In light of the sad demise of Malcolm-the-strangely-named-cat-from-Australia, I felt that the Lifestyle Support Guru needed to shine a little beacon of light and fluffiness into your lives – that is my reason for existing, of course, so I wish to tell you a story of another cat from faraway places. I make no apologies to the non-cat-lovers among you, since I hope you will find this tale sadly amusing (or amusingly sad) as well.
Strangely enough, this other cat, like Malcolm, was ‘bequeathed’ to me by my youngest sibling, known as TOFU (Trefor OF ‘Ull), when he returned from a lengthy stay in South Africa and brought Tubs, a semi-long-haired ball of black fluff and a loud voice, back with him. I make no comment on the names that TOFU chooses for his cats – I simply put it down to some defect suffered at birth – but it did make for interesting looks at the vet’s when they would call out ‘Tubs?’ and I stood up.
Tubs lived a long and happy life as the only black South African in my neck of the woods in Derby, until he took to his sick bed. Late one Sunday evening it was obvious that he was distressed, so I wrapped him in a blanket and lay next to him downstairs to keep him company until I could get him to the vet the next day (yes, for any non-animal-lovers, the LSG has human feelings too); however, at about 3 am he got worse and he suddenly died. Take it from me that there is very little one can do with a dead cat at 3 o’clock on a Monday morning, so I took myself off to bed and rang TOFU early the next morning to tell him the sad news. TOFU said he would come down from ‘Ull that evening and help me dispose of the body.
The next morning, I had French A Level oral exams to do, so I took myself off to work, finding out later that my A Level students thought my haggard face denoted a sleepless night worrying about the exams rather than a nearly-sleepless night worrying about a dead cat. Luckily, the orals went well (the students got the good grades they deserved) and I girded up my loins to go home after school and face the walk into a house with a dead cat wrapped in a blanket lying in the back room.
TOFU arrived not long afterwards and looked only mildly surprised to find Tubs lying in the back room, merely asking why I hadn’t put him out in the garden rather than leaving him in the house. ‘But it’s been raining,’ I replied with perfect logic, or so it seemed to me. My brains may have been a little addled by now, through tiredness, exams and, probably, a low-ability Year 9 French class.
Anyway, the rain having stopped, TOFU dug a deep hole in the flowerbed into which we put Tubs with all due ceremony. TOFU explained that the hole needed to be deep so that any subsequent owners of the house wouldn’t come across a pile of bones should they decide to replant the flowerbed. I have to say that the plant that marks the spot goes from strength to strength (which is not something you can say about most of the other plants in my garden, although the dandelions seem to do rather well). And then we went off to the pub to drink Tubs’s health.
This morning, I rang TOFU to tell him of Malcolm’s trip to that great scratching post in the sky. I later got a text asking what had been done with his body and I replied that he had been cremated and I assumed that he didn’t want the ashes back in a tasteful little urn to adorn the mantelpiece. ‘Thank goodness,’ came the reply. ‘I’m still traumatised by the memory of burying Tubs and was worried you’d want to do the same for Malcolm.’ And on that note, I shall pour a glass in honour of Malcolm, saying only that I shall miss him following me to the bathroom in the morning or lying across my neck when I’m having my afternoon siesta.
Enjoy using those long claws in Cat Paradise, Malcolm – you’ve earned it!