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
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.
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.
Kevin as you may know, is our ginger cat – the one we adopted a week after Gordon crossed over to Rainbow Bridge because quite simply, we could not be without a cat and our little home was incomplete without one.
For those of you that haven’t read that blog entry of how we said goodbye to Gordon and how Kev came into our lives, the link is here:
Well he is actually rather magnificent and at the time of writing this, he is 1 year and 9 months old and weighs 7.5kgs. He is a feral bastard – which is why we call him ‘Kevin the bastard’, a title that is more than fitting of his personality.
Kevin attacks my legs, he bites them when he wants attention, he bites them when he is pissed off and he bites them, well just to tell me that he loves me and I now have brown scars all over my legs comparable to a game of noughts and crosses.
Kevin has also turned out to be a bit of a pervert. No, he does not have his testicles as they were removed over a year ago but he still seems to have ‘needs’ and these ‘needs’ involve humping the dogs toys.
He humps the toys while clutching his goldfish fishing wand in his mouth although sometimes he likes to hold the squeaky squirrel but the fish is his favourite ‘sex toy’ which he drags round the house until he finds what he wants to hump. We did try removing all of the dog toys which was not fair on Brutus, but he ended up humping Brutus and of course, Brutus was shocked and disgusted and so am I because this afternoon (8th May 2019), Kevin was rubbing his face on my husbands shoes while trying to hump my foot.
“Mum, can you please get Kevin off my Tony Abbott doll!” Brutus protested once while Kev went at one of the Tony dolls like a champ. “That is disgusting!” Brutus added. I gently reminded him that it wasn’t that long ago that he (Brutus) used to try and hump my arm when he got overexcited while holding a Tony in his mouth.
“But that was different!” Brutus blushed. He was right though, Brutus wasn’t trying to get his ‘jollies’ so to speak but Kevin does (we have to wash the toys once a week now).
The squeaking from the toys grew louder as Kev worked his way round them and he even sorted the gingerbread man out. “You are just jealous!” Kev sneered at Brutus. Brutus turned away because he couldn’t think of a suitable reply.
This went on for quite a while but actually it is a daily event and we just try and ignore him. Well I say ignore him but I shall admit to taking several videos as Kev now has his own Insta account and I post the videos and photos on there and Kev is getting quite a following. Here is the link if you are interested – http://@Kevinthebastard
Kev admired his nails and said sweetly, “Do you like your legs?”
Stupid me didn’t even realise what was about to happen, so I pretty much deserved it really, “Yes Kevin, I like my legs, why do you ask?”
“No reason.” Kev grinned and took a swipe adding to the already growing collection of scars that make me look as though I have been hurting myself on a regular basis.
Another time he got turd caught up in his pantaloons – and for those not in the know, pantaloons are the back end of a long haired cat. If you check out their floofy legs, they actually look like baggy pantaloons – have a look for yourself if you don’t believe me.
It was no mean feat to clean those shitty ginger trousers and I had to wrestle 7.5kgs of angry semi feral cat who was insulting me and threatening to eat myself and my family in the night and even when I told him that my family live in the UK, he still threatened to eat them.
Kevin is so difficult to handle that he has been prescribed a sedative from the vet to enable me to bring him to the vets or if I need to trim his nails, so please don’t be fooled by the cuteness of the floof because he really is a bastard and lives up to his name.
Kev is a highly strung, nervous semi feral cat who gets upset if his routine is even slightly out of sync. If we are late putting him to bed (yes he has his very own bedroom), he starts to knock things off the TV cabinet – mainly the modem but will graduate to whatever else may be on there or the coffee table.
One time we had pest control come to do a termite inspection and we had to shut Kevin away. After the guy had gone and my husband went to let Kevin out, Kevin panicked and scratched the crap out of my husband. He did say sorry afterwards and begged for forgiveness, but that was only because prawns were involved.
My House – My Castle!
Kevin is highly territorial and doesn’t welcome other animals into his house, especially cats and he even gets upset if he can see them outside the house through the dining room window. We had a bit of an incident one Sunday with the tuxedo cat from down the road calling round to see us. He often knocks on our front door and asks to come in for a chat – you know me, I would happily chat to him but Kevin said that hell will freeze over before that happens.
This cat is quite cute and I sometimes see him on my way to work sitting outside his garden doing cat stuff. He waves at me and always says ‘Good morning’. Unlike the horrible tabby tom cat complete with testicles that used to piss up my windows and door and call my old cat Gordon a bastard and threaten to shit on my car.
That all ended quite abruptly when I purchased some citronella crystals from the vet to scatter by my door. The last I saw of that tabby cat was him stomping off down the road with testicles and attitude, saying that I had ruined his life.
Anyway, back to Sunday. I was curled up on the sofa watching a movie. Brutus was on his sofa in the dining room and Kevin was being a nosey bastard at the dining room window. Quite suddenly I heard Kevin make a blood curdling screech and his language was pretty ‘choice’ as well, some of it I can’t even repeat.
“Oi! What the hell do you think you are doing? Sitting by my window like it’s yours!” Kevin screamed so loudly that I jumped up off the sofa to see what was going on. I was greeted at the sight of Kevin in full ‘toilet brush’ where his fur had floofed up so much that I could have used him to clean my toilet.
“Let me get that cheeky bastard, I shall kill him with my own paws!” Kev hissed and spat as he attacked the window and flipped the bird at this other cat.
The tuxedo cat outside did not move an inch. He sat there grinning at Kevin while making gestures with his paws and shouting something about ‘no need to be so hostile’ and ‘could he possibly come in and share a bowl of meat or something?’
This of course ended with Kevin getting so upset that he told the tuxedo cat to piss off, then ran over to poor old Brutus who was on the chair, smacked his bum (Kev didn’t have his nails out at all), then chased Brutus into the living room, swiped my legs (nails still not out thank god) and chased me around the house.
Tuxedo cat shook his head and merely walked off down the garden while doing a telephone gesture at Kevin saying ‘Call me’. Kevin who was in more states than Australia, went to his litter tray to take a piss and angrily kicked his litter everywhere to prove a point.
“Well I don’t know what that was all about but I am the goodest boy ever!” Brutus mumbled, still alarmed at why his bum was swatted with Kevin’s huge paws when he was indeed ‘the goodest boy ever’ and rarely if ever did anything wrong.
“Two words” I said to Brutus, “Tuxedo Cat”.
Brutus sighed and muttered something about never understanding cats and especially never understanding Kevin.
I will admit to that tuxedo cat being a bit odd though, he reminds me of something out of a horror movie where these mysterious cats keep appearing just before something happens. He keeps coming to my door despite Kevin threatening to take him out and shit down his neck and each morning I see him sitting outside his house waving to me in the car. I reckon he has another tuxedo friend or brother because at the end of my road, there is another identical cat who also sits outside his house and stares like he is judging my life choices.
It’s almost as though there is a secret tuxedo society that watch my every move and speak in their own language and it is their sole aim to antagonise Kevin and taunt him to watch him lose his temper. Or perhaps I am being paranoid – who knows, not me that’s for sure and don’t ask Kevin, he still hasn’t recovered from the other night.
So What Makes Kevin So Special?
Kevin is feral, aggressive, hard to handle – impossible for the vet to do anything with unless sedated. I think in the wrong hands, Kevin would end up back in rescue. He only just tolerates children – providing they don’t touch him and completely ignore him. If he escaped, there is no way he would be caught. Which is why we are so vigilant with him and actually put him before any visitors that we may have and we would never have children staying with us because we can’t trust kids with him and we certainly can’t trust Kev with kids.
At the time of writing this blog, Kevin bit my hand and latched on, he didn’t draw blood but it really did hurt. He did this because I had shut him out of my office so I could concentrate on my writing and by the time I got out to see him, he was sitting on the kitchen counter looking boot-faced and furious with his pupils dilated in a ‘I am going to kill you’ kind of way. I had upset his routine, his evenings with me and had left him alone in the living room.
With Kevin, we work with what we have, we read his signals or at least try to. We make the most of his good points because when Kevin does allow you to cuddle him, he will ever so slightly relax in your arms and you get the slightest and faintest purr from him and occasionally he dribbles and when you get that kind of affection with him, it’s like you have won the lotto and not just his love for that moment.
He follows me everywhere, to the bath and even to the toilet and it breaks his ginger heart if he can’t find me which makes me feel awful when I have to shut him out of my office because he won’t let me work.
We can never be complacent with him because he can be quite affectionate one day and almost like a normal cat but if something upsets him then he can be spooked and aggressive the next. One funny little indicator of him being upset is that his little nose puffs up and turns what I call ‘electric pink’, we can always tell when he is upset just by looking at his facial expression and in particular, his nose.
So why did we pick Kevin?
When we first adopted Kevin and brought him home, I recall him smacking his legs to the floor, hissing at me and taking a swipe at my hands. He was 7 weeks old when he did that and we knew that he was not going to be an ordinary easy to handle kitten.
He was ginger, he was feisty, he had no fear and he marched up to my husband like a short man with a purpose. I knew he would fit in with us and I knew that he needed to hold his own because at that time, he would be living with two big dogs.
Not all cats are loving, gentle and easy to own. Some of them are nervous, aggressive and need to be accepted as that way which is exactly what we have done. And when you take on a cat like that, you commit to him/her no matter what but most of all, you need patience and lots of it.
Kevin is a young adult cat now, he humps toys, he steals things, he bites, he gives the occasional magical head boop which is often followed by a bite on the nose and he knows exactly what he likes and doesn’t like in his life and relies on us to look after him and protect him.
To have that kind of understanding and mutual communication with him, means we need a certain level of trust between us and him. I think we have that now but he is still a work in progress and we can never drop our standards in care for him and let our guard down.
Kevin is a character, we have never owned a cat like him – ever. He makes us laugh, he makes me cry – especially when he bites my legs and I truly mean it when I say that you have to meet him to believe just what a character he actually is.
Why Kevin when we could have had a ‘normal’ cat? Well why not? He belongs with us, we are the ones that know him best and love him the most.
He is a bastard, but he is our bastard and we think he is pretty darned awesome.
Dedicated to all carers of feisty feral cats in the world – wherever they may be
Kevin – he has carved his own place into our home, hearts and legs/hands/feet
(Photograph by Samantha Rose)
Brutus asks Rocky to stand by The Brutus Tree
(Photograph by Samantha Rose)
Today Brutus and Rocky were in the garden by ‘The Brutus Tree’ – which is Brutus’s favourite tree, the one he likes to stand under and gaze at for hours on end, especially when it is a full moon.
It all happens under this tree, doggy meetings, trying to pull next doors cat out of it, chasing rats up the tree, catching rats, staring at the tree because invisible dogs might come out of it. You name it, it happens under The Brutus Tree. Rocky doesn’t quite get the magic of it all but does enjoy chatting over a dog beer with Brutus under the tree while putting the world to rights.
It was a beautiful sunny morning in the garden, there was that smell of freshly cut grass mixed with warm sun and fresh air that makes you think that Spring is on its way along with excitement, rabbits, smelly bones, fox shit and opportunities.
‘Do you know what day it is today Brutus?’ Rocky asked his brother.
Without even turning round, Brutus cocked his head to the side, ‘Why yes, it’s Mum’s day off of course’, he said happily and carried on staring at his tree.
Rocky rolled his eyes, ‘Have another think about it!’.
Brutus slowly turned to face Rocky, ‘Yes of course I know, I just don’t want to talk about it.’ then shrugging, Brutus walked to his water bowl where he could be heard slurping up his water in messy great big gulps while Rocky looked on trying to decide whether or not to play with his tennis ball or chase the invisible dogs that frequented our garden.
‘Rocky?’ Brutus asked the little kelpie.
‘Come and sit by the tree with me.’ Brutus said firmly.
‘Why?’ Rocky frowned, ‘You are obsessed with that tree!’
‘Special things happen under that tree, you mark my words.’ Brutus said knowingly.
Rocky got up and went to join his brother where they both sat upright and focused on the top of the tree.
‘Why are we doing this, what will happen?’ Rocky asked him.
‘You will have to trust me on this one….’ Brutus growled. And with that, Rocky had to do just that.
Inside the house
I was making myself a coffee while taking frequent glances at Kevin to see what he was up to. His solid fluffy ginger body was wrapped around Rockys blanket. His back legs bicycling furiously as they kicked, Kevin repeatedly muttered stuff such as ‘Bollocks’ and ‘Death to all humans’ as he fought and won a nasty battle with the red blanket on Rocky’s bed.
Basically everyone was going about their business, it was a typical Sunday morning with nothing unusual about it.
I walked into the spare room which is meant to be an office but kind of looks a bit messy as other stuff has migrated into it. You know what it’s like, put it out of sight and it’s out of mind and your spare room fast becomes a home for things that have no other home but still gets called ‘the office’.
I took in the sight of the room and its clutter and remembered how it used to be. The grey plastic bed on the floor, the litter tray, the food bowls, the toys but most importantly, Gordon.
This was Gordon’s room, or at least it used to be. He loved that room as well, where as Kevin just didn’t like to be in it which is why we moved him to the front room so he could see the parrots and the dogs. But Gordon really loved his room.
Gordon’s room after he crossed over to Rainbow Bridge – oh so empty!
Photograph by Samantha Rose)
I felt a lump in my throat, it was exactly a year ago today that we sent our precious Gordon to Rainbow Bridge and I remember it clearly as though it were yesterday. Driving along to the vets while playing Lion King – Circle of Life in the car as we drove our 15 year old majestic ginger cat to complete his final journey from London to Perth.
I still miss him and while it sounds daft to some, the gap he left in our house was and still is enormous. Kevin has not replaced Gordon by any stretch, but he has carved out his own place – both in our house, in our hearts, on our leather sofa and on my legs/hands/arms (with his nails).
‘I miss you Gordon, I miss you so much it hurts,’ I said out loud to nobody in particular. Biting my lip to stop myself crying, I walked into the dining room to see what Kev was up to. Spotting him playing with the blinds and shredding the shit out of the dining room chair, I smiled and went back towards the kitchen.
‘Well he’s a handful isn’t he? In my day we had more respect’ A ginger voice piped up from out of nowhere. A familiar ginger well spoken English ginger voice and one that could simply not be mistaken.
‘I said in my day we had more respect!’ The voice repeated loudly.
I felt my heart racing, taking a deep breath I turned round – Kev was still playing, oblivious to everything, he had heard nothing. I could no longer hear him swearing (Kev has Tourettes and swears like a trooper as you can gather). Kev’s mouth was opening and closing, I could see him mouthing the word ‘Bollocks’ but no sound was coming out.
‘Your eyesight is failing you, we shall need to get you a Labrador to guide you,’ The ginger voice laughed.
I quickly looked into the dining room again and there sitting on the orange sofa that was once his, was Gordon looking young, fit and handsome with his ginger coat looking thick and plush.
Gordon – making a guest appearance in my imagination
(Photograph by Samantha Rose)
‘Gordon, no way! I thought only animals could see each other once they have crossed over, I must be dreaming!’ I babbled and then promptly burst into tears.
‘Yes, well you always have been a bit special. What is it with you talking to the parrots in the morning, such a traitor – you can’t trust those galahs you know!’ Gordon grinned at me and then looked at Kevin who did not appear to see myself or Gordon.
‘You have been through the wars haven’t you,’ Gordon said as he weaved himself in and out of my ankles, ‘I have been watching you.’
I wiped my eyes and sniffed, ‘It’s been a tough year and Kev is hard work.’
Gordon laughed, ‘I could eat that for breakfast!’ he nodded at Kevin who continued to fight with himself on the floor.
‘I am so sorry, so very very sorry!’ I blurted out, and I was as well. Sorry for keeping him longer than was good for him, sorry for not doing what was right for him sooner and just, well sorry for anything I may not have done right.
‘You did what was right in the end and life is pretty good now you know,’ Gordon replied. ‘In fact, it’s rather marvellous, besides – I couldn’t have done it without that final cuddle.’
That final cuddle to send him on his way
(Photograph by Samantha Rose)
Sitting beside him on the orange sofa, I pleaded inside my head that Kevin would notice us – but he didn’t or couldn’t.
‘He can’t see me you know, his time for seeing me is done and it is also his time to become the cat of the house. He has no need to see me.
‘This is your turn and you are exceedingly lucky to have it,’ Gordon explained and snuggled into me and added, ‘Not all humans get that chance.’
He had the same delicious ‘cat smell’ that I remembered, he felt so plush and soft, yet solid in build. His purr was loud and comforting it and his health was as it used to be when he was young.
We sat for what seemed ages chatting about Rainbow Bridge, about Rocky and Brutus, about Kevin and our lives as they are now.
‘Well I had better go now, I have a mouse meeting at Rainbow Bridge shortly and I don’t want that tabby down the road getting the upper hand,’ Gordon stood up, shook his tail and had a good stretch.
Oh no, it was going to hurt all over again and I simply could not stand it. ‘Do you have to go, can’t you stay long enough for the dogs to see you? Please, I will do anything!’ I pleaded with him.
Gordon yawned, his eyes focused on me while Kev still played and swore silently on his own and in his own world. As though an invisible yet unbreakable barrier separated us. I actually do not know who was in their own world, myself and Gordon or Kevin.
‘One last hug?’ I asked him.
‘Go on then!’ Gordon relented and allowed me to pick him up.
Gasping at his weight, he must have weighed over 7kgs, ‘I am in my prime don’t forget,’ Gordon laughed.
I closed my eyes and breathed in his scent, cradled his solid body, smoothed his fur and felt his purr as it rattled out of his throat.
(you will often find your cats/dogs will smell unique to you and have their own wonderful smell and if you don’t believe me, go and sniff them).
‘Goodbye my darling boy and thank you!’ I cried quietly into his fur.
‘No, thank YOU!’ Gordon whispered back.
My moment was rudely interrupted when a voice yelled, ‘What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing? Have you got some kind of death wish?’ Kevin’s voice ripped through my ears like a child with a sinus problems (Kev sounds like a kid with bad adenoids when he meows).
What the heck? – Ouch that hurt!’ I opened my eyes just in time to feel Kev latch on to my arm and kick the shit out of it. I had been cuddling Kevin all along.
‘I do not DO cuddles – ever!’ Kev said looking absolutely furious. Then jumping out of my arms, he walked off taking his floofy arse with him and went into his litter tray.
‘No, I guess you don’t….’ I half laughed, half cried and wiped my eyes. Kev was in his litter tray muttering something about ‘shitting for Australia’.
‘Don’t know what you are looking so happy about, I’ve got turd in my pantaloons and you will have to brush it out!’ Kev hissed at me and took a swipe at my leg.
I walked over to the window and saw Rocky and Brutus under the Brutus Tree, still staring at it without moving or even blinking.
Outside in the garden
‘Are we done yet? Can we stop staring at the tree?’ Rocky said impatiently.
Brutus turned round and saw me looking at him through the patio door. I smiled at him, he looked so cute with his huge ears and big brown bum.
Brutus wagged his tail, ‘Yeah, I think we are done now!’
‘I still don’t get what is so special about that tree?’ Rocky shook his head.
‘It’s magic that’s all, it just makes things happen,’ Brutus replied as he admired his tree.
We were all curled up on the sofa – well we had given Kevin had a wide berth as he likes to attack feet but other than that, we were snuggled up about as much as you can with a ginger ‘kitten shark’.
‘Mum, can you believe that it’s a year today that Gordon left us,’ Rocky nudged me with his snout.
I smoothed Rocky’s ears down and told him that yes, I knew that and it is also coming up for a year that we bought Kevin home.
‘And don’t you forget it either! I could eat you all if I wanted to!’ Kev growled and then bit my foot hard (no really he did bite me and I have the scar to prove it).
‘Yeah and don’t we know it! I heard that you tried to eat the vet and the nurse yesterday when they tried to cut your nails!’ Brutus said to Kev before looking at Rocky and saying ‘He did you know and rumours have it, he tied them both up and cooked them for tea with nachos!’
Kev said nothing and looked somewhat smug curled up on his blanket with his beloved squeaky squirrel between his paws. He had found his place in our little family and he knew it.
‘Brutus?’ Kevin asked him.
‘Yes Kev,’ Brutus said hesitantly while trying to tuck his legs under him to stop Kev savaging them.
‘Can I ask you about that tree in the garden…..?’ Kevin replied.
Brutus looked at Kev with a surprisingly wise look for such a young dog, ‘It’s a magic tree Kevin and one day when you are old enough, I shall tell you all about it.’
And with that Kevin had to be content.
Magic – we all need a bit of it in our lives, it just helps the world go round.