From the Melville Cat:
In my previous post I told you that I was missing. Today, I came back.
I didn’t come back on my own. Heather brought me back.
Heather found me in a place called Westdene, in a house nearly two kilometers (1.2 miles) from here. Heather was surprised that I traveled such a tremendous distance. She was also surprised that I didn’t sustain any injuries during my three-week disappearance, especially considering my medical history. (I don’t have a scratch on me. I’ve lost some weight and my fur is a bit scruffy. Otherwise I’m fit as a six-month-old teenager.)
I, of course, am not surprised at all.
This was me this morning, at the home of Danielle (left) and her landlord, John (right), in Westdene. Danielle identified me and found Heather using an internet tool called Facebook. Danielle is a nice lady.
I’m sure that you, my fans, are curious about what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks. Alas, a cat’s short-term memory only lasts for 16 hours. I can hardly remember what I did last night, let alone last week.
But I will try my best.
I’m not exactly sure when I left. I know that Heather had already been away for a long time, and I hated it. Ray was here but things weren’t the same. I’ve never been keen on staying in the house when Heather is away, and Heather has been away more and more. And although I like our new Melville house, I don’t feel rooted here like I did at the old Lucky 5 Star.
So I left.
I ventured under the hedge behind the house, clambered into the adjoining property, and kept going. At some point I found myself on a big, scary, noisy road. It was night. I didn’t know how I got there or how to find my way back. I tried to retrace my steps. I came to a dark street, which might have been my street but I wasn’t sure. I saw nothing but high walls, too tall to climb over. I didn’t know which house was mine. I kept moving.
I began regretting my decision to leave.
I crawled under a door and found myself in a yard filled with cats. At least ten cats — a clan of cats — and not a human in sight. I puffed up my tail, put my hackles up and moaned, wailing my high-pitched cat cry until I reached a tremendous crescendo.
After the cry, I regarded my adversaries. They gazed in wonder.
“Who are you?” asked White, who seemed to be the leader. I had met White before, on the roof of my new Melville house. But White had forgotten me.
“I am Smokey, the Melville Cat,” I announced. “I am the feline king of Melville.”
A murmur, more like a collective purr, passed through the clan. “Welcome, King Melville,” said White. “We hail you.”
I lived as the leader of the cat clan for a while. But there were no humans — apparently the clan’s human moved away — and little food. The clan became restless, expecting me to do something, but I lacked the necessary skills. I kill only for sport, not sustenance. I could not feed the clan.
I decided it was time to move on, and slipped though the door under cover of darkness.
My memory blurs at this juncture. I walked and walked. I crossed the big scary road and entered a large green field. There were houses beside the field and I often slept in their gardens, snatching food when I could find it. I slept under porches when it rained and licked myself clean afterward. I killed birds, for sustenance this time, and crunched their bones. I stood in the middle of the field and moaned my high-pitched cat cry, hoping someone would hear me. No one did.
Finally, I came to the garden of Danielle and John. It was peaceful there. Two small dogs ruled the garden; there was also a cat or two. They accepted me and let me share their food. This garden became my oasis for a few days. Finally I wandered into the house and met Danielle. Danielle gave me food and milk. I curled up inside and slept. That was yesterday. Then Heather came.
And now I’m back.
Heather has confined me inside all day, which I suppose is no surprise. She has also buckled a collar around my neck, which she says will help keep me safe if I run away again. The last time Heather put a collar on me, I “lost” the collar within four hours. I will attempt to break my previous collar-loss record once Heather lets me outside.
It’s hard to see in this photo but I am wearing a shiny silver collar, with glitter. Soon I will also have a name tag. How rude.
It’s nice to be back. I slept on Heather’s desk all day as she typed. Perhaps I will stay this time.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
The Melville Cat is an emotional mirror for me. He showed up at a critical juncture of my life, and ever since then he has constantly reminded me of how far I’ve come as a human and how far I still have to go. I’ve been through such a range of emotions today, because of Smokey: happiness and relief and guilt and anger and sadness and, worst of all, fear.
But now it’s quiet, and the emotions have subsided, and Smokey is sleeping behind me on my desk chair. Right now, the Melville Cat is reminding me that I have a lot to be grateful for. I’m grateful for that moment at 6:30 a.m. this morning when I walked into a warm kitchen two kilometers from my house and saw my cat — who I thought I’d never see again — drinking milk on the counter. I’m grateful that today I got to pet and hold and feed Smokey again. I’m grateful that Smokey will sleep on my bed tonight.
The Melville Cat is kind of a jerk, to be honest, and I don’t know if he’ll even stay around this time. I don’t know what will happen. But I’m grateful for today.
I’ll close this post with a poem about the Melville Cat, written by a very special person.
Smokey dokey derrière, the floor and person
hugging supercat, with hair so fine, I’ll make him
mine with one lick of milk divine. The way
he greets is so discreet and so sincere I cannot
picture Heat’s world complete without him.