Cats and Memories of Macavity

Jun 13, 2013 by

Macavity’s the mystery cat: He’s called the hidden paw – For he’s a master criminal who can defy the law.
T.S Eliot

The only positive impact school had on me (I hated it) was English, or poetry and prose as it was charmingly called. I can still remember so much of what we had to learn off by heart.  I was always in trouble in school for regurgitating stuff that looked like I had copied it word by word. I hadn’t; I just had a photographic memory. I could remember car number plates, telephone numbers and the most obscure facts.

I always loved the above line from T.S Eliot’s poem. We never had cats at home, always dogs. Dad used to let the dogs out at night and would shout “cats, cats” to them as an incentive to charge down the garden barking madly.

One time he did this and a small runty little kitten was cowering on the path.  I remember screaming at him to take the dog in and I rescued the kitten.  I had rescued magpies fallen from their nests and guinea pigs threatened with the chop. The kitten was just next in the line.

My mother hated cats and referred to the cat as “pukey guts”.  The poor cat was always referred to as Puke after that. I studied for my leaving cert with her always perched on my lap.  I loved her.

Years later when I first moved here, it was necessary to have a cat and there has been a large throughput. Some were killed on the road, others disappeared and one died from Feline Aids.

The current incumbent is Kitty or Fat Kitty. We realised a long time ago there is absolutely no point naming a cat in this house.  They are always referred to as kitty.  Has kitty been fed, will you let kitty out, where’s kitty etc.

Kitty was dragged out of a farmyard barn, where he was part of a litter living down between big round hay bales.  It was a case of put your hand down and pick the first kitten you can get hold of.  There was more than one litter there. They were very healthy, as surprisingly the farmer liked them and fed them but they were completely wild. Kitty came home and had to be bathed as he was so smelly. Then he got a cold and every morning I had to clean his eyes and nose.  He recovered and is as odd as the dickens today.  He distrusts every human (except us). He vanishes when the door bell rings – up underneath my bed usually.  My brother refers to him as “the phantom cat”.

But he is a character and is still a big kid.  When I first got him, Piaf the Jack Russell was a puppy and the two of them played incessantly together. When Piaf had her puppies last August he played with them.  He still plays with the two I kept.

Now I have Spitzy, found on the side of the road a couple of weeks ago (recognise the pattern here?) Spitzy, so called as every time I opened the door to feed her she spat at me. She has settled in now and is getting braver and braver. This morning I found her and Fat Kitty tumbling around the sitting room, playing hide and seek.  She plays with the puppies and even sleeps with them in their beds.

I can’t imagine a life without animals. We have always had them here. For a short period when one of our much loved dogs was killed on the road and both kids were at boarding school and I was working full time, we had none.  Every time I reversed the car in the driveway my son said “mum you would really miss the welcome a dog gives you”. He was right. 

Tags: Macavity  T.S Eliot  Cats  Dogs  Rescue animals

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