No, I’m not copying Tom Cox.
I love animals. They are probably God’s greatest gift to the lonely.
More specifically, I love cats. People always talk about “spirit animals”, so I guess that my spirit animal would be a cat.
However, I haven’t yet blogged about my other two cats, Ellen and Portia (yes, I know). I got them a few months before Blackie’s death. They were a very unexpected surprise. We found them in my mom’s backyard when they were about three weeks old
In the beginning I was very overwhelmed. I didn’t plan on getting two kittens to come and live with me in my tiny flat in Pretoria. At first they were still a bit feral and it took a while for me to win their trust. They taught me a lot about myself. Suddenly I was responsible for these two tiny lives. I didn’t have a license yet, so I had to walk far to get pet supplies. When they needed to go to the vet I had to ask someone to take us. It was very stressful for someone like me. They taught me patience, but also that I don’t have nearly enough patience (or selflessness) to have children one day.
When they got a bit bigger, my flat became too small for them. I live in a shoebox that doesn’t have nearly enough space for two lively kittens to run around in. By the end of 2014, I realized that it would be better for them to go and live with my mom until I can manage to find a bigger place to stay.
Finding that place, however, hasn’t been easy. Most of the flats within my price range don’t allow pets. It sucks.
Each time I go to Harrismith I’m excited to see them. Ellen has always been a bit more attached to me. I think it’s because we’re kindred souls. She also gets very anxious around strangers and I’m the only one who is allowed to pick her up. Each time I visit she follows me around like a tail.
Portia, on the other hand, is more of an independent soul. She prefers to do things on her terms, which means lounging around and watching things from afar like a dame.
One thing I know for sure is that they are very intuitive. They pick up on what is going on. My grandmother had grown quite fond of them during their time with her. One night, shortly after her death, we couldn’t find them. After looking everywhere, we went into my gran’s room. They had pulled a knee blanket of hers off of the bed and were lying on it together and purring. They don’t usually lie together. But it was clear that they knew she was gone and that she wouldn’t come back.
Recently, my mom got a cat of her own, not that she had much of a say in it. George the Alien (as I call him, because he’s a weirdo) showed up in the backyard one afternoon and wouldn’t stop meowing until she fed him. Long story short, George moved into the house.
Ellen and Portia aren’t very fond of George, mostly because he’s a little shit who looks for trouble. On the night of my father’s death, my mom woke up in the middle of the night in a panic. I think that the gravity of what had happened finally hit her. When she woke up, all three cats were lying pressed against her and purring. They never do that.
Last week, during my last few days in Harrismith, I felt horribly depressed the one night. I missed my grandmother a lot. I was wandering around my mom’s flat and unable to sleep. Ellen kept checking up on me, announcing her entrance with her signature high pitched squeak (she doesn’t meow, she squeaks like a toy). When I finally got into bed I was sobbing. I’ve felt such an intense void in my life ever since my gran passed away and sometimes it’s just unbearable. In no time, Ellen was on the bed. She started kneading and purring. She licked my hands and pressed her head against them. When I finally calmed down, she gave me a look as if to say “My work here is done.” And she curled up at my feet.
Now that I’m back in Pretoria I miss them very much. Each time I walk past a pet shop I feel sad, more sad than usual. The people in my life don’t seem to understand.
But the cats do.