My mother phoned up to tell me my cat was in hospital. My parents have had custody of her ever since I moved back to Sydney. The cat’s okay, my mother was very good about quizzing the vet about her pathology results, but is being kept on a drip for the moment. I think she’s taken ill in a monumental fit of the sulks having spent the last couple of weeks in a cattery whilst my parents were visiting me. The excessive hot weather has probably not helped either. This led, because of the cloying morbidity of my soul, to me thinking of how I will cope when she does eventually die. I haven’t lived with her for some six years so I suppose she hasn’t really been mine in that time. She was, however, a birthday present. My sixteenth birthday present [who would have thought that my parents would end up with her?] to be precise. I was given a live present at this odd juncture because our previous pet, also a cat, had been mauled to death by dogs some six months before and it was felt that I missed him the most as we were used to sitting up together until late in the night.
I remember going to get her – it was a great secret that had been guessed by some of my friends – we went after school to the shops with me still not being told what was going on. And we stopped, just for a look, at the pet store. There were four or five tiny little grey and white kittens with a sign on the cage stating that they were half Burmese. My mother told me to pick one of the kittens. I remember that she wasn’t my first choice, the all-over grey one was already spoken for; she was the next greyest and possibly the funniest looking kitten ever. Huge ears [her head has mostly grown into them], a tiny little body with big kangaroo back legs, and with her feet mittened in white and her belly likewise. She was cute but funny and with a truly crazy temperament. I named her after a demon I’d seen on a French movie – though it has always been shortened and she has picked up an astonishing array of nicknames – a name that she well lived up to. Until I left home she was always my cat, she wasn’t much interested in anyone else. Of a night, if she were tired, she’d round me up to make me go to bed. She would fight with me and punish me if she were pissed off. She’d always head into my air-conditioned bedroom and snuggle up with me under the blankets. Of course, now she does this with my parents and sulks at me when she sees me – ‘oh you, the one who went off and left me to be tortured heinously’ her looks will say as she marches up and down the bed purring for my parents’ attention. I’m sure that tomorrow night she’ll be doing exactly that and casting them looks about how evil they were to take her to the vet and how she suffered before they knew she was ill. It’s sad that I kinda wish that I was the one getting her attention.
Get well, Lady Grey, dream of me.