Kevin, Old Cats and Second Chances

Photo by Lenin Estrada on Pexels.com
One day with an old cat is a day to be treasured

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.

Brutus likes to get respite from Kevin sometimes
Photograph by Samantha Rose

“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.

Neighbourhood watch with Kevin who likes to yell abuse at stray cats
Photograph by Samantha Rose

“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.

“Yes Boris?” 

“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.

‘Kevin the bastard’ – but not always one
Photograph by Samantha Rose

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.

The End

*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’.

When we first adopted our little spitfire – Kevin
Photograph by Samantha Rose

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.

You can donate (if you wish) to Pawscatrescue https://pawscatrescue16.wixsite.com/pawscatrescue , details are as below:

BSB: 124001 Account Number: 22495190

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