It has been a much slower week than intended writing-wise. This is, as usual, largely due to me sharing my home with a host of furry dickheads. I realise that once again I am going to encroach on the kind of writing that Tom Cox will always do much better than I can (for some of my previous lengthy wittering about cats and dogs see here and here) but this week has been very trying, and so this might be the last piece I ever write about my animals.
Because I am going to get rid of the lot of them – the dozy little fuckwits*.
When my wife told me that she was going to be away for two nights on a school 'learning outside the classroom thingy', my immediate reaction was that I would be able to really get my head down and knock out a few thousand words on the book I am currently embroiled in writing. My second thoughts reminded me that the last time she had done this, it had resulted in the death of one of her rabbits – the vet assured me it would have happened even if I had remembered to feed him that morning, but I still think I might be a bit responsible. Sorry Vince (Da Vinci for long) I did like you a great deal, but you were a difficult rabbit at the best of times.
Obviously I had this in mind this week, and ensured that the rabbits and Guinea pigs were locked in at night, let out in the morning, and well fed. Nothing went wrong with them – although they did encroach on my morning pre-work writing time a bit, and the newest rabbit, Gaugin, doesn't seem to like me much.
Time stealing has long been the preserve of my canine companions, and my latest one, Sky is no exception. Having now re-energised her from the big, fat, tired lump I adopted 2 months ago she now insists on infeasibly long walks after work every day – despite the fact that my neighbour takes her out a couple of times a day while I am at work – since I am the only Skywalker (I thank you) brave/stupid enough to let her off of her lead anywhere. She also punishes me for any attempt to not let her do exactly what she wants. This morning, for example, when I called her back to get her back on her lead (there were some small dogs approaching, and there was an incident with a small dog being nearly eaten by her last week that is still in my mind – though that was entirely the small dog's fault, its owner assured me of this when I was pulling the wolf from on top of it) she deliberately lay down in a massive puddle of mud, and after trying to run at a lamb and being jerked back on her lead, she began to sniff for something vile and fox related to roll in.
I cannot show you what she looks like below the neck, it is stinky and brown though
Thursday evening was when everything came to a head. It had already managed to be the first day all week that we had been rained all over, and the only day on which I had not bothered with the coat and massive leather Tricorn hat that had been getting me overly hot and sweaty every day before – and indeed since. So I was already fairly pissed off. Sky had punished me greatly for calling her back to walk towards the house rather than further and further and further away by running a thousand miles from me, looking back with a grin, and then rolling on her back in a huge, fresh cowpat. It was everywhere, all over her back, her head, her ears, almost in her eyes, it was disgusting and dreadful and utterly vile. It took an age to wash it off, and I was glad Netty was not at home to tell me I shouldn't let her off of her lead anyway (update: today (sunday) she did her cowpat roll too early in the walk and spent the rest of the walk trying to clean herself off by rolling in the wet grass - karma). Later on, as I was remembering to put the rabbit and guinea pig back in for the night, I heard a jingle, a thud and a 'miaow' and thought no more of it. My cats are not graceful by nature, and often fall from the shed roofs onto rabbit hutches with a similar noise.
When I came back into the house, I saw Bitey (Kahlo to give her her proper name) lying on her back with her paws in the air while Sky sniffed her belly. Again, all normal behaviour, I went back to writing. She pulled herself up loudly and awkwardly onto the sofa, so far so normal. Then she looked round at me, unobscured by dog or furniture finally. Her face was covered in blood.
'What on earth have you killed this time you murdery twat!' I exclaimed, and got a cloth to wipe her face off. That was when I got my first surprise, it was her blood, not something else's for once. She had lost a few patches of fur from her nose, and had quite the nosebleed (which she insisted on blowing all over my arms, legs and any other bit of me she could cover in it). I assumed she had just come off worse in a fight for once, gave her a bit of a cuddle, told the dog and the other cats to look after her and pissed off to bed with a mediocre book.
On waking, I found her sitting by the cat flap – even louder than ever – until she tried to get up and walk over to the feeding area. Then she was bouncing, three-leggedly and awkwardly, with a pronounced limp, and no use of one of her back legs. At which point I quite naturally panicked like a hollywood homosexual stereotype and phoned the vet. We got an appointment almost immediately, my local vets are actually fucking brilliant and I can't recommend them highly enough. I joked to the vet that she had probably been in a fight with a fox – which I have seen her doing through the bedroom window on countless occasions – or fallen off the roof outside said window finally. The vet looked at her claws and informed me that she had definitely been hit by a car.
The luckiest cat you will ever meet – looking a bit sad
To say I felt a bit guilty at this point would make me the master of understatement.
Hit by a car – the same as had killed her brother Heisenberg just over a year ago.
I felt a bit guilty at this point.
He tried to weigh her, but ever the difficult pet, she miaowed and scratched and wriggled all over the scales and refused it. I wondered if perhaps my wife calling her a special-needs hippo all the time might have given her some body-image issues, hence the refusal to be weighed in public, but then remembered that she is a cat, and given the state she normally comes home in, gives not one single fuck about that kind of thing. Anyway, the vet decided she weighed about 5 kg and left it at that. He determined that the scrapy nose and a very badly bruised leg (no breaks – all good) were the worst of her injuries, declared her an incredibly lucky cat and shot her up with a massive dose of kitty heroin.
I took her home with her very own bottle of kitty heroin – slightly disappointed that she wouldn't be a three-legged cat, one of my favourite cats ever has three legs, I also quite fancy a cat on wheels, am I a bad person? – and made up a room for her so that my smallest cat Richard Parker wouldn't try to ride her about the house like a tiny horse for once. I put cushions in a little den under the bed for her to lie on, other ones in the nice sunny spot by the door, blankets, food, a litter tray, and some cat toys so she wouldn't be too miserable in her isolation from the other pets. Then I walked off merrily to work, a bit late, but with no intention of driving, as it was a nice day (I am nothing if not entirely irresponsible). Half-way there I remembered that the vet had told me to make sure she had water, as she would have a massive headache (along the lines of a scrumpy hangover, if that illustrates it enough for you) and would need water. I ran back up the hill, filled a bowl with water, gave it to her ( I know the pain of a scrumpy hangover, and fully sympathised with her) and was a lot later for work than I had meant to be.
What scared me the most, though, was my strong desire to post about what had happened on social media. I think it might have been because I couldn't tell Netty about it (she had enough to deal with coping with two tents full of hormonal teenagers on a jolly) until she came home, and needed to share it with somebody. However, I was very much aware that I was also cynically working out how to exploit the luckiest cat in the world in order to get more followers on twitter, (you know by maybe doing something like writing a blog post about the experience and spattering it with links to buy my book) and ultimately more book sales (please buy my book).
I felt so bad about it that I posted this picture on all my social media accounts – with links to buy my book (please buy my book) and cynically exploited my Cat's tragedy for commercial gain – like an awful capitalist dick. There are days when I genuinely hate myself.
Once Netty was home, and I had, as just outlined, shared my tale of the world's luckiest cat online (the vet said she had only lost one of her nine lives, but I've seen her out on the moors, I'm amazed she's got any left) somebody pointed out that the real Frida Kahlo (who she is named after) also survived a traffic accident. I wondered if this made my cats' names into prophecies, will Duchamp die peacefully at home at a distinguished age (he's already reached that at 16)? Will George Orwell be struck down with a terminal lung disease in middle age? Will Richard Parker be lost at sea for nearly a year with a young Indian boy named after a swimming pool? Maybe...
This is the reality of trying to get social media marketing photos with your pets
– a phone full of pictures like this
Anyway, as a result of having to cope with all this stress and worry single-handedly, I have done almost no writing this week, and now have to spend the weekend doing double. (Having watched Bitey desperately licking the kitty heroin syringe after having drunk its contents, I clearly also have a tiny junkie to deal with – if anyone has the number for narCATics anonymous I could really use it.) I realise that this blog is once again living up to its original purpose of procrastination, as this 2000 odd words would have been much better served being parts of my next book, and this last hour has been nearly wasted. It is because of this that I would like to offer to anyone who wants them, four cats (one slightly damaged - all fucking mental), one dog (slightly soiled), two rabbits and two guinea pigs (hopefully, haven't checked on them yet tonight) – I would offer you an everchanging number of ducks and chickens, but we share those with our neighbour, and he insists he wants to keep them. If you don't take them, I am off to the river with a sack and a pile of bricks*.
*obviously I am not really getting rid of my pets, please don't start with the hate messages it was a joke (albeit in very poor taste).