Suggested Audio Candy:
 The Cure “The Love Cats”
 David Bowie “Putting Out Fires (Cat People)”
I’ve always had a particular fondness for cats. As domestic pets, there are few other creatures as well turned out, sanitary, and easy to care for. I was never allowed one as a child as my sister had a particularly fierce allergy and none of my family are what you would call “cat people”. The closest I came to having my very own pussy were a pair of Russian hamsters and, cute as these little fellas were, they also had the average life expectancy of Sean Bean in movies. Cats, however, I find fascinating creatures and kind of dig on their daily game plan. They come and go largely as they please, taking full advantage of their liberty, and can always find time in their less than hectic schedules to come join you on the couch for an evening’s petting session, even if that’s on their own terms. If I were asked which animal I would choose to be reincarnated as then feline would be at the very top of my wish list.
Recently I scribed a piece called Bleeding Inside and, upon reciting it back to myself, I realized it is bleaker than a Scottish weather forecast. It would appear that my current position is somewhat precarious and you could even go as far as suggesting that morose piece of literature to be something of an epitaph. This got me to thinking; maybe I should attempt to fathom where the bloody hell my other eight lives got to. What cruel demise met the other kitties in my litter? Maybe I had a failed Frogger life, after all felines lose all sense of common the moment there’s a populated high street to jaywalk on. Dog off the leash; there’s another one gone straight off the bat and I haven’t even broken sweat yet. It would appear that there are a fair few ways to skin a cat. It became clear to me that I must solve this mystery before the bailiffs arrive to snatch me into away the shadows. I feel just like Dennis Quaid in D.O.A., searching only for piece of mind before the inevitable blackout. Hopefully, by ascertaining my other eight demises, I will be aware of the numerous pitfalls and able to make my last one count. So, without further ado, here are eight very good reasons why I have every right to feel a touch paranoid.
Life #1 = The Usual Growing Pangs
Our opening denouement involved my first love, or to put it in cat lingo, the first sniff of a potential mate’s rectum. There were agonizingly protracted awkward silences, woefully inane kisses, and I had no real inkling as to how this kind of affair normally played out. Looking back my primary courtship was beyond ridiculous. Love is blind of course, and a petulant teenager refuses to accept defeat without the old college try. Alas, my very best efforts amounted to nada and I was left nursing my first emotional trauma. I sobbed into my mother’s reassuringly warm coat when the object of both my affection and utter befuddlement decided the tomcat who had been skulking past her basket with intent for the past few nights made for a more appealing suitor. Whether cat, human, or terrapin, if your heart explodes then you’re pretty much fucked.
The Inevitable Fact of Life #2
No kitten wishes to be removed from their parental unit but it’s never worse than when you are forced to watch on hopelessly as the architect of your very mortality declines in health for a full twenty-five stretch (and no I’m not speaking of cat years). I was around nine-years old when my father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and this vile muscle-wasting disease struck most decisively. We had made many plans by this point but everything froze overnight as his central nervous system began to receive worryingly mixed signals. I still waited down by the cedar bush every day for him to come and chase a ball of wool with me as he had previously without exception. But he never again could and I was left feeling as though life owed me considerable remuneration for such bastardized fortune. When he passed away, nearly a decade ago now, the numbness set in and that cute little kitten inside of me was led away for its involuntary euthanasia.
De La Soul lied. There’s nothing magic about Life #3
There comes a time in every cat’s life when they are required to arch their backs and fight for their rights. I wasn’t a cool cat at school and neither was I a mangy moggy either. I made it through my education unscathed on account of being something of a joker and my jovial nature convinced the bullies not to pummel my face in every recess. It wasn’t until my college renascence that I managed to rub somebody’s fur up the wrong way and suffered a three-cat mauling for my insolence. I also had three friends present but none of them lifted a solitary paw as I assumed the position of a snail in an endeavor to endure their relentless flurry of blows and kicks. Thanks guys; appreciate it. Turned out that I had been sniffing around the wrong basket and an embittered ex is one thing, but an embittered ex who recently got himself discharged from the police force for corruption is entirely another, especially when the battle cat in question has a number of years more experience in the field. Bizarrely enough, it didn’t really hurt a great deal. While my protective shell deflected much of the pain; I’m fairly assured that I lost a credit right there.
The Obligatory Road-Kill of Life #4
Run over by a garbage truck. Occupational hazard. Cut me some slack, I’m a cat after all.
Come in Life #5, your time is up!
Love hits us hard when it arrives but can smack with brutality when it dissolves before our very eyes. I had been contented with my mate and we had huddled inside our cozy quarters each sundown, licking and nuzzling one another’s pelts affectionately, in front of our crackling iron log burner. Suddenly my idyllic life imploded and I was powerless to halt its slide. The most heartbreaking factor was that it didn’t end through lack of love and that just seemed mighty wasteful. I hadn’t looked at my wife each day and felt justified in giving her a soft claw-swipe or hissing with arched spine and bloating out my tail. Things had been good leading up to my departure but, once we were found catnapping, everything changed in a heartbeat. I’m not one for regret but it saddens me to think that a loving marriage ended without so much as a catfight. The saddest thing is that I never stopped appreciating her purr and that is the shattering reality of the sorry swan-dive that was Life #5.
Unlucky for Moi, Life #6 bids Au Revoir
Life #6 was whisked from me mercilessly with no prior heads-up. My very own kitten, the fruit of my loins, and apple of my eye, was due to appear in his very first nativity play at school. This is a proud moment for any parent and I was thrilled to be able to witness this wonderful achievement first-hand. Alas, it didn’t work out quite as planned as I was due to put in a shift at a job which, as I had explained eloquently many times, I had absolutely no desire to attend. Having recently suffered a full mental shutdown, running a busy high street store wasn’t exactly condusive to my recovery but I did as my folks requested just for a little tranquility. As I lowered the shutter at the end of my stint and speed strolled to the station to catch my train, I found myself a minute tardy and marooned at the platform while precious time mercilessly ticked away. I never made it to my boy’s first nativity and that was simply devastating. Life #6…Down.
The Anxious Derailment of Life #7
Cats get stressed you know; in this respect they are just like humans. While there’s no official miaow to denote them feeling overwrought, you can pretty much tell when your feline is feeling the pinch. For months now I have been a ticking time bomb and sooner or later I’m going to have to cut a wire. This anxiety has manifested increasingly of late and it’s a disconcerting moment when you realize that you’re trapped inside yourself with no available cat flap for exit. I may not have molted fur but I have misplaced my appetite for life and that’s never a good place to be. Every time my bowl is filled with premium slop; I pivot my whiskers and turn up my nose. If a cat doesn’t eat then there can only be one of two realizations: firstly you need to rethink what you’re feeding it or secondly, it’s stressed to the eyeballs. I didn’t much care for the cuisine but it was all about the latter for me. Life #7 simply ghosted away and nobody informed me of its departure.
The Even Fainter Pfft of Life #8
Recently I was callously cast aside from the rest of the litter and left to roam the wilderness, scavenging what I could from carcasses of fallen ravens and discarded Chinese take-out containers. After a time, I returned to my doorstep to investigate whether a dish of ambrosial refreshment had been left, in case I was parched from my adventure, but not so much as a lick. I could’ve trekked to the Outer Hebrides for all my owners knew but not a single thought for my well-being was thunk. Life #8 withered away hopelessly on the front porch and nobody discovered my skeletal remains until long after my parting stench had begun to circulate. My own family let me down in my hour of greatest need, not intentionally I must add, and that’s a particularly bitter cat biscuit to swallow.
…and of course Life #9 aka The Final Countdown
Okay I have a small confession to make. This isn’t #9 at all, it’s Life #1. Indeed there’s only ever been one. I’m not a frigging cat; what a preposterous notion. As intriguing as it might be to be able to reach my own asshole with my tongue, I just don’t fit the criteria. First, I can actually see my penis. Second, if I were to leap down from the roof of my tool shed to ground level right now I’m fairly convinced that I’d shatter both metatarsals. Third, I despise milk unless it’s dancing with coffee beans. Fourth, if I were truly a pussy then I’d never leave my boudoir. Fifth, I don’t conceal my feces with wood shavings. Sixth, you’ll never find me beneath a car engine. Seventh, I’ve got better things to do than chase balls of wool around the lounge. Besides, it makes me itch like a motherfucker. Eighth, my tail is round the front and, while prone to a state of alert, it just isn’t that bushy. Ninth, I’ve never been to Kathmandu. Admittedly the last one was something of a cheap shot but, regardless, there are nine good reasons why being a cat just ain’t me.
I have lost no lives whatsoever and I’m still fighting fit. If there has been a point to this ludicrous exercise, then I guess it would be not to cry over spilt milk ironically. Live for now, if you desire that diseased pole-cat that shakes its rump tassles at you daily then, by all accounts, get your paws wet. We’ll all be buried in old shoe boxes in the back garden at some point anyway so we may as well make the most of whatever time we do have and stop fretting over lives lost. I’ve come up with a decidedly devious plan that I’m pretty sure hasn’t been attempted before, at least not in this way. Instead of sliding our paws under the door crack to let folk know we’ve been shut outside, why not just let ourselves in with the hands God gave us. Ergo, we take control of our shit, and prove that, while we may not have eight other lives to fritter, we do possess certain cat-like qualities with regards to independence. Just putting it out there. Simplistic? Of course. Realistic? This furry ball of cute would never hear otherwise.
Cats That Got The Cream
Well hello kitties. Ever since I watched Nastassja Kinski slinking across my screen in Cat People; I’ve been all about the pussy. While there can be no denying that cats are cute little bundles of fur, it’s also worth noting that they know how to stroll with swagger. There’s a good reason they hold their tails aloft, proudly revealing their centerpieces, and pass us so suggestively. I believe the correct term is prowess. If any of the following felines were to enter my flap at the dead of night then they would find something waiting for them at the other side. Cats like nothing else than to roll on their back and egg you on to tickle your bellies and I would expect no less here of course. Here, I’ve got something creamy and ambrosial for you to lick off my boots. And you’re damn right that was a purr.