We first met Rascal at the Battersea Cats' and Dogs' Home, where he had been brought as an abandoned five-month-old kitten. At first sight he seemed a very ordinary little black-and-white cat, but when I picked him up, I couldn't believe the softness of his fur. He put one paw on either side of my neck and fixed me intently with his big yellow eyes. I understood exactly what he was saying: 'Take me home'. And so we did.
We discovered very quickly that Rascal was a Cat of Character. He particularly loved milk (though it upset his stomach) and used to appear regularly at breakfast, sitting bolt upright at the table on an empty chair and waiting for the moment when he could reach out to swipe some cereal from an unfinished bowl or surreptitiously dip his paw into the milk jug. (He would eat catfood from the tin with his paw too.) If caught in the act, he would immediately look away or pretend to be washing himself. And when I went to visit a friend in the next road, he would follow me through the neighbours' front gardens, miaowing all the way, then wait by her front door until I'd emerged and he could accompany me home again. Perhaps he thought I might get lost.
|Engaged on one his favourite activities: sitting in something|
|And another: sleeping|
|After a similar run-in|
I miss Rascal hugely: miss his softness when times are hard and comfort is needed, miss his indignant face and the sight of him trotting across the garden on some rascally mission. He used to remind me of the Walt Whitman poem:
“I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition;
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins;
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God;
Not one is dissatisfied - not one is demented with the mania of owning things;
Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago;
Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.”
Thank you, Rascal, for all the joy and laughter you've brought us over the years. Taking you home from Battersea was one of the best things we ever did.
|Monty, guarding a carrot; Rascal, pretending he doesn't exist|