Erm. Well– funny you should ask that, Sharon…. I’ve been meaning to address that for a while now.
Sadly (or maybe not so sadly, actually, because I really think three cats would qualify me for crazy cat lady status. And I’m only thirty one), Mr Tree has not returned to the TinyTrainHouse. I’m starting to wonder if we would recognize him if he did…?
Our ‘second cat’ has actually been around for far longer than the Tree, or George (who is recovering beautifully following a very freaking expensive dose of antibiotics at the local vets. And still as curious and eager to bolt for the open door as ever). In fact, cat Number Two– who I’m positive considers himself well and truly Cat Number One– has been my mate since even before the Purple Before. When I lived in my little shoebox flat as a broke and slightly–terrified–of–life uni student, my second cat (who is actually my first cat) lived there, too.
Jellybeans, meet Dim Sum. Or Mr Dim Sum, as the kidlets have lovingly rechristened him. He’s a great big heavy fluffy ungraceful lump of gorgeous.
I rescued Dim Sum from the Animal Welfare League not long after having another cat put down. Dim Sum was this tiny, fluffy black ball of recaltricient mischief. “Are you sure you want that one…?” Asked the AWL cat–woman, not unkindly, in a lilting Scottish accent that seemed remarkably fitting to her cat–lady role. “He’s been making a terrible fuss in the nursery, that one, chasing the other kittens to and fro..”
I was sold. Fluffy, trouble-maker kitten– mine. How he got the name Dim Sum is… beyond even me, to be honest. Something to do with a low–budget Chinese restaurant that sat for years on the outskirts of the rrural surburban Sudney market gardens suburbs, with a crude and ugly hand lettered sign proclaiming ‘Chinese Dim Sum!! No MSG! No GST!’; and a tiny kitten newly removed from the only home he’d really ever known, crying and crying
“Dimmmmm summmmmm!! Dimmmmmm summmmmm!”
OK… I’m totally making that up. Not the Chinese restaurant bit, but the meowing-sounding-like-Dim-Sum. I think naming him was just one of those ridiculous whims you’re still entitled to indulge in when you’re twenty. (When you’re thirty, the only ridiculous whim available is allowing your children to name your pets. The names– such as Mr Tree and George– are just as obscure.)
Dim Sum has had a pretty cruisy existence, except for one run-in with particularly nasty neighbor which we won’t talk about too much here… you just never know who may be reading. (But I will say– don’t underestimate me. Just because you think I’m irresponsible and immature, that does not mean my cat will not be microchipped when you take him back to the same place I purchased him from and report him as a stray. Heh.) He transitioned without drama or fuss from the Shoebox Flat, to the Purple House. Bizarrely enough, he and Scarlette the staffie became the best of mates, and the cat could often be found cuddled in the dog’s bed. Providing the dog wasn’t around. Dim Sum also made the journey from the Purple Life to Paradise, then to the TinyTrainHouse– again, without fuss. Honestly, I think he may just be a bit too geriatric, not to mention stubborn and cranky, to be bothered running away. And why, when things are so damn good for him here…?
Now, before anyone says “Wow, that’s a really big cat!”– I know. He is one really big cat. Twelve kilos of cat, in fact, which is twenty six pounds in American and, for the un–feline–iated, well over the eight kilo average. My mate Bunny refers to him as ‘the Godfather’ and seeing Dim Sum lazing in the sun, twice the size of the neighbors cats and absolutely dwarfing George, the pseudonym suits him.
Dim Sum is so big that he has been mistaken for a dog, from behind a screen door or paling fence, on more than one occasion. (Really– not even joking. Moving into the TinyTRainHouse, I’m searching for Scarlette and the removalist says “That’s not your dog there?” Umm… no. That’s a cat). The wooden floors of the TinyTrainHouse literally shake when he jumps– or slides, as the case may be– from lounge to floor; and I warn overnight house-guests that the heavy footfalls they may hear in the night are not child nor apparition… just cat.
My mum mentions to me a few weeks ago that Dim Sum, my big floppy teddy bear of a cat who used to sleep wrapped like a snood around my head while I was in bed (until he reached, roughly, the nine kilo threshold– there’s only so much purring, simpering fluff one can stand at five am, especially in the time Before Children). And I look at him, properly look at him, for the first time in a while… and she’s right. He’s a bit skinnier, a bit slower, a bit less playful and a bit grumpier. I can’t even put my finger on it exactly– he’s just that bit more ancient, more fragile and weary, than he was six months ago.
“How will you be, when he goes?” Asks my mum, and she’s gently running her hand over the black sleek of Dim Sum’s head– a small miracle for my mother, who’s never been much of a ’pet person’. “He’s been your mate for such a long time now…”
And again, she’s right– aren’t mothers always, when they’re yours?– but it hardly even seems an issue, not at all a question worth asking. I’ll be fine, of course– I fail to see any other option. And after husbands and dogs and chooks, laying one of my oldest mates to rest after a long, happy life won’t be the trauma it once may have been.
It’s strange to think that, amongst the few things I feel I salvaged from the Lori who lived even before the Before, it’s a cat who’s born witness to all these changing seasons of being me. And, equally bizarrely, it’s a comfort. It’s just a stupid cat… but this cat, who’s been with me all this time, he feels like a tangible thread, proof that I am, essentially, still the same person I was
all those thousands a few years ago.
It’s possible (probable…?) I’m being melodramatic– I do know that my other cat, my first cat, may have a lot of life left in him yet. I’m actually not sure what George would do without him. Despite George harassing the much older cat in much the same way the Chop harasses the Bump; and Dim Sum appearing to chastise and scold the little guy with his eyes, a grumpy disapproval evident on his face… I still find them curled up like this.
Happy cats. And please, consider this post the first official entry into the Crazy Cat Lady Chronicles. I see to be blogging about cats a lot lately… but, really, it’s because you all keep asking for them.
You only have yourselves to blame.