THE LIFE OF A CAT
She was my cat.
July 1997 – December 2015 R.I.P.
In 1997 I moved all of my family out of a beautiful home and into a caravan in the middle of a field. The field was muddy. The field was also full of sheep. I loved it. The reason was I had bought a derelict old barn that was to become my new family home. I did have a problem when we moved in. Rats – lots of rats. Old Mrs. Monks next door told me to go and get a cat. I’d never own a cat but thought what the hell if it eats all rats it’s a good idea.
In the summer of July 1997 I drove around to the cat shelter and picked up a tiny kitten. I then drove home with the kitten in a box. Minutes later I arrived back at the caravan. I told everyone I had a surprise – The kids loved it, my first wife wasn’t too happy. She really didn’t like cats. Next we had to think of names yet none of us could come up with one. One day the kids and myself were in the barn that was being rebuilt. In England we build cavity walls. That means there is a gap between the outside brick and the inside bricks. My young son kept putting the kitten on the wall. The kitten kept falling off the wall into the gap. She fell down and was picked up. My son said Dad she is like a Yoyo – hence her name Yoyo arrived.
As Yoyo got bigger she spent more time prowling the farm like a small dark lioness looking to devour. In the early day she didn’t really catch a lot until that is she ended up pregnant by the ginger farm cat. After the kittens arrived she went from placid to protective. She also turned into a killer – a prolific killer. At night she could come in and out of the house as we had moved in by this point. I woke early one morning, got dressed, walked slowly down my winding stairway, through the small room, unlocked the door into the kitchen only to find parts of two rabbits ripped torn and spread all over my floor. The 5 kittens just sat there looking at the rabbit parts wondering what to do. Yoyo was fast asleep after night hunting.
Over the next 10 years Yoyo survived every cat on the farm. At least 15 cats from the farm and neighbors were killed on the road. Yoyo never once had a hit from a car. One day a person knocked at my door. I opened the door with Yoyo at my feet waiting to leave the house. As I opened the door I realised the guy had a large Rottweiler on a leash next to him. The dog growled and snarled when he saw Yoyo. Yoyo jumped onto the dogs face and bite its nose. The dog ran as fast as he could whilst Yoyo sat at my feet hissing. I think she was laughing but you just can’t tell with cats! So much time and events have passed since 1997.
After 2007 I didn’t really see Yoyo that much after divorce. You lose a lot in a divorce – cats and dogs included. Yet the cat is a part of my life’s history and a fond part at that life. Life gives us a lot of little things that are glued and adhered together to create one large thing. That large thing is called a life. And now look at the time and date. It’s 2015 almost to be 2016. Now Yoyo has died and truthfully it felt like a little part of my life fell away into the river to be washed away in the stream of life and lost forever. Life is like that of course. It has a start and then a middle and then of course an end. That’s the bit we all try to avoid but we cannot avoid. Looking back can sometimes leave me feeling breathless whilst in a life that has to be lived as full as I can live my life. I loved Yoyo at the time yet I love what I have right now.
Things come, things go, people come, people go, animals and pets come and of course they go. So maybe there is a lesson here as small as it might be. Life is short and the shortness of life should really make us appreciate life even more. I can walk through 1997 in my mind as clear as I can walk through today. It doesn’t feel like yesterday but it does feel like a short time ago. So here’s to Yoyo the old cat that started life as a little ball of fur, turned into a prolific killer of rats and rabbits only to finally be the oldest and strongest cat for miles around. I am grateful to meet such a wildly tame beast. She is and will be missed.
Yours in a happy life.
Alan Forrest Smith