Pussy

For five years we lived in a small two bedroom flat in Onehunga.

It was quiet, and close to One Tree Hill. But, its best feature was it came with a free cat.

Well actually, it was the neighbour’s cat, Pussy. Pussy was a runty little calico, whose legal owners didn’t seem to do a very good job with the actual owning part, and were hardly ever home. Poor little Pussy would be stuck outside forever beaten by the gang of neighbourhood cats.

So, I adopted him. We never fed him, as apparently that would be akin to cat theft, but he was allowed to live with us while his owners were away.

Now, Pussy wasn’t very smart. He seemed to have less mental capacity than a garden snail. Maybe it was the repeated cat beatings.

We studied cat psychology and for years tried to rehabilitate the timid little creature. First we tried loosening his flea collar, thinking that maybe it was too tight and cutting off the oxygen supply to his brain.

Then, we made elaborate cat toys, to try and encourage more natural hunt-eat-groom-sleep cat-like behavior.

But all to no avail.

Still Pussy was good company, and I felt by providing him with a temporary home, in a small way I was making the world a better place (even if Pussy was too dumb to notice).

Eventually though, my two hour daily commute to work got the better of me and we moved closer to work. I had to leave Pussy behind, no matter how much I tried to reason otherwise. Apparently taking Pussy with us, really would have been cat-napping.

Abandoning him was traumatic. I was convinced he wouldn’t survive the cold harsh world outside without having our warm flat always open to him. I mourned his passing.

Then this weekend we decided to head out to One Tree Hill for a spot of roller-blading to work off some excess calories consumed during a cup-cake party.

Afterwards Beau suggested wandering past our old flat.

“I don’t want to. Pussy’s dead”. I told him. “He’s not there any more”.

But we headed down that road nonetheless. As we came to the GPS coordinate that apparently is still the default home location in the Navman simulation software, we came to a stop.

We stood there, looking at the familiar row of brick flats. Nothing had changed.

There was no sign of Pussy.

“See, he’s gone”, I said.

As we wandered past, I glanced down the long narrow concrete path at the back. At the very end was a blurry gray blob.

“Look! There he is”, exclaimed B.

“Pussy”, I called. There was no movement. “Pussy”, I called again, quietly. Again nothing. I called him a few more times, remembering that he was a bit slow, and it might take him a while to recognise me. But there was no change. Maybe it was a different pussy. Or maybe he was just really retarded.

Just as we were about to continue on, the grey blob started meowing. Then, he came bounding down the concrete path, mewing the entire time.

The timid little kitty ran up to me, and excitingly began streaking around my and B’s legs mewing constantly.

Pussy recognized us.

I patted the purring quivering little thing, but he seemed too excited to notice as he was busily running around our legs. Having firmly re-established a relationship with my legs he than began rolling about on the concrete footpath in a very contented cat like manner. Perhaps the most normalistic behavior I had ever seen from him.

We stayed a few more minutes, but then it was time to go.

B tried to assure me, that in his raspberry-sized brain probably only a few minutes had passed since he last saw us, and we could visit him again in a few years time to say hello. I wasn’t convinced.

As we turned around and headed back up the road, Pussy bounded past us, up to our old flat waiting expectantly.

But we didn’t turn into the drive. Pussy watched us leave. And for the second time I felt heart-broken (on a stupid-cat-level kind of way), leaving him behind.

All this time I had just thought he was a mentally retarded cat.

But, after two years Pussy still recognized us and even remembered where we lived.

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3 Responses to Pussy

  1. David says:

    That’s a very bitter-sweet story!

    I’ll stop now before talking about Oliver Cat.

  2. Alicia says:

    Why didn’t you take the kitty home, Michelle?

  3. michelle says:

    Apparently that would have been theft : (

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