do they have tomatoes where we are going?” Dash asked her.
“Tomatoes? Darling, there are more tomatoes than you would know what to do with!” Gigi barked at him and waved her front legs in the air – Pippin always said that if you cut off Madam Gigi’s front legs, she would be speechless.
The further he walked the more energetic he became and the better he felt until all evidence of pain and illness had vanished. Across the field, Dash could just make out the rotund figure of Fat Harry frantically waving his stuffed hamburger toy in the air to get his attention.
Nearby a black kelpie dog with an Australian neckerchief tied around his neck was sat on the grass reading a newspaper titled ‘The Kelpie Times’. He stopped reading and folded up his paper on his lap and glanced up. With his tail wagging slowly in recognition, he walked towards Fat Harry and said, “Is that who I think it is?”
“Yes Rocky, I think it is! – Isn’t it brilliant?” A huge grin appeared on Fat Harry’s face.
Rocky nodded, “Yes, it is absolutely marvellous. We all meet up here in the end, that’s what is so special about this place – there is no such thing as goodbye.”
“Is that it for today Bowie, shall I close the gates?” Bertie asked him.
Bowie looked on as little Dash was welcomed into the next level and final part of his life surrounded by his friends. “Yes, that’s it for today, close the gates. Oh, and Bertie?” Bowie asked him.
“Yes Bowie?” Bertie turned around to answer him.
“You can put your whistle away for today, maybe you can use it tomorrow?” Bowie winked at him leaving Bertie McTavish to reluctantly tuck his whistle under his collar for another day.
At Augie’s House
Augie was sat on his bed looking out of the window. He didn’t know how long he had been there for but it must have been a while. Dash’s bright red collar was on the coffee table and his toys were where he left them, Augie stared at them sadly and briefly wondered how he would manage without him. He would of course, but it would take time to adapt without Dash.
There was one more thing left to do and Augie had been putting it off. Taking a deep breath for bravery, he picked up his mobile phone and dialled Pippin’s number.
Pippin had been having a wonderful time lately. His sister Latte had recently had puppies and you all know how Pippin loves his puppies. One time both he and Brutus did some ‘doggy day care’ involving looking after Bronte’s puppies and it all ended in a flurry of talcum powder and diapers put on the wrong way – but that’s another story.
“Pippin, will you stop disturbing the babies!” Latte barked at him.
Pretending that he hadn’t heard, Pippin nudged the puppies with his pointy snout in the hope of waking them up so that he could justify a cuddle with them.
Pippin had actually grown quite distinguished as a senior dog and his grey fur had blended in quite nicely on his face. Unlike his friend Brutus who was looking pretty grizzled with age, but hey, we all get older right?
“Pippin, it’s for you?” Bronte handed him his mobile phone.
Looking boot-faced at being taken away from the pups, Pippin grabbed the phone from Bronte and took it into his office.
It all happens in Pippin’s office – good news, bad news, naughtiness, reprimands and everything in between. The large regal looking chair, the huge leather topped desk, a brown china pot with all of Pippin’s pens and pencils in it and his bright red lounge coat with golden trim, hanging up on the door. This office has seen it all and could tell a thousand stories about the Iggy gang and the life of Pippin.
Pippin sat in his chair clutching his phone and after a few minutes replied quietly, “Thank you, I will let the group know.”
Then as per tradition and the rules of the gang, Pippin sent a group text simply saying, “Dash has landed.”
A few hours later
Latte had just finished feeding her puppies. Pippin was standing behind her watching the babies trying to snuggle up to her.
“I shall miss Dash you know.” Latte said to Pippin, “Will you miss him?”
Pippin gave a little nod, “Yes, I shall miss him greatly. He was a character that’s for sure with all the naughty stuff he got up to.”
“What’s this tomato incident that everyone always talks about?” Latte asked him.
“OMG, Pippin you MUST tell her about that, please tell her – you tell it best!” Bronte barked excitedly.
A smile spread across Pippin’s face as he curled up next to Latte and Bronte and began telling the greatest story ever told about a dog café, a group of Italian greyhounds, a tomato and a little black dog called Dash.
Our pets may not live forever but the memories of their antics and naughtiness will remain alive for as long as we tell their stories.
This blog is dedicated to Dash.
Written and published with the kind permission and blessing of Dash’s human Kylie.
It’s been almost two years since my darling kelpie Rocky crossed over to Rainbow Bridge – 2 years on 9th September to be precise. I remember that day as though it were yesterday and never did I imagine that losing a pet would hurt that much, it were as though he took a piece of me with him.
Brutus took months and months to find himself after Rocky left before he realised that he could bark at the garbage truck with the best of them. He even learned how to swim in the ocean which is something that we never thought that he would do. Rocky was the swimmer, Brutus was the barker that would give accusing looks if he was made to go in the water. Now Brutus can swim like a fish, although his motive is to catch water birds but that is another story entirely.
So this story is dedicated to the memory of my Rocky dog because this is just what I can imagine him doing.
Sunday afternoon at Brutus’s house
It was a cold, wet and windy Sunday afternoon where most animals would be snuggled up inside their warm kennels or their homes. Kevin was curled up on his cat tree planning on what he would have for his tea. He spent a large part of his day thinking about food and this was a perfectly acceptable way to pass the time for him.
Brutus was standing by the dining room window. He was bored and rather fancied catching up with Vader and Pippin but he knew that they would be up to other things. Turning round to Kevin, Brutus shouted “Catch you later, I am just going for a walk!” and before Kevin had chance to reply, Brutus had slammed the door and was trotting down the garden path. Kevin barely looked up, in fact I don’t even think that he heard him. “Yes, I am definitely looking forward to my roo meat tonight!” He mumbled to himself and noticing that he was already salivating, he quickly tried to clean the drool off his face with his paws.
Brutus didn’t need to go far to amuse himself. He stopped at the side of the road and checked for cars – just like his human had taught him. Straining his eyes to look at the park, he saw that there were no dogs or people there and it was completely empty.
Making his way to the small row of shops at the edge of the park, Brutus thought that perhaps if he checked the cafe out, he might be able to score a snack of some kind. And you can’t blame him for that as any self respecting dog would do the same.
Sighing, he saw that all the shops were closed – except for one and it was a shop that he had never noticed before. All the same, it was open and Brutus thought he would go and take a sticky beak to pass the time. ‘Antique Dog Toys’ Brutus read the sign on the outside of the shop out loud, “How strange, I wonder when this opened?” Then giving himself a good shake, he decided to go in and see what toys they had on offer.
As he walked in, a loud bell sounded to alert the owner. The shop smelled positively delicious to Brutus, it was a mix of cooked beef, bones, Schmackos dog treats and a touch of excitement. “Wow, where am I?” Brutus gasped and as curiosity got the better of him, he started checking out the shop in more detail.
Heaps of tennis balls, old stuffed toys, rope tugs, frisbees to name but a few, adorned the shelves. There was a shelf with an old cash register on top and a bowl of dog treats was placed next to it. On a lower shelf were old smelly bones that may well make a human look away in disgust, but to any dog – it was like the best thing for them to smell. And the older the bone, the better especially if it has been buried for months and then dug up. Just ask your own dog if you don’t believe me.
Brutus gasped when he noticed in the corner of the shop, was a bright red mini lamp post with a small picket white fence surrounding it in the corner of the shop – it was there for dogs to cock their leg if they chose to. Not Brutus though, he still squats like a female dog.
“How on earth did I not notice this shop before? All these old toys, do they belong to other dogs?” Brutus thought to himself. It was true, the toys didn’t look new at all, far from it. They looked chewed, played with, tatty and some might say, ‘well loved’.
Brutus was so engrossed in looking around this little shop, that he didn’t notice the owner sitting in a leather chair behind the counter. A little black kelpie dog sat on an antique leather chair from behind the counter. Wearing a tweed suit with gold half rimmed spectacles perched right on the edge of his snout, the look was complete with a large gold watch on a chain that was carefully placed in the inside pocket.
The kelpie studied Brutus noting his excitement to be in such a shop. His tail wagging furiously like the propellor of a helicopter, he managed to knock a few tennis balls off the shelf. Feeling his jowls burn with embarrassment, Brutus frantically tried to grab some of the tennis balls in his mouth. Managing to pick up only two of them, he looked up to see the little kelpie peeking over the top of his gold rimmed spectacles and staring at him.
“Oh my days, no way, it can’t be! Is that you?” Brutus dropped the tennis balls out of his mouth letting them bounce on the floor of the shop.
“Hello Brutus!” The kelpie wagged his tail and jumped off his chair towards Brutus who had his tail tucked in between his legs because he was so overwhelmed.
“Rocky!” Brutus yelped and playfully nudged Rocky in recognition, “It is you! I knew you would come back for me!” As the two dogs greeted each other, their tails wagged so hard that they not only cleared all the tennis balls off the shelves, but managed to knock off a few stuffed toys as well.
“Come on my friend, we have some catching up to do!” Rocky said firmly.
“What if someone comes in and disturbs us?” Brutus frowned.
“They won’t, well they can’t actually.” Rocky replied.
Brutus pondered about asking further questions but didn’t. He had never needed to question Rocky because Rocky knew everything – he had been to Kelpie university you know. As the storm picked up outside and the rain lashed against the windows of the shop, the two dogs chatted without barely stopping for breath. They didn’t even notice the weather outside because they were so engrossed in each other.
A short while later
“So what’s with all of these old toys? I don’t get it?” Brutus questioned Rocky.
“Well, when a pet crosses over to Rainbow Bridge, their spirit remains in their toys, furniture or anything that they may have loved, chewed or loved sleeping on. Take Kevin for instance.”
“I’d rather not, he is a right bastard!” Brutus muttered.
Rocky laughed and carried on talking. “Kevin is sleeping in that old grey plastic bed that Mum bought for their very first cat Bruno way back in 1995 I think it was. “That catnip blue mouse with the leg chewed off, well the leg that I chewed off. That belonged to Mums other cat in England called Juniper and then it was handed down to Gordon.”
Brutus cocked his head to the side, “Yes, you are right. Mum has the box of toys that belonged to Gordon and she gave them to Kevin and some of those toys were way back from when they lived in England.”
“It’s not just toys Brutus, it can be anything that the animal loved. Take the food bowls that Mum brought over from England – they belonged to Bruno and Juniper. Gordon used them and now Kevin has them.” Rocky added.
“But what’s the connection with these toys in the shop?” Brutus repeated his question to
Rocky, “What IS this shop?” He pulled off his spectacles from his snout and fiddled with them for a few seconds. Then removing his silken red handkerchief from his pocket, he huffed on his glasses and set about cleaning them.
Once he had done that, he looked at Brutus and said matter-of-factly, “It’s a magic shop of memories because every toy in this store is just that – a memory. They have all belonged to a dog or cat that was loved and has now crossed to Rainbow Bridge.”
“Even the tennis balls?” Brutus questioned and looked at the tatty tennis balls scattered on the floor.
“Especially the tennis balls!” Rocky smiled and placed his spectacles back on the end of his snout.
About ten minutes later Brutus reluctantly stood up. “I guess I had better go home now, Mum will be worried about me.”
“Take care my friend and remember that those you love, never really leave you – we are always around somewhere and our memories appear when you least expect them to.” Rocky gave Brutus a friendly nudge. “Now if you will excuse me, I have work to do!” Rocky said with a firm nod before jumping back on his leather chair and fiddling with the cash register.
“Goodbye Rocky and thank you!” Brutus smiled at him and walked out of the door. As the door shut behind him, Brutus realised that he had meant to ask Rocky if he would see him again. Turning round to go back in, Brutus was confused to see that the shop that he had just left, was actually nothing but a vacant building with ‘For Rent’ on the front and not the antique store that it was a few minutes ago.
Sounds of thunder rumbled in the distance and it had started to rain heavily again. Brutus shivered and looked at the shop before running home as fast as he could because he hated storms.
It was a cold and wet Brutus that arrived back home. His Mum hadn’t even noticed that he had gone and Kevin was fast asleep in his basket.
After rubbing his soaking wet body on his blankets to dry himself, Brutus inspected the toy box outside under the pergola. There were dog tugs, tennis balls, Brutus’s old tatty flappy cat which no longer had any stuffing inside, there were cracked rubber dog tugs, old honking pigs without the squeak inside them and a few old scruffy Kong toys that were there before Brutus’s time and had belonged to Rocky as a pup.
Brutus startled as he heard a noise from behind him. Three tennis balls bounced randomly on the concrete – it were as though they had been thrown from the box.
The balls were tatty and fluffed up from where Rocky used to carry them around for hours on end. They had certainly seen better days that’s for sure. But you know what, they were still OK and had some life left in them.
As Brutus carefully picked up the tennis balls one by one, he placed them back in his toy box and went back inside.
Every toy in your pets toy box tells a story and keeps the memory of the last pet that played with it, alive. Especially tennis balls, let’s not forget the tennis balls.
It is no secret that Kevin has a crush on a little Persian kitten called Petunia and if you haven’t heard about Petunia, then you will have to read my Christmas story where she makes her first appearance and you can meet some of the cats as well. Click here to read the Christmas blog – https://thepigaloodiaries.com/2019/12/19/kevins-christmas/
Petunia had managed to worm her way into Kevin’s heart and Kev had developed a severe case of what is known as ‘mentionitis’ which is where someone mentions something or someone a lot and manages to slip their name into every bit of the conversation.
Anyway, it was a Saturday afternoon and Kevin was playing a game of poker in his room with his friends Oliver, Teddy and Tuxedo Cat. Tuxedo Cat was pretending not to look at Kevin’s cards but was sneaking in a peak despite Oliver flicking disapproving looks at him. Oliver being an honest cat didn’t agree with cheating, well unless there was treats involved – every cat has his/her price.
“Kevin, it’s your turn.” Teddy growled impatiently.
“Petunia isn’t really in to card games, she prefers playing with butterflies.” Kevin said to nobody in particular.
Tuxedo Cat shook his head, “Oh he is hopeless – you go instead Teddy.”
“Did I tell you that Petunia will be coming round tomorrow to share a bowl of meat with me?” Kevin beamed while clumsily shuffling his cards and not particularly caring who saw them either.
“Do you like Petunia? I would never have guessed – except for the zillionth time you have told us!” Tuxedo Cat snapped.
“Don’t exaggerate, I have barely mentioned her!” Kevin screwed his face up, his nose had gone all puffy and pink which always happens when he is angry or upset. “I don’t talk about her too much do I Oliver?”
Shrugging, Oliver said tactfully “No, not at all. Well maybe just a little bit Kevin, well a lot actually.” Then seeing Kevin’s face crumple with dismay, he quickly added “But I totally get it and it makes a change from you being a bastard.”
Teddy did a few exaggerated yawns and patted his mouth with his huge grey paws, “Can we finish the game please!”
“Petunia was wearing a lovely new harness yesterday…….” Kevin started to say before Teddy jumped on him and started to bicycle furiously on Kevin’s head with his hind legs to try and shut him up.
They were so busy play fighting that none of them heard Kevin’s phone ring and none of them saw the messages that came through with Petunia’s face flashing up on Kevin’s phone and by the time that they did, Kevin had missed five calls and 3 messages from her.
‘Kevin – r u home? – Petunia’
‘Kevin – please call me, it’s urgent! – Petunia’
‘I am scared, where are u? – Petunia’
“What the heck? How the bloody hell did I miss that?” Kevin gasped when he finally checked his phone.
“Oh don’t tell me, is that your girlfriend?” Teddy laughed but stopped dead in his tracks when he realized how upset Kevin was.
The four cats huddled together to try and decipher the messages. Oliver being the sensible one of the group, tried to take charge of the situation and calm Kevin down. “The only way you will find out what is wrong is by calling her.”
“He has a point Kevin.” Teddy agreed.
Tuxedo Cat nudged Kev in the ribs, “Go on call her!”
Kevin hesitated before pressing Petunia’s number and waited for her to answer.
“Petunia, it’s me – Kevin…”
While Teddy and Tuxedo Cat amused themselves by knocking off some ornaments from the TV cabinet Oliver stayed close to Kevin to try and make sense of what was going on.
“You have to be OK Petunia,” Kevin stuttered on the phone, “Because I will be upset if you’re not and that will mean I have to bite my human’s legs.”
“Ouch, that doesn’t sound good.” Teddy whispered to Tuxedo Cat.
“Come on old chap, tell us what’s going on!” Oliver said calmly after Kevin finished his call.
“It’s Petunia, she isn’t very well and she needs our help for her vet treatment – we can help can’t we Oliver?”
Oliver took a deep breath, “Time for a meeting everyone!” He said with a loud meow to get everyone’s attention.
Now when a group of cats decide to have a gathering, you had jolly well better take note because they mean business. You know when you can hear cats wailing outside and it sounds like the cats chorus? Well don’t tell them off for making a noise, because they are probably having a meeting over something highly important.
And that is exactly what Oliver, Tuxedo Cat, Teddy and Kevin did – have a crisis meeting. Oliver sat on the kitchen workbench, Kevin, Tuxedo Cat and Teddy sat on the coffee table. It was all pretty intense and I hadn’t seen Kevin look so serious since the Testicle Fairy came and removed his testicles to use as ornaments.
“How can we help her? We are just four ordinary cats, what can we do?” Tuxedo Cat puffed his cheeks and looked hopefully at Oliver for the answer, Oliver usually has the answers to most things in life.
Teddy looked put out, “Speak for yourself because I happen to think we are far from ordinary – that’s what my human says and I believe her too.”
“Some may say we are bloody good looking actually, I have people admiring my pantaloons I’ll have you know!” Kevin added, “And Oliver is on the Raw Meow cat food products so he is a proper model.”
Oliver rubbed his head on the corner of the coffee table a few times to help him think and then abruptly looked up at the others. “That’s it, I’ve got the answer!”
Tuxedo Cat raised his eyebrows and gestured for the other cats to be quiet and listen to what he had to say. Good old Oliver, he could always be relied upon to come up with the goods.
Once Oliver had their undivided attention, he began to describe his fabulous idea to help Petunia.
“A kitty club show, what on earth is that?” Kevin asked him.
“It’s a show for kitties – that’s my guess, is that right Oliver?” Tuxedo Cat replied.
Oliver rubbed his paws together and began to explain. “Yes, it is a show for kitties but in particular, female kitties.
“Let’s face it, we are quite a handsome bunch of lads if I say so myself and we could organize a fine display of movement, climbing cat trees and show off how fit we are and people would pay to see us and that would raise money to help Petunia.”
Teddy grinned, he knew how handsome he was and that some of the Siamese cats in the neighbourhood had sent him letters with stuff like ‘Teddy is a smooch’ or ‘I love the blue boy’ written in them.
“What a bloody good idea Oliver!” Teddy meowed, “What do you reckon Kevin?”
Kevin stood up, adopted what he hoped was his sexiest position and with a cheeky grin he replied, “Let’s do it!”
“Do you think we can pull it off?” Tuxedo Cat whispered to Teddy.
Teddy nodded confidently, “We have got this, we have totally got this.”
Kevin looked back on Petunia’s messages. He felt terrified and excited at the same time. He was terrified that Oliver’s idea may not work and excited about how far his friends were prepared to go in order to help Petunia.
To be continued….
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright April 2020
The cats and their photos have been used with the kind permission of their owners. I have credited the photos according to the Facebook names which may or may not be the real names of the owners’.
The treatment for this disease is costly (over $2,000) but Petunia’s owner Julia Sowula decided to give her kitten a fighting chance for treatment and started a fundraiser page to help cover the vet bills. Julia is a casual worker and a student but has still managed to pay for some of it herself.
Now Petunia has completed nearly all of her treatment and blood tests so far are showing minimal FIP markers which means that the treatment is working. She still has one vial of treatment to go which costs $215.00 (AUD) and three more blood tests which are $200 (AUD) each.
So why am I so concerned about Petunia? – well I have followed this story right from the beginning and Petunia was in my Christmas 2019 story before this even happened. I have read all of Julia’s Facebook posts detailing Petunia’s progress and updates and I know how hard she is fighting for her little cat and how much she loves her.
Let’s face it, none of us think of our cats getting a disease like FIP and I don’t even know if pet insurances cover it. We are not talking about something that is easily fixed, we are talking about a disease that has a high death rate and if you do try the treatment, it has an 80% success rate and it is expensive. However, what do you do when you love your cat so very much that you would move mountains to try and save them, because you can’t blame someone for trying.
I spent over a $1,000 on my cat Kevin last year for his dental, blood tests and his anti depressant medication. None of it was covered on insurance, we couldn’t afford it and had to pull money from our mortgage. Some people called us stupid and said it was cheaper to buy another cat and yes, it is but we love Kevin and he is not disposable, he is our pet.
That is why I am helping Julia. She is doing her best and I want to see Petunia beat this. So if you can donate anything at all, that would be lovely – it all helps. If you can’t donate, then please share her fundraiser page if you can.
It was a cold winters night in Perth and every self-respecting cat with a home, should have been snuggled up at home in the company of his/her humans.
Kevin was asleep on the sofa and Brutus was curled up on his own bed, they were settled and warm as the gas heater was on, they had been fed and were oblivious to anything going on outside their home.
“Stroke my belly human!” Kevin yawned, stretched and displayed his belly. His human Dad went to pet his belly and exactly 20.2 seconds later, Kevin grabbed his hand and bit him causing his human to scream out in pain and pull his hand away. “That was too long, you ought to know better than that!”
Brutus was secretly pleased that Kevin was directing his ‘bastardness’ onto the human and not bullying him like he usually does. He had learned to keep one eye closed and the other eye on Kevin and to never be fooled by a sleeping ginger cat.
Anyway, it was a typical cold winters night and all was peaceful in Kevin’s house (we pay the mortgage but it really is Kevin’s house).
A noise outside made Kevin sit up. Brutus took no notice and remained on his bed but Kevin went from sleepy to wide awake in seconds, jumped off the sofa and ran to the dining room window. At first, he couldn’t see anything but once his eyes had adjusted, he noticed a black cat opposite the house, sitting next to the neighbour’s mail box.
“Cheeky bastard!” Kevin muttered. Should he go out and attack him? Probably not, it was far too cold out there and the cat could give him a disease or something, one has to think of these things you know.
Kevin stayed where he was and sat there for a bit to watch the cat. He didn’t recognize him though, maybe he had moved in down the road. After a while, Kevin went off to his room to scoff some of his biscuits and then went back to the dining room to see if the black cat was still there.
He couldn’t see him, where had he gone? Maybe he should call Oliver to see what he should do. Kevin is an ‘act first and think later’ kind of cat and Oliver was good at getting Kevin to think about his actions and what comes out of his potty mouth because let’s face it, he can swear like the best of them.
Suddenly the cat appeared next to the tree by the dining room window. Kevin was still licking his lips after having a feed, you know how cats lick their lips and clean themselves for ages after they have eaten? Kevin was still cleaning the gravy dust off his mouth and it was clear to the other cat that Kevin had just enjoyed something tasty.
Kevin felt his fur bristle up. Closing his eyes and looking up to the ceiling to distract him, he repeated to himself, “I am a good cat, I shall not bite, I shall not swear!” That was Oliver’s mantra that he had taught Kevin as part of his anger management. Stray cats in Kevin’s garden were guaranteed to set him off and this was a test of Kevin’s temper.
Opening just one eye, Kevin slowly moved his head down and checked if the black cat was still there which he was. Then out of curiosity, he opened his other eye and forced himself to get a better look at the cat.
Huddled up by the window, he shivered to keep warm. He had a large hole from an abscess on his head, his ears covered in little rips and cuts. Kevin first thought that the cat was looking at him, but on closer inspection, he was staring right through the dining room window and looking wistfully at the inside of the house.
“Hey, are you stupid! This is MY family and MY house, not yours – never gonna be yours!” Kevin screamed and went on to say how he could beat him up if he wanted to.
Still the cat didn’t move or react in the slightest. He continued to shiver, occasionally lifting his right paw up from the ground and licking it. Kevin noticed the paw was bleeding which is why he kept cleaning it.
Kevin wasn’t used to this. Even in the days of window fighting Tuxedo Cat, he was used to a reaction of some kind but this cat didn’t even acknowledge him and to be honest, Kevin didn’t fancy wasting any more insults on him.
Curiosity got the better of him and he opened the window and jumped outside to talk to the cat. But before he could say anything, he was shocked at what he discovered. The cat was emaciated, his bones were sticking out, his fur spiked up and matted, his nails overgrown, his eyes cloudy and speckled indicating that he was not a youngster.
Eventually the cat acknowledged him, with a rusty meow that usually came with very old cats, he tried to straighten himself up to greet Kevin and with visible discomfort, he extended his damaged paw to greet Kevin. “I am Boris, I hope you don’t mind, but I was just admiring your little family. Lovely set up you have there.”
Kevin looked puzzled, he had never seen a cat looking like this before. Where were his humans? Why was he so skinny and how did he hurt himself?
“Where are your humans?” Kevin asked him. All thoughts of fighting had been forgotten.
Boris puffed the air out of his cheeks and shrugged, “I don’t have any humans. I did have once of course, but they moved away and left me behind when I was 10 years old. I have been living on my own now for 7 years, it’s getting a bit tough now. That’s why I was admiring your family – you hang on to them, you are so lucky.”
Kevin stared at him wide eyed, “You are 17 years old? Strewth, that’s older than me and my brother Brutus put together! How could they leave you like that? My humans would never leave me and trust me, I am a bastard to live with and they still love me.”
Boris gave a little smile, more of a forced smile I suppose. It’s shocking to think of anyone dumping a cat and to imagine a 17-year-old cat still fending for himself and having to fight younger cats on the block, that is heartbreaking.
“How did you hurt yourself?” Kevin checked Boris’s wounds, some of which were bleeding.
“Fighting other cats, they have chased me out of my territory. I have been running for a bit and found myself here. I saw the light on in your house and it looked so nice and safe.” Boris looked tired as he explained his story. “Was that cat biscuit you were eating?”
“Would you like some?” Kevin asked him.
“I would love some but my teeth hurt me a bit, do you have anything soft? Sorry to ask.” Boris looked embarrassed.
“Be right back!” Kevin jumped back through his window, ran into his room to see what he could bring. Picking up some rabbit meat from his bowl that he had been saving for later, Kevin carefully carried it back to Boris who was patiently waiting by the window.
Boris was starving, that much was clear but he couldn’t eat the meat as quickly as he would like because his mouth was hurting him. It took him ages to finish the small amount that Kevin had brought to him but one would think he had been given a banquet by the look of him afterwards.
You all know how territorial Kevin is so what he did next was surprising even for him. He had been so affected by this senior, battered and skinny little cat with no family, that he couldn’t stand to leave him outside. Not having met such an old cat before, even grumpy Kevin knew that he should be treated with respect.
Should he phone Oliver to get his advice? No, he would make what they call an executive decision and invite him inside. He would tell Oliver later, just in case Oliver tried to talk him out of it.
“Can you jump through the window?” Kevin asked Boris and immediately saw that Boris wasn’t going to jump anywhere unless he had help and there was only one way that was going to happen.
“Are you sure about this?” Brutus asked Kevin as he leaned out of the window.
“Perfectly sure and if the humans get upset then I will take the blame.” Kevin promised him. “Now pick Boris up gently by his scruff and DON’T hurt him!”
Boris was too weak and tired to be scared of Brutus. Having been attacked by a particularly nasty Tom cat earlier, he feared nothing because he had no fight left in him and no fear either.
Gently picking up the old frail black cat, Brutus lifted him through the window with ease and placed Boris on the ground as Kevin jumped back in and Brutus shut the window.
The human Dad was asleep on the sofa as Kevin and Boris slowly walked through to Kevin’s bedroom followed by Brutus. “You keep the humans occupied, I will stay with Boris.” Kevin instructed Brutus who gave a paws-up gesture and went back to the living room.
Kevin could see the extent of Boris’s age, poor health and injuries.
Realizing that Kevin was looking at him, Boris felt self-conscious, “I can’t wash myself really, sorry if I smell.”
He did smell, he was worse than a pissy day with Kevin’s pantaloons and you all know how bad they get.
“You don’t smell at all.” Kevin lied and curled up next to him.
“What are you doing?” Boris asked Kevin.
“I can’t imagine not being able to wash myself so I am going to wash you.” Kevin said firmly. Then the fit young feisty ginger cat, set about washing the old frail, smelly kind-hearted older cat and with each lick of the tongue, Kevin had to ignore the stench and made his mind up that he wouldn’t stop until Boris was clean.
Boris didn’t say a word but by the time Kevin had finished grooming him, the old boy had fallen asleep curled up with Kevin behind him to keep him warm and that was where they remained until morning.
The next day
Someone must have changed Kevin over and swapped him with a ‘non-bastard’ cat because it certainly wasn’t the usual Kevin giving his entire breakfast of raw meat to a strange cat.
“Are you sure you don’t want your breakfast?” Boris asked Kevin, his eyes focused at the sight of the bowl of raw cat food. It wasn’t just a feast, it was a banquet for a starving old boy.
Kevin is possessive over his food and has smacked Brutus a few times for trying to steal it but on this occasion, he didn’t mind sharing. After all, he still had his cat biscuit and he knew he was due a raw chicken neck later anyway.
“Plenty to go around!” He said with a mouthful of biscuit and continued to watch Boris enjoying his breakfast.
Ten minutes later, Boris rubbed his tummy, “Mind if I use your litter tray?”
Whilst it is an insult for a strange cat to shit in the litter tray of another, Kevin was prepared to make an allowance on this occasion and gestured for Boris to use it, even helping the old cat to get in there.
“I draw the line at washing your arse though!” Kevin wrinkled his nose, that was worse than one of his and that was saying something
The old cat laughed, “I draw the line at you washing it as well.” He looked at the litter tray and noticed that he hadn’t buried it or more like he couldn’t bury it because he was too stiff and sore.
Sensing Boris’s embarrassment, Kevin jumped in the tray and set about burying where Boris had used the tray, then jumping out and scattering litter everywhere, Kevin winked at him, “This is where we get to run around the room which is what every cat does after taking a crap in the tray!”
“Oh, I am too old for that stuff.” Boris looked enviously at Kevin and wished that he could do all these marvellous things that fit young kitties with loving homes could do.
“Well let’s compromise then.” Kevin suggested and started to kick even more litter everywhere while Boris cheered him on in support.
“That was fun!” Boris, “What shall we do now?”
Kevin wasn’t sure but he knew he had to do something and quickly. “I shall call Oliver, he will know what to do, he always does.”
Boris didn’t know who this Oliver was but if Kevin believed that he would know what to do then that was good enough for him.
Oliver to the rescue!
A gentle knock on Kevin’s bedroom door startled both of the cats. “Hey, it’s me – Oliver, I can only stay a few minutes, what’s the urgency?” As the door opened Oliver walked into the bedroom and spotted Boris curled up on Kevin’s bed and it didn’t take long to notice that Boris was not in a good way.
“I can explain…..” Kevin started to tell the story and those ‘few minutes’ that Oliver was originally going to stay for, ended up several hours as he learned how his grumpy aggressive mate Kevin that hates everyone, had turned into a good friend in the space of a night and saved an old cat called Boris.
“Well say something – anything.” Kevin pulled a face at Oliver.
Oliver scratched behind his ear which he sometimes did when he couldn’t find the right words. After a painstaking few minutes of silence, Oliver stared at Boris and Kevin. They were right, something needed to be done.
“We can’t have Boris sleeping rough anymore, not a cat of his age. He needs a loving home and he needs to get his wounds treated and to see a vet!” Oliver made notes on his mobile as he spoke to them.
“But where is he going to go?” Kevin pleaded.
Oliver smiled at Boris, “Don’t you worry about that, I know just the person!”
“I told you he could help.” Kevin whispered to Boris.
Boris didn’t reply and he didn’t dare get too excited either in case it didn’t happen because he was more than familiar with things not working out for him.
Oliver was as good as his word because his Human is well connected in the cat world and he knew that if he could get Boris to his home, then his Human Mum would be able to sort him out. Once that had been decided, it was organized that Boris would leave with Oliver straight away.
“Thank you, Kevin.” Boris gave Kevin a gentle head-boop.
“Promise you will let me know how you get on?” Kevin nudged him back.
“I will. Oh, and Kevin?” Boris asked him as he was about to leave.
“Take it from an old timer, don’t be too nice all the time, a bit of bastardness keeps people on their toes!” Boris winked at him before doing his ‘old man walk’ out of the house to the car.
Just as Oliver was about to go, Kevin called out to him. “Did I do the right thing Oliver?”
Oliver nodded several times, “Yes Kevin, you most certainly did.” But what Oliver didn’t tell Kevin and that was just how proud he was of his feisty friend and he didn’t even have enough words to tell him just how much.
Four weeks later
Kevin was round Oliver’s house for a sleepover, Oliver had organized it just for him and Kevin to have something to eat and a few cat beers.
The sound of the doorbell made Kevin jump, not having a doorbell at home, these things always startled him.
“Can you get that for me please?” Oliver yelled from the kitchen. He had bought some tasty treats for Kevin to reward him for going three days without biting his humans. Really, he was doing exceptionally well with his anger management course.
Kevin went to the door and took a peak out of the window to see who it was. I mean, it could be a cat napper or something, maybe someone wanting to steal him and use his fur coat as a pair of gloves – it could happen you know.
Standing outside was a distinguished older cat, somewhat stiff but he looked quite nice and presentable with his black shiny coat and beautiful blue collar with a name tag and a bell on it.
“I think it’s one of those religious kitties spreading the good word of the Lord!” Kevin yelled to Oliver.
Oliver peaked from behind the wall looking secretive, “Just let him in, it’s fine!”
Kevin opened the door and stood to the side to let the cat in, “Oliver will be with you shortly, he is just in the kitchen, but I warn you now – I don’t do religion.”
The older cat didn’t say a word but kept fiddling with his name tag and continued to do so until he had caught Kevin’s attention. Glancing down, the name tag caught Kevin’s eye because engraved on it was a name that he had never forgotten since the day that he first heard it.
“Hello my friend, how are you doing?” The black cat asked him.
“Boris!” Kevin gasped.
Oliver stayed in the kitchen and left the boys alone to catch up to piece together Boris’s story about his life.
Boris told Kevin about his new family, how they had taken him to the vets for treatment for his fleas, wounds, bites and injuries, his teeth had all been removed as well and he looked better for it. Kevin learned how Boris had his own bed, toys and even gets to sleep on his humans’ bed. But most of all, Kevin got to see Boris living his best life for the rest of his senior years.
“Are you still naughty Kevin?” Boris asked him.
“You had better believe I am!” Kevin growled, followed by a playful head-boop at Boris, “Just don’t tell anyone that I washed you and buried your crap in the litter tray.”
“That can be our little secret!” Boris gave a toothless smile.
Six months later
Boris lasted another six months with his new family and in those six months, he had more love, care and attention than he’d had in years. He was sent to Rainbow Bridge and his family were by his side, telling him how much they loved him and what a good boy he was.
“But it’s not fair!” Kevin cried to Oliver when he found out, “He only had a few months with his new family.”
“It’s better to have six good months than six bad years. Older cats are just as deserving of a home and whether or not it is for one day or one year, if it’s a good day or year with good people then it’s worthwhile.” Oliver patiently explained to him.
“Ask yourself one thing Kevin, would you do it all again even though it’s upset you?” Oliver asked him.
Kevin thought for a few moments, yes, he would do it again because what he didn’t have in years of friendship with Boris, he certainly had in memories. After all, older cats deserve a loving home as well.
A good home – not just for kittens and something every cat deserves.
*Disclaimer – this story is purely fictitious and no harm or offence intended*
Samantha Rose – (C) Copyright January 2020
Every Cat Comes From Somewhere and Every Cat Deserves a Home
In case you didn’t know, Kevin came from a rescue group called Paws Cat Rescue in Perth, Western Australia.
It wasn’t just a case of paying money and taking Kevin home. Oh no, we were carefully vetted and our identity checked and we even had to prove we had our own house or had permission from a landlord in order to keep a cat, so trust me on this – there were no shortcuts to adopting our ‘Kevin the bastard’.
His fee covered vaccines, microchip and desexing as well as some food to be getting on with plus initial adoption advice and post adoption support should we require it.
Paws cat rescue don’t just adopt out kittens either, senior cats like ‘Boris’ – the fictitious character in my story are given just the same chance of a loving home. No cat is discriminated and is treated with equal love and respect.
Why am I promoting a small cat rescue group? Well that is because the smaller groups often go by unnoticed and quietly doing their ‘thing’. They are doing their best for rescue cats and senior cats just like the one in my story. Giving cats another chance at life and even if that means for just one day or for several years, they are all given that opportunity and this wonderful act for animal welfare from groups like this, needs to be recognised.
I know one thing for sure, without this particular small cat rescue group, I would not have my darling Kevin today and goodness knows where he might have ended up had he not been in their capable hands.
So if you are looking to adopt a cat, please consider a senior cat and don’t be put off by how long you may or may not have them for. Because a day of love with an old cat is better than years of nothing without.
This is a story about Kevin’s Christmas – it contains mild adult content and lots of talking animals. You may not believe that your pet can talk in which case, it might be best to leave now because in my little world – animals have active social lives, can talk and even go to work and drive cars. If you are a believer, then pour yourself a glass of wine (or make a cuppa) grab a chair, put your feet up and enter a world where cats talk, swear, smoke catnip cigars and rule the world.
Introducing the following kitties for this Christmas story
Kevin (domestic longhair)
Kevin is our semi feral, grumpy cat who has a nasty habit of biting/attacking people depending on how he is feeling.
Don’t get me wrong because despite his behaviour, we do love him very much and there are days where we as his humans just want to bury our faces in that floofy belly and kiss him but that would just be silly because we would probably die, well maybe not die but get our faces shredded. It would be like kitty graffiti – with antibiotics, where he puts his mark on us like some people tag fences and public buildings. Only it would be our face and all the cats in the neighbourhood would know that it was the work of Kevin the bastard.
If Kevin were human, he would be the Christmas ‘Grump’ and be one of those people that would frequently say ‘I bloody well hate Christmas’ and make a huge point of telling everyone that there is no such thing as Santa and no, he absolutely does NOT want a Christmas present from you but then gets annoyed when he doesn’t get one.
Kevin has a pretty impressive set of pantaloons and in case you don’t know, pantaloons are the fluffy area on a cat’s bum which give the impression of wearing pants.
Kevin attends a young offenders program to try and rehabilitate him from biting people. This involves learning new skills and anger management but doesn’t always work and he ends up using our legs as scratch posts.
Brutus (Kelpie/ridgeback mix and the ‘goodest’ boy ever)
Brutus is Kevin’s brother from another mother. He is a large, clumsy dog with a heart of gold and he hates confrontation much preferring to run away from a fight than towards it. Brutus is not the smartest dog on the block but he has lots of friends that love him for who he is and that is a beautiful smoochy dog that still believes in all things good and fluffy teddy bears.
In his spare time Brutus likes to chase butterflies and sing in the local dog choir. He once starred in a doggy boy band called the ‘Breeder Boyz’ but that is another story and if you want to read about that, you will have to buy my book titled ‘Planet Iggy’. But I warn you, that contains stories about talking dogs and is even more childish than this one.
Omar (Maine Coon)
Omar is the largest cat out of all of his friends and is so big that he even makes Kevin look small. He is a kind boy that likes to pick flowers for his Mum and he assists the elderly neighbours by digging up their weeds for them in return for the odd chicken neck. If he were human, he would run errands for the elderly and visit nursing homes to sing songs for them on a Sunday.
Omar loves to celebrate things, especially Christmas. Well actually, Omar celebrates everything in his life and enthusiastically gives his thanks when his humans serve his food, empty his litter tray and tell him how gorgeous he is.
Omar takes immense pride in his appearance and makes his humans spend hours grooming out his pantaloons. Some say that there are small song birds hiding out in Omar’s pantaloons, but that could just be gossip.
He is a university educated cat and has studied the art of being a good boy and how to climb the Christmas tree without wrecking it.
Oliver (Cream Burmese)
Oliver is a darling little cat and is employed as the CEO of his Mum’s raw pet food company – Raw Meow.
He is a well-spoken boy and works from his own office at home. He has a computer and one of those year planners on the wall because he is such a busy working cat with a habit of double booking his time.
Oliver takes the orders for his Mum and keeps everything running smoothly. He answers questions about raw cat food and goes to visit kitty schools to talk about the benefits of ‘Kitty crack’ which is freeze dried chicken that cats have been known to commit crimes in order to obtain.
Oliver is well respected within the kitty community but doesn’t take shit from anyone and if he slams his paw down on the desk and tells you to listen – then listen you must or face a jolly good telling off and a stern look guaranteed to shrivel you up.
Teddy (British Shorthair)
Teddy is a naughty cat and like Kevin, can be feisty. He is the one that will sit quietly for a bit and then launch himself onto whoever is annoying him at the time and then when his Mum catches him, he will deny all knowledge of wrong-doing.
Teddy enjoys sushi and by that I mean stealing fish from the neighbour’s fish ponds and using two twigs as chopsticks to eat it and pretending to speak Japanese which he does just to show off to the neighbours.
In his spare time Teddy likes to teach feral kittens how to use a litter tray and on a Saturday evening, Teddy goes to the gym to lift catnip mice to build up his muscles.
Petunia happens to be Kevin’s secret crush. Kevin has a photograph of her in his bedroom but don’t tell anyone I said that as he will kill me.
She is a feminine little cat that enjoys her pop music and likes all things girly. She tried to insist that her microchip be pink but the vet said that was not possible. Petunia got so upset that the vet pretended it was pink just to placate her.
Petunia is studying how to meow in three languages and bird watching.
Kevin of course is becoming quite obsessed with her despite Omar telling him that Petunia is too young for him. Petunia doesn’t help matters because she knows how beautiful she is and thinks that Kev is rather handsome. She has walked past the dining room window a few times pretending to go to the mailbox and seductively digs up the soil with her hind legs when she sees him.
Pippin (Domestic Shorthair)
Pippin lives down the road from Kevin and was initially his nemesis because Kevin resented Pippin coming up to his window and leaving ‘bum marks’ on the glass but after Pippin rocked up one day with a dried sardine in his mouth as a peace offering, they became firm friends.
Pippin is a free spirit, preferring to chase parrots, pretend he is homeless and targets old ladies in order to get more food. He claims that he belongs to everyone and nobody and has been known to do busking while singing the song of his people in the form of yowling and screeching outside his house at midnight in return for kitty crack.
Pippin attends TAFE and is studying furniture shredding and hopes to have his own art gallery one day.
Ned (Domestic Shorthair)
Ned is a kind hearted chonk and is pretty much friends with everyone. He can’t even walk down the street without other cats stopping him for a chat or call in for a bowl of milk and a catnip cigar.
Food is important to Ned and he has a habit of hoarding it in case Australia ever went to war because he simply cannot cope with the thought of going hungry. He is so convinced this will happen, that he has built an air-raid shelter out of the pillows on the sofa and stashed some catnip mice and kitty crack in there.
He has learned some impressive survival skills and can start a fire using just his nails and two sticks. Ned aspires to be the next jungle cat and in his spare time he likes to hang out where there are trees and bushes. This is so he can jump out and surprise people and shout ‘Caught ya’ which has become his catch phrase. One time his vet popped a thermometer up his bum and Ned squealed ‘Caught ya!’ in a high pitched voice which was better than swearing I suppose.
Diesel (Domestic Shorthair)
Diesel is a handsome boy with a busy life. He is always late for things and when he does show up, he puffs dramatically and arrives in a waft of floof, smelling of sexy cat pheromones and his pantaloons all messed up. Omar tells him off for it saying that any cat with pantaloons, should always have them nice and tidy. Diesel likes the wild look and spends ages fluffing up his fur to make it look as though he has a mane.
In his spare time, Diesel attends the local stage school where he hopes to get into acting, in particular for cat adverts. He already has some of the female cats throwing their collars at him and asking him for his ‘pawtograph’.
Diesel likes to dress up in costume and speak in a fake French accent to give off an air of mystery.
It was Christmas Eve and Kevin was sulking because his friends Oliver, Ned, Teddy, Omar, Diesel and Pippin had been talking incessantly about their plans and what they were going to get up to. Their humans were going to buy them gifts, Christmas stockings, treats and probably spoil them with prawns and cold meats. They were bloody going on about it and getting on Kevin’s nerves and Kev was tempted to tell them all to be quiet. Which is why Kevin was at home and not with them joining in the festive banter.
Christmas movies were playing on the TV, with all the usual favourites that people save for Christmas. There were no decorations though as Kevin would destroy them, you should see the fake plant he ruined, oh and the yoga matt as well and whatever he can pull off the walls. That is why we don’t have Christmas decorations.
Kevin was sat in his usual position by the dining room window. He had been waiting for ages for Pippin to call round but he hadn’t turned up, probably sucking up to his humans to get a better gift. Kevin scowled “I bloody hate Christmas! Brutus do you hate Christmas?”
Brutus looked sadly at his brother and knew that nothing could make Kevin change his mind on this one. “No Kevin, I love Christmas and I plan to have a good one catching up with my friends.” He did as well, Brutus knew that he would get more soft toys, a new collar and probably some nice treats so why wouldn’t he like it?
“Well I am off out, you can keep your Christmas cheer and stick it up yer bum!” Kevin shouted at Brutus and then in a flash, he was out of the window to see whose day he could ruin.
Ignoring him, Brutus carried on watching TV, occasionally farting and wagging his tail because he was so happy.
Once outside Kevin went straight to Pippin’s house and sat outside his window to see if he was home. Lifting his paw up to knock on the window, Kevin stopped when he saw Pippin and his human together in the living room. They were watching a Christmas movie together, Pippin was stretched out like a starfish next to his human and she was stroking his belly.
“Bloody idiot letting her do that to him. I would hate to be touched like that! That hand would be in pieces if that was me!” Kevin said out loud. He couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about just on that one day of the year. Why the bloody hell did humans have to get so ridiculously drunk and affectionate – declaring their love for everyone after a few glasses of wine?
Unless of course it was Petunia the cheeky little Persian girl. Kevin had a huge crush on Petunia and he would love to head boop her, except that he didn’t have the courage to tell her how he felt.
Kevin pushed his face up against the window, he knew that he shouldn’t because it would irritate him all the more but if he was honest with himself, it was also because he felt a bit left out of this ‘Christmas cheer’ when all of his friends were enjoying themselves. He didn’t see the point in it and found himself feeling isolated and lonely. Even if it was purely his own doing because of the wall of aggression that he had built up around himself.
There was no point in hanging around, he knew when he wasn’t wanted. Feeling irritated with life in general, Kevin decided to go back home so that he could hump his toys and work off his anger. When he got back to his house, he was so wrapped up in his bad mood that he didn’t see his friends Oliver, Ned, Omar, Pippin and Teddy standing outside his window talking to Brutus.
“You can try but I don’t hold out any hope.” Brutus could be heard saying.
Oliver licked his lips and straightened himself up. “He won’t be able to refuse!”
Shrugging, Brutus nudged the window open so the cats could all jump through it. They hadn’t noticed Kevin hiding behind the palm tree in his garden.
Should he run off now and leave them in his house with Brutus? He could you know, he could hide somewhere until they had gone and leave them to worry about him. It would serve them right for trying to spread Christmas cheer like butter.
Eventually curiosity got the better of him, and after washing his bum for a few minutes, Kevin decided to take himself and his bad mood back home because a tiny bit of him was quite glad that his friends had called round for him.
The window was still open and Kevin fully intended to sneak in unseen. This is somewhat hard when you are as large as Kevin because however you land, it is going to be with a thump.
“There he is – It’s Kevin!” Oliver chirruped to let Ned, Teddy, Pippin and Omar know that he had come home.
“I shall leave you to it, I am going to my kennel and will leave you to try and cheer this Christmas misery paws up!” Brutus wagged his tail and picked up his favourite squeaky hippo toy and went outside to the garden.
The Christmas Grinch
“We have brought you some stuff!” Oliver grinned and without waiting for an answer, he shoved a bag of treats in Kevin’s direction.
It is very hard to be grumpy in the company of a cat like Oliver. He has impeccable manners and is nicely spoken and has the most adorable little face, he also has the skill of being able to get cats to confide in him and cheer them up. Some say he should work for the kitty counselling group because he is that nice.
“Cheer up Kev, we have a night of fun planned for you!” Omar nudged him. He hated the thought of Kevin not enjoying Christmas and would never give up on his ginger friend.
“Is that a little smile I can see before me?” Oliver tilted his head to get a better look at Kevin’s mouth where sure enough, the beginnings of a smile were starting to appear. Kevin stood up on his hind legs and looked behind his friends to see if they were hiding anything, “I don’t suppose Petunia is with you?” He asked hopefully.
Oliver patted Kevin on his back, “Sorry old chap but I don’t think her owners would let her out to an all boys party.”
“Oh well, I don’t need her anyway – this is totally a boys’ party.” Kevin said unconvincingly.
“You my friend may as well join in because we are not going to shut up until you get happy with us!” Ned leaned towards him and gave him a rough head-boop and nearly knocked him over.
“If you don’t laugh I shall piss in your litter tray!” Pippin promised, knowing that it is a huge insult to piss in another cat’s litter tray, almost comparable to sneaking through another cat’s cat-flap to steal its food.
“You wouldn’t?” Omar gasped.
Pippin winked at him, “Might do, depends if he cheers up or not!”
But before they could say anything else, the cats were disturbed by a tuneless voice outside the window trying to sing Christmas songs.
“Silent night, it’s a full moon,
I am a cat with nice pantaloons
I am a good boy and I’d like some fish
Come to my house and please fill up my dish
My name is Diesel the good boy, My name is Diesel the cat”
“Who the hell is that?” Ned winced at the noise and put his paws in his ears to muffle the sound.
Omar shook his head, “That is Diesel – and he sounds drunk!”
“Party time! Now this is gonna be fun!” Teddy did a little dance with his front paws, hopping from paw to paw.
Kevin looked through the window to see Diesel standing there wearing a Christmas elf outfit. “What the bloody hell do ya think you’re doing?” Kev spluttered.
“Hello there Mr Bastard!” Diesel bowed to Kevin, “I have come to spread my Christmas cheer!” Then taking a leap through the open window, Diesel pounced on top of Kevin to wrestle him to the ground nearly splitting his elf costume in the process.
“Who would like a beer?” Ned loudly tapped on a glass to get everyone’s attention.
Diesel looked up and spat out a mouthful of Kevin’s fur, “Sounds good to me!”
Kevin momentarily stopped sparring with Diesel, “Yes please,” and then went back to some energetic bicycling with his hind legs – bicycling is where your cat kicks the crap out of something with its hind legs and is quite cute to look at unless it’s your arm, in which case it hurts.
“Diesel?” Kevin asked him after they had stopped play fighting.
“Yes my good man?” Diesel replied in his best English accent.
Kevin shook his head at Diesel’s outfit with his elf costume straining at the seams and his pantaloons puffing out through the gaps. “What the hell are you wearing?”
“Christmas spirit my friend, Christmas spirit!” Diesel grinned at him, “And don’t I look sexy!”
Only Omar managed to contain himself but as for the others, it was quite a few minutes before they managed to stop laughing.
It’s Party Time!
As the party kicked off, Kevin had suspended his grump and had started to cheer up. But not too much, because he had a reputation to keep up and being too happy would get people talking.
It doesn’t take much to get a cat drunk, not really, just a few cans of cat beer and they are pretty much done. But if you put a whole group of kitty friends together then they always drink far more than they should and that is when they start doing stupid things – a bit like humans.
Several cat beers later and it was all kicking off. Cans littered the floor, the smell of catnip filled the air as the boys took it in turns to smoke it or roll in it and after an hour or so, the cats were ready to take the party to the next level and do some party games.
“Let’s play truth or dare!” Oliver hiccupped, he was drunk. Not that he ever intended to get anything other than tipsy, but Pippin had mixed his drinks together and dared him to drink it. Oliver didn’t want to look silly and finished the entire can in one gulp and was so pissed that he was asking the other cats to pull his paw so that he could fart. Not that he needed permission to fart but there is something hilarious about getting it anyway.
“Oliver, stop it! Remember what happened last time you did this, you soiled yourself.” Omar reminded him sternly.
“OK then, I dare Omar to climb the Christmas tree!” Oliver nodded several times to each cat in the room so that they could see what a splendid idea it was. Such a fine idea, nobody else could think of it, he was sure of that, what a bloody genius!
“Yeah, OK.” Omar agreed, “Except that there is one little problem.”
“What’s that then, are you scared?” Oliver said and let out a huge smelly belch. Placing a paw over his mouth, he giggled “Oops, excuse me!”.
Kevin had forgotten his bad temper and stifling his laughter. Covering his pink nose with his paws, he couldn’t contain himself because Oliver’s manners were usually so perfect that he would even spray air freshener after using his litter tray.
“So what’s the problem then?” Oliver repeated.
Omar’s face was deadpan, he had this skill of keeping a perfectly straight face when he wanted to. Some say he has a poker face and I believe it too.
“There is no Christmas tree Oliver, they can’t have decorations here because Kevin eats them!”
Confused and drunk, Oliver bumped into furniture, swearing blind that he could see a Christmas tree and where the hell was it, and who had moved it because it was there a minute ago.
Whatever mood Kevin had been in earlier, had vanished as he, Omar, Ned, Teddy, Diesel and Pippin laughed at Oliver as he continued to search for the invisible Christmas tree while randomly saying sorry to his Mum for farting letting her down with his bad manners.
Pippin lay on his back drinking his beer from a straw, leaning to his side so he could see Kevin, he shouted “It’s Kevin’s turn for a dare!”
Teddy snatched the packet of catnip cigarettes from the floor and lit one up. He inhaled deeply and blew smoke out in funny shapes through his nostrils, “Kevin, I dare you to go and take a crap in middle of next doors pathway.”
Ned took a swig of his beer and wiped the froth off his whiskers, “I second that!”
“I bet you won’t do it, he won’t do it you know, he is too scared!” Pippin goaded Kevin.
Taking a deep breath, Kevin handed his bottle to Pippin, “Hold my beer!”
Omar raised his eyebrows, “Bloody hell, do you think he will?”
“Don’t know but let’s go and watch through the window to see if he will do it.” Pippin placed Kev’s beer on the table and the group ran to the dining room where Kevin had already got out through the window and was sneaking off to the neighbour’s opposite.
“How on earth can he cat shit on command like that?” Teddy shook his head in disbelief.
The boys watched Kevin creep off to the neighbour’s garden, his fluffy pantaloons resembling a pair of clown’s pants as he waddled down the path. Oliver always said to him that if he had balls under those pantaloons, he would be lethal with the ladies.
“Oh my days, look at him!” Pippin stifled a laugh and covered his mouth with his paw.
Kevin was not used to going to the toilet quite so publicly and he hadn’t been since the night before and was more than ready to go. He was so engrossed in the dare, that he didn’t notice the security light had come on, lighting up the path where Kevin could be seen taking a crap on the driveway.
But the others noticed it and they couldn’t shout to Kevin because it would just draw more attention to him.
A shadow of a lady appeared from behind the blinds and took a peak outside. She couldn’t see Kevin but the security light was still on and it was only a matter of time before she would come out to investigate it. Kevin was still doing his business and could not be hurried. We all know what that’s like, you can’t hurry the act of toileting because the more you try, the more you have to do and end up being stuck on the toilet for ages – forced to check Facebook on your mobile or do some online shopping.
Teddy had jumped onto the dining room table and was noisily knocking bits of paper out of the way. “What are you doing? This is no time to play games!” Ned panicked.
“I am looking for a torch. Ah, there is one!” Teddy picked up the torch and got off the table and ran back to the window.
The hallway light come on and they could see the woman behind the door, any second now she was going to open it and catch Kevin shitting in her garden.
“If we don’t do something soon, he is going to get caught and in to trouble!” Omar fretted, “Someone do something!”
“I could go and help him?” Diesel piped up, but his idea was quickly rubbished because there was no way that he could sneak out unnoticed in his elf costume. Still, the thought was there.
Teddy turned the torch on and shone it directly in Kevin’s direction and kept turning it on and off. “I heard that they did this in the war, it’s some kind of code or something.”
Pippin was impressed, Teddy was like an army cat that knew things that other cats didn’t, he had ‘street smarts’ and had done some outback survival training. No-one else would have thought about using a torch except for Teddy.
It was by some stroke of luck that Kevin looked up and saw the torch flashing from his window. He could make out the silhouettes of Omar, Teddy, Pippin, Ned and Diesel in his elf costume – all of them were waving desperately at him. It didn’t take long for him to realise that something was wrong.
Kevin heard the key turning in the front door and knew someone was coming out. With no time to run back home, he quickly ran behind the grass tree and buried himself in the branches. He felt their sharp edges poke into him and tangle up in his long fur. The security light had gone out at that point but the lady had already opened the door to see what could have triggered the light.
Not daring to move, Kevin stayed hidden by the grass tree until he heard the front door slam shut. Then the sight of the torch flashing again told him that the coast was clear and he could come back to his house.
Never had he run so fast, he ran until he got to the dining room window and in one jump, he was back inside the dining room where the boys were waiting for him.
“That my friend was brilliant!” Pippin coughed because he was laughing so much.
“Do you think she will see it when she wakes up tomorrow?” Kevin panted.
Diesel puffed air out of his cheeks, “My friend, there ain’t no missing that one. It looks like a bloody oak tree, I am surprised you didn’t name it!”
“Oliver, did you see what Kevin has done?” Ned shouted to him.
Oliver walked unsteadily to where the Kevin was and all he managed to say was “I am sure there is a Christmas tree here somewhere” Before he vomited up an entire chicken neck and passed out on the floor.
“Great, who is going to clean that up?” Kevin looked at them for answers.
“Hi boys, can I come in now, it’s a bit cold out here?” Brutus asked from the garden.
“And there’s your answer.” Teddy nodded in Brutus’s direction.
Time To Go Home
All good parties come to an end and this one was no different. Omar had booked a taxi for them all to get home safely so they could wake up in their own homes on Christmas Day rather than on Kevin’s floor wondering where they all went wrong.
Kevin stood at the window and waved as the taxi pulled out with Oliver’s head hanging out of the window, gulping in the fresh air and muttering stuff about missing Christmas trees and how he will never ever drink again.
“Are you feeling any better?” Brutus asked him and handed him a cup of water.
Kevin replied that yes, he was feeling much better, in fact his grumpy mood had completely vanished because he had enjoyed himself so much. He never used to have any friends until Pippin, Ned, Omar, Diesel Teddy and Oliver came along.
And those friends had made a big difference to his life and although he wasn’t happy all of the time, they made him happy most of the time which is better than nothing because a moment of happiness is better than an hour of misery.
Kevin yawned, displaying his healthy pink tongue and white teeth that have caused quite a few scars in their short life and put fear into a couple of vets as well.
“I am going to bed now, I could sleep for a week after this.” Kevin got up to go to his room.
“What do you want for Christmas Kevin?’ Brutus asked him.
Kevin tilted his head, “Money can’t buy what I want so nothing I guess. Merry Christmas Brutus.”
Brutus looked thoughtful and watched Kevin disappear into his bedroom room. He waited a few minutes by his door to make sure that he was asleep, then he trotted back to the living room, nudged open the sliding door and disappeared into the darkness.
Kevin wasn’t sure what woke him up the next day, it might have been Brutus insisting that he get up immediately because it was Christmas Day. It might have been his mobile phone beeping alerting him to the 23 text messages sent by Oliver during the night asking where the Christmas tree was, or it could have been the lady opposite standing in her garden, shouting and demanding to know why there was a huge turd in her driveway.
Kevin didn’t know which one it was but he suspected it was probably all of them.
Stretching himself, Kevin repeated under his breath “Today I am going to be happy and I shall not bite my humans because today is Christmas Day.”
When Kevin opened his bedroom door, he was greeted with the sight of Brutus clutching his new rubber squeaky pig. “Merry Christmas Kevin, you have to come into the living room to get your gifts. Oh yes; and you have some visitors.” Brutus barked excitedly.
Mustering up as much energy and enthusiasm as he could, Kevin stretched and checked his reflection in the mirror – he looked like a homeless feral cat with his fur all stuck together with catnip and beer from the party the night before. His mouth tasted like the bottom of his litter tray, my goodness whatever possessed him to get into such a state.
Walking slowly into the living room, Kevin was about to tell Brutus off for being too cheerful when he spotted Omar sitting in the chair. “Merry Christmas Mr Bastard!” Omar grinned. He didn’t get up though, in fact he didn’t move an inch – almost as though he was hiding something behind his back.
“What are you doing here Omar? Merry Christmas to you as well!” Kevin yawned, taken aback by the sight of him. He should be with his family, what on earth was he doing here on Christmas Day? “Brutus, you said visitors but there is only Omar – you need to learn to count!”
“I have a little something for you, it might cheer you up a bit Mr Grumpy Loons!” Omar grinned at him.
“I may have enjoyed myself last night but let’s not take advantage of the situation!” Kevin growled, “And what are you hiding behind your back?”
“Merry Christmas Kevin!” A little voice sounded from behind Omar stepped aside and revealed a freshly bathed and groomed Petunia, who was sporting her brand new pink diamond studded collar on her neck.
“I don’t understand, I thought you were not allowed to hang around with us?” Kevin fumbled his words but tried to remain composed so that Petunia couldn’t see how embarrassed he was.
“Let’s just say that your brother Brutus can be very persuasive when he wants to be.” Omar replied and winked at Brutus.
Sensing his embarrassment, Omar sat with Brutus to give Kevin some time alone with Petunia.
Not knowing what to say, Kevin pointed to the dining room. “Would you like to come and look out of my dining room window with me, it’s my favourite window and I get to see all the birds and everything?”
Petunia smiled at him, “I would love to.” She shuffled up to sit closer to Kevin and looked at the parrots in the palm tree outside. “You’re right, it’s a beautiful window to look out from Kevin.” Petunia nodded appreciatively and snuggled her little head next to Kevin’s.
And that was where they remained for some time while discussing Christmas, families, friends and all things nice.
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright December 2019
Thanks go to the following:
Thank you to the following people that have kindly provided me with photographs of their cats to use in this story:
Renee Lee, Stephy Jayne, Laura Antonia, Michelle Anne Bullas Au, Jazzy Flick Hill, Julia Soul and Ieva Christine – you guys have been great.
And finally, thank you to Laura Antonia, owner of the Perth raw cat food company – Raw Meow. She loves Kevin even when he is grumpy and gifted him some lovely things for his birthday, including kitty crack and a toy. If you live in Australia and are interested in raw feeding your cat, check out Laura’s Facebook page for Raw Meow.
All characters in this story are purely fictitious and any resemblance to real life cats is purely coincidental. Unless you want to admit to your cat smoking, drinking and living a life of debauchery, in which case everyone will think you are bonkers. I just write it as I go along and use the photos to help me get ideas.
The cats and their photos have been used with the kind permission of their owners. I have credited the photos according to the Facebook names which may or may not be the real names of the owners’.
The story is intended to be harmless and in good fun and no offence is intended.
Gigi the Italian greyhound – or Madam Gigi if you would like her proper title, had been feeling unwell due to her eating a bone. Being one for enjoying her food, whatever Gigi ate was no real surprise to anyone and you can just ask her human about the ‘lettuce’ incident at the Iggy Christmas party one year – honestly, that story is legendry.
She is a beautiful and glamourous dog with a very well-spoken and some might say, posh accent (In case you didn’t know, in my stories all animals can talk – you just have to believe it). Just imagine a wealthy lady with flowing scarves tied round her neck, speaking at least 32 languages, wearing huge over-sized sunnies smelling of gorgeous expensive perfume which leaves wafts of it wherever she walks. If you can imagine that then you can imagine Gigi.
Gigi’s brother – Rocco, now he is a different character altogether with a tendency to swear at random and inappropriate moments, fight with his invisible doggy friends (all dogs have invisible friends) and even attack his reflection in the mirror and bite his own hind legs for annoying him. Although Rocco may be scary on first impressions, once you get to know him he is an utter darling.
One particular day, Gigi was curled up on the sofa because she wasn’t feeling too bright because the bone that she had eaten was causing her pain and it was decided that her human Mum would take her to the vet.
About twenty minutes before the appointment, Gigi slowly got up to get smarten herself up, even in her time of sickness, she didn’t let her appearance slip up and while she was waiting for her human to get everything ready, Gigi was powdering her snout and spraying herself with her favourite perfume ‘Dog Eau De Ca Turd’.
Rocco was busy washing his genitals and not taking much notice of Gigi. It was girl thing you see, and he knew that Gigi had to be perfect before she left the house and if she was going on a lunch date with Nica and Zara, oh my goodness it put a whole new meaning to the words ‘Girl Power’.
But this time something made him look at her, something made him stop right in his tracks and REALLY look at her. Cocking his head to one side, he studied his sister who in between smoothing her fur down, was grimacing with pain and discomfort. “Are you OK Gigi?” Rocco frowned, then noticing that she was putting on her most glamourous scarf that she only ever wears for special occasions, he swallowed a couple of times and gulped.
Gigi took a deep breath before turning to face him and patted the floor a couple of times to signal for him to come over to her.
“No! No, I don’t want to hear it!” Rocco’s voice stumbled as he fought back the tears. “That scarf, that scarf – you said it was for a special occasion and you have owned it for years and have never worn it until today!”
“Rocco, we need to chat darling, come here.” Gigi said calmly.
“No, I am not ready to come over, I am busy, no Gigi, don’t make me!” Rocco cried, but he knew he had to and usually nobody could make Rocco do anything that he didn’t want to do, but this time he knew that he had to go and sit by Gigi to hear what she had to say.
“Good lad!” Gigi smiled encouragingly, “Now, let’s have that chat…..”
As the two Italian greyhounds sat huddled up next to each other, Rocco listened to his sister talk while at the same time, trying hard to be the big strong brother that he knew she really needed.
Suddenly they were interrupted by their human Mum calling Gigi to take her to the car. “Right then, this is it!” Gigi nudged Rocco with her pointy snout. “Give me a hug then!”
Rocco stared at Gigi and thought how nice she looked with her scarlet red scarf wrapped around her neck, her fur smoothed back, the silver-grey fur on her muzzle and round her eyes making her look distinguished and ridiculously gorgeous.
Leaning towards her to give her a hug, he thought how nice she smelt with her doggy cologne and just her own individual smell that all of our dogs/cats have and if you don’t believe me, go and smell your precious cat/dog now because they do have their own unique scent that simply cannot be replicated.
“Look after Mum for me and keep an eye out for Brutus, you know how he gets bullied by other dogs.” Gigi re-tied her scarf and gave Rocco a quick lick on the cheek.
“Promise you will let me know once you arrive?” Rocco whispered.
“You my dear brother, will be the first to know.” Then turning to face her Mum, Gigi allowed herself to be picked up and carried outside to the car. As Rocco ran to the window and pressed his snout up against the glass, he could see his Mum start up the car and drive off with Gigi in the back.
Rocco left the window and trotted through the house, going from room to room to check. He eventually he found one of Gigi’s toys which he picked up and carried on to his bed and then burying his entire face in to the toy to muffle any sound, Rocco started to cry.
When glamour walks into the room
A large white greyhound known as Bowie (AKA – the Gatekeeper) stood outside a huge brass gate. Holding a clipboard with some names on it, he impatiently pressed the button on his biro pen a few times and frowned. Everyone was in that should have been, well except for one – one dog was late. Checking the list again, Bowie realised who it was and laughed, “Now why doesn’t that surprise me!”
A tan and white self-important looking staffie was chowing down on some doggy treats in a bag. Delving his snout into the packet, he triumphantly pulled out a kangaroo flavoured biscuit before offering Bowie one. “Fancy one Bowie? Who are we waiting for?”
Bowie politely declined the treats, he was watching his figure and wasn’t as active as some of the other dogs. “You will know soon enough, it will all kick off when they arrive I promise you that.”
The staffie shrugged and muttered something about going for a game of tennis ball with the kelpies that were waiting for him. A handsome black kelpie with a white cross on his chest, waved in the distance and yelled, “Are you coming Rex?”
Rex wagged his tail, “Yes Rocky, I will be there in a second!”
Bowie winked at him, “Off you go lad – your mates are waiting for you.”
“Well, if you are sure…” Rex started to say but didn’t bother to finish because the temptation to play ball with the kelpies was just too much. Before Bowie got to say anything else, Rex was running as fast as his little legs would carry him to where the kelpies were and all you could hear was the typical ‘piggy’ and snorting sounds of an out of breath staffie dog.
“Thirty minutes late!” Bowie growled to himself, then lifting his head up high, his nose started to twitch as he picked up a scent. “Can anyone smell that? Smells like perfume?”
He could hear her before he saw her, in fact there was no mistaking that voice. “Darling, I am finally here! Did you think that I wasn’t coming? You must tell me absolutely everything!
“Oh God it is so good to not have that awful belly pain. They operated of course but I was so sick and had totally had enough of this old age lark. How amazing though, death-by-bone, what a way to go!”
Bowie laughed, it was hard to be annoyed with her. I mean, what a grand entrance to make and only she could carry it off, “Gigi, fashionably late as usual – loving the scarf sweetheart!” Then leaning towards her, he accepted her dramatic air-kiss on either side as Gigi made the ‘Mwah, Mwah!’ sound for effect as she kissed him.
Grabbing his biro pen, Bowie marked her off on his list. That was it for the day, the next intake would be tomorrow. He pointed ahead of him and nudged Gigi on her rump, “Are you ready then Gigi?”
Gigi looked longingly through the gates. It was better than she ever could have imagined, so beautiful with all the animals looking in superb condition and what is more, she could not wait to go through and start enjoying her new-found health, youth and vitality.
“Oh darling, I just need to let someone know that I am here if that is OK?” Gigi gestured with her paws.
“OK, off you go then, but make it quick sweetie as I want to watch a dog program on TV later and I have some mates coming over for some dog beer.”
Gigi sat down, closed her eyes and took a deep breath and whispered, “Rocco, Madam Gigi has landed!” Then standing up and wagging her tail, she trotted over to where Bowie was standing.
“Ready?” Bowie nodded at her.
“You betcha I am ready!” Gigi clapped her paws.
They both walked to the gates which opened automatically to allow them to go through.
As Gigi stepped over to the other side, with each step she became fitter, younger and more energetic until she became the age and fitness level that suited her best.
Over to where the kelpies were playing, one black kelpie in particular stopped playing ball with his mates. Glancing up he noticed Gigi walking towards them. Walking slowly towards her, the black kelpie beamed when he realised who it was.
“Rocky, you waited for me – I knew you would, now tell me everything about this place!” Gigi barked at him.
“Gigi, allow me to welcome you to Rainbow Bridge and you are going to love it…” Rocky greeted her warmly and led her to her new friends and a life that you and I as humans can only dream about.
At Rocco’s House
Rocco was asleep in his bed when suddenly he sat up and cocked his head to the side as though someone had called his name.
Getting up and having a stretch, Rocco looked up and started to wag his tail. He smiled and said in a quiet voice, “Thank you Gigi.” Then picking up his mobile, he texted his good friend Pippin Potter.
At Pippin’s House
Pippin Potter was in his office organising the Iggy Christmas party, it was the most anticipated and looked forward to event of the year and Pippin positively relished in organising it.
“Latte, can you come here please I have a job for you!” Pippin called out to his younger sister. But before he had chance to follow up on the conversation, his mobile phone beeped and a message flashed up from Rocco. Dabbing his pointy snout with his favourite blue silk handkerchief, Pippin picked up the phone and read the message.
“Pippin, I was busy you know, I am not your servant!” Latte sulked as she barged into his office. Then noticing the look on his face, she stopped in her tracks, “Is everything OK?”
Ignoring Latte, Pippin quickly composed a group text and then hit the ‘send’ button, “Go and get Bronte, I need to tell you both something”.
At Zara and Nica’s house
“I can’t believe she has gone.” Nica shook her head sadly as she had always been good friends with Gigi.
Zara snatched some handkerchiefs from the tissue box, wiped her eyes and then noisily blew her snout afterwards. “I just don’t understand why she had to go, why did she have to go Nica?”
Nica being a much more sensible dog than Zara, smiled kindly at her sister. She wasn’t used to discussing Rainbow Bridge and had no idea that really was the best place for animals to go when their lives and purpose with their humans was done. “It was her time Zara, there comes a time in every animal’s life where they need to make their journey to Rainbow Bridge and today was Gigi’s.”
“Nica?” Zara asked her sister.
“Will Gigi like it there?”
“Yes, Zara she will love it,” Nica answered truthfully. And with that answer, Zara had to be content.
At Rocco’s House
Despite Pippin Potter offering the group support for him, Rocco had declined, saying that he preferred his own company. He had even sent his invisible friends away so it was just Rocco and his own thoughts.
Rocco sat on the sofa and glanced around the living room. Gigi’s toys were where she had left them in the corner by her bed which had her favourite blankets still moulded into her shape where she had slept. Her bowls in the kitchen with the uneaten kibble and tiny paw prints where she had bought in some mud from the garden. Rocco wondered how could so much of her still be in the house without her being there?
Taking a deep breath and puffing his cheeks out, Rocco went to pick up Gigi’s toys. One by one, he tidied them up and placed them next to her bed then once he had finished, he pressed his nose onto her bed to take in her scent before getting in to her bed and curling up on the blankets. After a few minutes all you could hear were the gentle snores of an exhausted and heartbroken dog.
A couple of weeks later
“Go away, I hate everyone and no I am not interested!” Rocco barked furiously at whoever was knocking at his door. He had been a grumpy-guts all week, refusing to talk to anyone or discuss his feelings. Even Brutus couldn’t get through to him and that was saying something.
“Rocco my friend, it’s Pippin. Can you open the door – talk to me, you can’t stay shut in here forever.” The quiet, posh voice of Pippin Potter sounded from outside, in his well-spoken ‘BBC English’ accent that everyone knew and loved.
“Leave me alone! I don’t need any of you – bollocks to you all!” Rocco yelled.
Pippin sighed, there was nothing he could do or say to break down the invisible barrier that Rocco had built up to keep everyone away and for the first time ever, he didn’t know what to do and Pippin always knew what to do.
Gigi had been at Rainbow Bridge for a few weeks but had still been keeping an eye on Rocco from above to see how he was coping. She was not happy with what she saw, she really had believed that Rocco would have started to move on or at least allowed his friends to be there to support him.
Rocky the kelpie and Gigi were relaxing on the sun loungers by the swimming pool one day. They often enjoyed one another’s company and would do respectable things like go to the opera or have dog beer while reading upmarket magazines and newspapers while discussing sheep herding or current affairs.
The pool really was rather marvellous non-slip rocks scattered on the edges. Balls and toys were everywhere for the dogs to play with and even some inflatables that magically stay inflated no matter how many times they are bitten. There were bottles of water and dog beer on the little round tables next to each sun lounger and bowls of dog biscuits and treats for those that wanted them.
A golden Labrador was swimming lengths in the pool while occasionally diving for his favourite rope toy. He was being cheered on by a brindle whippet who was coaching him. The pool was big enough for all to enjoy but the Labrador still kept a respectful distance from Gigi and Rocky because he thought that Gigi did not look like the type of dog to enjoy getting wet. He was right as well because later Gigi told him that she would actually melt if she went in the water and the Labrador never forgot it.
“He is in a pretty bad way Gigi, what are we going to do?” Rocky took a mouthful of his dog beer, savoured it in his mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it and giving a little belch. “Excuse me!” Rocky covered his mouth with his paw and blushed. Thank the Lord that Gigi hadn’t noticed as Rocky would have been mortified.
“I think it’s time that I sorted this out once and for all!” Gigi said firmly and placed her drink back on to the table.
“Do you think he is ready?” Rocky asked as he stood up, stretched and walked to the edge of the pool, “After all – there is no going back if you do this.”
“Absolutely, I know my brother and he is more than ready. He just doesn’t know it yet.” Gigi gave a confident nod and raised her drink, “Cheers, here’s to Rocco!”
“To Rocco!” Rocky barked and dived into the pool to retrieve a tennis ball that he could ignore no longer.
One Month Later
Rocco had been in the foulest of moods since Gigi died. He had even taken to insulting strangers that knocked on the door and had told one salesman that he hoped that his testicles would fall off and be eaten by the crows.
His days were spent sitting by the window calling the neighbours dogs ugly and telling the poodles down the road that their hair looked shit. He had stopped hanging out with his invisible mates and had become so withdrawn from life that he wouldn’t even talk on the phone to his friend Brutus.
Anyway, it was one afternoon and Rocco as usual, had his grump on and was busy swearing at himself on his bed and chewing his own leg because it had moved without his consent. On hearing his human put the keys in the front door, Rocco quickly curled up into a ball so that he could pretend to be asleep – that way his human would think twice about disturbing him.
The door opened and Rocco felt a blast of fresh air infiltrate his nostrils, he closed his eyes tightly and shuddered out a big sigh. But then something else hit his nostrils and the scent was so strong that it may as well smacked him in the face and despite not wanting to open his eyes, the presence of something staring at him was that intense that he had no choice but to open them.
“Hello there! I am Cilla, I am going to be living with you! How jolly nice this house is, do you have any toys? I love toys, do you love toys? Where is my bed? Would you like to play? We are going to be lifelong friends! Aren’t you excited? I am excited!”
Rocco was horrified to be met with the sight of a beautiful blue/fawn and white Italian greyhound puppy of about 8 months old. And like all Iggy puppies, she spoke fast while asking a plethora of questions and changing the subject several times in the process.
It’s not often that Rocco is lost for words but this time he was. He sat up, rubbed his eyes and watched little Cilla squealing with excitement as she ran from room to room, frantically circling every time she picked up a scent.
“Oh, look what I have found! How lovely, can I keep it?” Cilla ran up to Rocco with one of Gigi’s soft toys in her mouth.
“No! Get that out of your mouth now! It’s not yours, that is Gigi’s!” Rocco shouted at Cilla.
Startled, Cilla dropped the toy and scampered behind the sofa whimpering.
“That’s not yours to take! Gigi would be furious if she were here!” Rocco growled and picked up the toy to take back to his bed.
Too terrified to move, Cilla remained behind the sofa and eventually fell asleep in a tiny ball with her long legs folded up like a dead upturned spider and Rocco being the stubborn boy that he is, didn’t want to move either.
But Rocco needed to know more about this imposter. I mean she could be anyone – she could be intending to steal his toys, his human and everything. Curiosity got the better of him and he decided to go and check her out.
“And another thing, you can’t just come in here thinking that it’s your home….” Rocco began to say but stopped when he saw little Cilla.
She looked so tiny and had a sweet puppy innocence about her. Where everything is exciting and wonderful, where every toy belongs to you, where everyone loves you and thinks that you are marvellous. Puppies often get into the wrong hands and don’t always end up in a good home and Rocco knew that from stuff his mates had told him.
Cilla’s ears were neatly folded back on her head, her nose tucked under her tail by her bum. She had that delicious puppy smell that pups tend to have. It reminded Rocco of Zara, Latte and the other puppies that he had seen in the Iggy Club, puppies that he had grown to know and love.
Gigi would have loved her for sure and probably given her the toys because Gigi delighted in other dogs being happy and relished in making them so. Cilla was a blank canvas and Rocco realised that he could teach her everything he knew and how to be the best dog that she could be.
Feeling a huge pang of guilt that he had been so mean to her, Rocco went back to his bed and picked up Gigi’s toy. Careful not to wake her, he gently dropped the toy by Cilla’s paws and stared at her for a few minutes. Snuggling into the toy, Cilla made a few little puppy moans of contentment.
“I guess that Gigi won’t be needing that toy after all.” Rocco thought to himself. The temperature had dropped and Cilla shivered a little in her sleep tucking herself even tighter to keep warm.
Gigi used to love it when Rocco curled up next to her and they would keep each other warm. That was just what they would do for each other you see, it was what you would call a team effort I guess.
“Oh, alright then, if you insist!” Rocco shrugged and curled up on the floor next to Cilla. Shuffling across towards her, he felt her shivering to keep warm. Pressing himself closer towards her, he rested his head on her neck and it wasn’t long before he was fast asleep with the only thing between them was Gigi’s little stuffed toy.
Always room for a little one
Gigi was alone in the gardens of Rainbow Bridge. She had been there for a few hours while having some quiet reflection.
“Everything OK Gigi?” She heard Rocky’s voice from behind her.
Turning around, she beamed at him. “Yes, my friend, it most certainly is…”.
And the moral of the story is, when one beloved pet leaves our lives, it paves the way for another one to enter. It doesn’t mean that we love the old pet any less, it just means that there is always a space for another pet to love. It gives them a chance to have a loving home and it gives us the opportunity to love again and at the end of the day, a short time of loving a pet is far better than not loving one at all.
Dedicated to Tunamara Dolce Gigi 2006-2019
This story has been published with the kind permission of Rocco and Gigi’s human – Gwynneth.
It is Kevin’s second birthday on 10th July and despite the fact he is a feral turd with a liking for playing noughts and crosses on my legs, I have decided to spoil him by making him his own little cake, buy him some toys and video his party for Instagram where he will be joined by his internet cat friends from the Raw Meow group plus maybe some others in Insta. One would think that Kevin would be excited by this but you all know Kevin, he is grumpy floof and is annoyed because he can’t have friends to the house – never mind the fact that he would probably combust with territorial anger if he saw another cat.
This afternoon Kevin was pretty much ignoring me and Brutus and was busy doing his thing in his room. His ‘thing’ by the way could be anything from shredding his cat post, humping Tony Abbott or waiting for tuxedo cat to rock up (he didn’t).
“For God’s sake, he is such a selfish cat. We haven’t had a window fight in ages!” Kevin grumbled loud enough for me to hear him from my office.
I ignored him because I was busy, then I heard a crash from the dining room which jolted me out of my creative streak that I was blissfully in. Now I don’t know about you, but I have learned to tell exactly what my pets are doing judging by the sounds they make.
For instance, certain crashes indicate the air freshener can being knocked on to the floor. Other noises could point to Kevin wrecking the blinds (and he has – all of the ones in the dining room). Or it could be the sound of his biscuit bowl knocked over (he has a bag of Ziwi Peak to try that our friend gave to us, so far he isn’t amused but we keep trying).
Either way, there was a noise from the dining room. Jumping up out of my office, I quickly went to check what the damage was and found the remote control for the roller shutters on the floor. Kevin was looking boot-faced and exceptionally pissed off.
“What is the matter with you Kevin?” I went to stroke him and felt a sharp bite to my hand – the little shit.
“I don’t have any friends and tuxedo cat hasn’t been here for a good window fight in ages. There is no point in anything, no-one appreciates or understands me!” Kevin complained.
“That is because you are a miserable bastard, you threaten tuxedo cat every time he comes to the window and when we try to pet you, you bite us!” I shrugged, “Would you like me to continue?”
Kevin looked somewhat dejected as he started to wash his anus with his ginger hind leg held rigid in the air with his toe floofs on display.
I picked up the remote and went back to my office, followed by Kevin still grumbling about ‘his lot’.
About ten mins later he started meowing at me – loudly. “Yes Kevin?” I asked him.
“If I am going to have a cyber party with my friends from the Raw Meow group, will you brush me out so I look nice – including my pantaloons?”
I said yes, that would be no problem.
“Am I really going to have a kitty cake? Tell me about my birthday cake?” Kevin pestered me.
I watched him as he looked on in wide eyed excitement when I described his cake which is going to have some King prawns on it and whatever other raw delights I can think of. I described the number ‘2’ candle that would be on it – yes, we shall attempt to light it as well.
I told him how we were going to buy him his toys and some treats. But it wasn’t the toys and cake that made his day, oh no – it was the promise of his Instagram party and a video being recorded of him with his cyber family.
“Mum?” Kevin asked me.
“I hope tuxedo cat turns up to watch from the outside so he can come to my Insta party.” Kev said quietly.
“Anyone would think you were getting soft in your old age Kev!” I laughed.
By the time I came out of my office, I found Kevin curled up on the sofa asleep, no doubt dreaming about kitty cakes, Instagram parties and his friend/enemy – Tuxedo Cat.
We have a cat that lives a few doors down from us, he is quite nice and is a black and white tuxedo cat. For some reason he likes to come and sit by our window, stare at Kevin and ask him about his day.
Except that Kevin is not the friendliest of cats as you know and he can swear fluently in several different languages.
So you can imagine his fury when he first saw the tuxedo cat come to our door as though he owned the place. He isn’t an aggressive cat, in fact I have seen him outside his house a few times when I drive by and I swear to God that little cat waves at me and gives me a nod of recognition when I go past him.
A few weeks ago we heard the most blood curdling squeal from Kevin that I have ever heard. Jumping up from the sofa, I ran to the dining room and saw Kevin all floofed up, standing at the window while tuxedo cat sat outside and did gestures with his paws about coming in for a bowl of cat food.
“You black and white tuxedo bastard! How dare you come on to my property! I am going to eat you, crap you out and then eat you again and then I shall use your whiskers as dental floss!” Kevin swore at the glass and proceeded to smack the glass with his paws because he was so furious.
Kev got himself that wound up that he ran over to Brutus and swatted him and Brutus didn’t know where to put himself. “What did I do Mum?” Brutus said looking mortally wounded. Reassuring him that he hadn’t done anything, I told Kevin off for his behaviour.
“And you can bugger off as well!” Kev shouted at me and swiped my leg (His nails weren’t out).
“I say, would it be possible to come in for a cuddle and a snooze on your sofa?” Tuxedo cat shouted to Kevin through the window.
“Piss off!” Kevin bristled back and ran to the window again, whacked his head on it and then grumbled, “That bloody hurt! Mum, he hurt me, did you see that?”
“No Kevin, the only one I can see kicking off is you! He has only come to say hello!” Picking up Kevin, I carried him to his bedroom for ‘time out’ where I could hear him shouting and threatening to call his lawyer and the police if we didn’t let him out to defend his home and family. Never mind the fact he was swatting his family with his huge floofy paws, oh no – he had conveniently forgotten that.
Anyway, it all quietened down and tuxedo cat eventually left after doing a phone gesture with is paws while shouting ‘call me sometime’ or something similar.
Tuxedo Battle Part Two
Kevin has always enjoyed a bit of neighbourhood watch and will spend ages at the window or if he hears anything outside, will run up to the window and stand like this for long periods. This has escalated since tuxedo cat came on the scene.
The other week Kevin was pressing his nose against the glass and keeping an eye on things when he spotted tuxedo cat at the dining room window again. He was sitting there looking smart with his white tux, little white markings on his face – if he were human, he would be a teenage boy called Rupert, all suited up for his first Prom.
“Hi Kev, are you coming out to play? Or I can come in your house to share your humans if you like?” Tuxedo pleaded from outside.
“You are SO bloody needy! Why don’t you get your own humans?” Kevin voiced his disdain and started yowling and spitting.
“Oh God, he is at it again! I am out of here!” Brutus jumped off the sofa.
My husband went to tell Kevin to stop it or at least distract him but by the time he got to the window, Kevin was punching the window like a champion boxer and threatening to call his friends in to assist (Kev has no friends, I think he might need some invisible ones and even then he would hate them).
The insults were traded mainly by Kevin and tuxedo just sat quietly until he got pissed off and insulted Kevin’s mother Daisy. You never insult a cat’s mother, especially Kevin’s mother Daisy – she is disabled with only 3 legs and Kev won’t hear a word against her.
Kevin stomped off to his room with his pantaloons all puffed out and tail resembling a bottle brush. By that time Tuxedo had gone and I honestly thought that I wouldn’t see him again after that incident.
That was until the next morning when I drove to work and spotted him at the end of his driveway clutching his kitty newspaper ‘The Daily Tux’, he gave me a curt nod to acknowledge me and I smiled back. Then when I got to the end of my road there was ANOTHER identical cat just like him, also sitting at the end of his drive and he gave me a curt nod as well. It was like some secret club for tuxedo cats and it was pretty creepy the way they were both outside their properties when I went to work.
Thank God only one comes to the house though – or maybe it’s both of them and they take it in turns to wind Kevin up. Who knows? Not me that’s for sure.
Tuxedo Battle Part Three
It was one night this week and I was watching TV when I heard the sound of Kevin talking – he sounds like the character Mick Taylor from Wolfcreek, imagine him saying ‘What the bloody hell do ya think you’re doing?’
“Have you got a death wish or something? Ya bloody idiot!” Kevin hissed at the window.
Brutus was in the garden so could hear it all and he started to bark at the fence and tell tuxedo to ‘get off his land or he will be sorry!’
Kev was quite pleased with this act of solidarity and growled, “My brother is Brutus will sort you out and he is bigger than you!” Unknown to Kevin, Brutus was at the gate mouthing the words ‘Sorry, only joking!’ to tuxedo, being the gentle boy he is and not wanting to make enemies – especially of the feline variety.
Well I was damned if I was going to pick Kevin up while he was so angry. Once Kevin has gone into ‘brush’ and is all floofed up, you would have to be mad to touch him.
And as quickly as it started, it all stopped. Tuxedo’s owners must have called him for his tea or something because he suddenly turned round and then glanced at Kevin, “See you tomorrow?”
“Same time tomorrow!” Kev nodded back at him and gave him a paws-up to confirm it, no further growling or anything.
Later that night it was all back to normal. Kev was humping Brutus’s beloved doll, Brutus was looking on in disgust and I was wondering if this ‘Tuxedo Battle’ will ever end. Why does this little black and white cat like to sit outside my house?
Last night Kevin sat by the window for two solid hours without moving. “That bloody tuxedo cat hasn’t turned up for our window fight and he promised he would, I mean how rude, he insulted my mother Daisy so now I have to insult his mother, but I can’t if he isn’t here!” Kevin looked boot-faced at the audacity of it all.
Where it will all end is anyones guess but something tells me that the ‘Tuxedo Wars’ will carry on for a while yet and when we are not there, they probably chat to each other and drink tuna beer for cats. That’s what I reckon anyway.
Brutus now has an invisible Kelpie friend called Derek and before you laugh at me, please hear me out.
Now many of you may remember in my stories, that Rocco the Iggy also has some invisible friends that he fights with. All dogs have the capacity for invisible friends because they are ideal to blame when beds explode or things get chewed or holes dug in the garden.
Your dog can look remarkably innocent when you discover stuff that has been destroyed and you can bet your sweet life that the invisible dog has done it. It’s an unwritten rule all over the world that dogs (and cats) will deny any naughtiness even if the evidence is smeared on them or still in their mouths.
Invisible friends are also good if you are happen to be a grumpy non dog social kind of dog and you still like to have a good mate. You can chat to your imaginary friend, you can fight with him/her and no-one gets hurt and just hang out with them when you feel lonely.
Brutus has never needed an invisible friend before because he had Rocky. I will freely admit that since Rocky died, Brutus has been a shadow of his former self and is clearly missing having a companion.
Of course the answer would be to get another dog but financially we are not in a position to do so – you all know how much I would love another kelpie and I can’t even watch Red Dog now because it hurts so much. But that is another story.
Brutus has taken to interacting with frogs, birds – in fact whatever he happens to find in the garden. I have spotted him play bowing to a frog in the garden, play bowing to the magpies and more embarrassingly, chasing a butterfly in the garden and wagging his tail (I am being serious).
So it should come as no surprise that he joined the ranks of Rocco and got himself an invisible friend and this is how it all came about.
The arrival of Brutus’s invisible friend – Derek
One night Brutus was busy filling up his scrap book with cutouts of kelpies. Carefully licking the pictures, he clumsily slapped them onto the book. Tilting his head to the side, Brutus admired his handiwork – well they looked a bit wonky but that was OK, he didn’t mind.
He didn’t know why he was doing it, he guessed it just made him feel better and he would pretend it was his family album to comfort himself. Closing the scrapbook, Brutus grabbed a chunky marker pen and wrote in untidy scrawl ‘My Scrap Book’ and then put the book down on his bed.
He was suddenly brought back to reality when his mobile phone rang, glancing down he saw a picture of an Iggy flash up on his phone, the photo was of Rocco doing a rude gesture with his paw.
“Hi Rocco, what’s up?” Brutus answered his phone while outlining the cover of his scrapbook with his nails.
“You know you wanted a new brother?” Rocco asked him.
Brutus shrugged, “Yes, but you know it can’t happen, Mum said we can’t afford it.”
“Well you know I have an entire group of invisible friends that don’t cost a thing to keep.” Rocco barked excitedly down the phone.
Brutus had never considered having an invisible friend before and wondered if his mates would rip the piss out of him for having one. But then again, Pippin said most dogs have invisible mates, some are just well hidden and there is no shame in it either because it’s jolly nice to have one to bark at the garbage truck with.
“Tell me more, but I am not sure I can believe in this so I am making no promises!” Brutus sat on his bed and made himself comfortable.
And as Rocco explained how it all worked, he frequently stopped talking to Brutus so he could tell his invisible mates to stop interrupting or he would bite their arses off.
Brutus wasn’t convinced, I mean how on earth can you form a bond with something you cannot see, let alone make friends with it?
The Next Day
Brutus got up as usual, had his breakfast and went out into the garden. He had forgotten his conversation with Rocco the day before and was busy sniffing every single blade of grass to check that nothing had moved during the night.
“Excuse me, am I at the right house? Are you Brutus?” A posh public school English voice shocked Brutus out of his morning garden ritual. Quickly turning round, he spotted a middle aged red cloud kelpie with ginger tufts above his eyes and a patch of ginger fur in the shape of a huge bow tie across his chest (kelpie owners will know what I mean by that).
The kelpie clutched a kelpie briefcase and wore a pair of round kelpie spectacles on his head. He looked pretty smart and Brutus instantly knew that he had been to kelpie university because his briefcase had the same emblem on it that Rocky’s had.
“Who are you?” Brutus frowned, but wagged his tail at the same time. It made a wonderful change to talk to another dog in his own garden instead of a frog, parrot or butterfly.
“The name is Derek, pleased to meet you. I am your new brother!” The red kelpie nodded to Brutus and held his paw out for him to shake, “Is this my new garden? It’s jolly nice I must say.”
Brutus looked puzzled and looked round for his Mum. She was busy washing the car and didn’t even notice the handsome kelpie in the garden.
“She can’t see me old chap, only you can see me. Oh and maybe your friends, but only if they want to. Invisible friends take some getting used to and some dogs don’t feel a need for it really.”
“My goodness she must love you judging by the amount of fur you have left on those car seats.” Derek burst out laughing, he was standing on his hind legs peering through the rear window and looking at the fur on the seats.
Brutus remained where he was and waited for his Mum to notice Derek who was now busy rifling through the toy box looking for one of Rocky’s old tennis balls that his humans did not have the heart to throw away.
“Tennis balls! My life is complete!” Derek grabbed a tennis ball, threw it into the air and watched with delight as it bounced past the car on the pavers.
Brutus’s Mum looked up just in time to see the tennis ball roll past. She looked at Brutus who was standing near the grass, that was strange as Brutus has never been one for tennis balls and never plays with them.
“That’s funny, that sounded just like what Rocky used to do – throw his tennis ball down the driveway.” She said wistfully and picked up the tennis ball and threw it back in the toy box.
“I know Brutus, I miss him too.” Giving Brutus a pat on his rump, she picked up the bucket and car wash stuff and made her way back into the house to make a cup of tea.
“Fancy a game of chase round the car?” Brutus grinned at Derek.
Derek wagged his tail, “I thought you would never ask!”
As Brutus did laps up and down the garden, he realised that Rocco was right, these invisible friends were good fun and he was already looking forward to stealing Kevin’s food and blaming it on Derek.
Because that’s what friends are for (well, invisible ones anyway)