Miss having a cat 2005-03-30

There is something extremely compelling about Wil Wheaton's writing. Even when writing about how he has to let go
to save it from further suffering, he manages to do it in an upbeat way by telling the story of how they found him in the first place that immediately made me miss having a cat. Even if the bad thing about having an animal like a cat is that you inevitably outlive it and have to let go.

The last cats we had was when I was still living with my parents.

We got this grey, violent, extremely agressive furball of a female that my parents got talked into it by the previous owners who had to get rid of her due to an allergy.

She was the most brutal cat I've ever known, frequently hiding in the berry bushes waiting for birds. Not sparrows, or similar tiny things, but magpie's, crow's etc. Once we found 3-4 of them under a bush - she never bothered eating them.

Another time a magpie was teasing her on the lawn, seemingly at safe distance. It reached maybe a meter up into the air before our cat was sitting on it's back and forcing it to the ground. Then she let go and waited for it to take off again before jumping on top of it yet again.

After we'd had her for a while, we ended up with another litter of kittens. We kept one of them, a tiny little male that was entirely black.

He was shy and passive from the start, and as he was growing up his mom was quite a bit too watchful - she used to hide behind the curtains and hit him with her paw whenever he passed by (he never learned to spot her or avoid her - silly cat).

You couldn't help feeling sorry for him, and I think his demeanor and the way he was treated was what made me so much more attached to him than his mother or the other cats we'd had over the years.

His mother did keep trying to teach him to hunt and kill but he just wouldn't learn. I don't think he ever did - he was more dependent on his humans than any other cat I've known.

One winter his mother didn't return from one of her nightly trips. Probably run over by a car, but we never found out for sure. With any other cat I'd say a fox might have been a possibility but given how ferocious she was, I'd pity the fox that would have tried attacking her.

Sad as it was, after that our black cat "Svarten" ("svart" is black in Norwegian - not very original) started coming into his own. He livened up, though he was still a real coward.

At the time my parents had a bird, and my brother a couple of rabbits. You'd think they'd have a hard time keeping the cat away, but not so - in fact, once one of the rabbits where left out of it's cage alone home with Svarten. We suspect the rabbit got cornered and gave him a real kick or two, because after that he was afraid of rabbits too...

Whenever the bird was let out, he was even stranger, refusing to even look in it's direction. If you tried getting him to, he'd turn his head away. Fighting temptation perhaps...

A few years after he was born, my parents for some reason decided to get a dog. I still don't understand why, considering the number of animals they had.

I was so angry when I found out, because it turned out Svarten was not the kind of cat you try to get to live with a dog - he promptly moved out and in underneath the house, and stayed there for many years, only coming in for visits when I was around and the dog out of sight - always carefully looking around to see if he was safe.

He was extremely affectionate those times whenever he decided it was safe enough - insisting on curling up on my chest purring when I was going to bed.

A couple of years after I moved out, he finally got up enough courage to move back in, but by then his best years were over. He soon after started developing liver problems, and one weekend I went back to visit he was gone. They'd forgotten to tell me they'd had to let go...

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