Wright's Aerials

The Annexe of Irrelevancies

We have no cats

Finally, we have no cats. It was natural wastage that did it. No cats were dismissed, made redundant, redeployed, or transferred to other branches. No cats were remanded in custody, although if there were prisons for cats I think all of ours would have all spent time inside. No cats were driven up to the moors and slung out of the car door, although sometimes, well . . . let’s just say I did get a bit exasperated once or twice.

Quite simply, for the last 12 years I have had a rigid policy of taking on no new cats. There have been plenty of applicants though. They have appeared almost daily at our door. Experienced middle aged cats claiming skilled rodent operative status. Elderly genteel cats in reduced circumstances, desirous only of a quiet home in which to spend their declining years and assuredly and most definitely not incontinent, not even slightly. Even baby cats, irresistible to all except me, orphaned and in dire straights, mewing piteously, have been unceremoniously rejected and sent on their way. “Oh Dad, it’s snowing!” “That’s not my fault. Anyway, they’ve got fur.”

 Not long ago the last cat made her exit. She’d hung on and hung on, finally becoming quite helpless, and when we took her on that horrid one way trip the vet took one look and unquestioningly reached for her lethal needle. This cat had done well for 17 years, but the time had come.


Blacky (rather fierce), Ginger (pretended to be fierce, but he was a big sissy really), Spook (a seemingly respectable old lady with a shadowy past), Susy (the cleverest of cats), Charlie (her brother, the dimmest of cats), Dandy (short lived), and Tiger (Carolyn's first love).

Cat highlights:

  • When Susy went silently upstairs, then suddenly urine came out of one of the living room lights.
  • When Blackie reached out to steal my forkful of food, but misjudged it. His paw went into my mouth and I had a severely lacerated tongue and lower lip.
  • When I was testing some big speakers and Spook jumped vertically up off the beanbag and had diarrhoea in mid air.
  • When Ginger would jump on the windowsill and lean on the door handle to let the other cats in or out.
  • When Hil ran Charlie over. He used to go to sleep in cardboard boxes in the road. The wheel of the Volvo went right over him. He was flat. I picked him up and he cried. I put him down on the ground and he sort of swelled back into shape like in the cartoons and walked off. The vet couldn't find any damage (still charged plenty though). 
  • When I was ill and immobile for two months. Every day Charlie came upstairs and settled next to me, sometimes licking my face and purring.
  • When I had to tell Carolyn (12) that her beloved Tiger was dead. The worst thing I've ever had to do (amazingly).
  • When we walked up the field and a cat would follow, only to stop at the edge of her territory and meow at us, as if to say “You’re going over the edge of the world!”
  • When Spook gave birth in a cardboard box in the field, and Louise (10) thought the little tails hanging out of the bottom belonged to rats.
  • When Spook would run across the yard in her inimitable way, her back end not quite behind her front end, like a 'cut and shut' car, nervously dodging from cover to cover like a guerrilla fighter.
  • When I was up a tree and I chopped off a really big branch and then saw Charlie sitting directly below, looking up with gormless interest. He lived, by some miracle.

But now we have no cats. We can leave food on the table unguarded. We don’t need to do a headcount when we hear brakes screech outside. We don’t have to deal with occasional nasty smells in inaccessible corners. All of these are good things. But somehow, it doesn’t seem right. The house seems very empty.

I think I’ll get a dog.  

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