Before reading on, I suggest reading Part 1 of Abby the Tiger’s story.
Humans call me Abby. But they used to call me Tiger.
Some of you may remember me — I’ve told my story here before. I was born in Hillbrow and I used to live in a boxing gym there. Back then, when I was still a young cat, Heather (the human who owns this blog) asked me to write a guest post for her. She thought my life was very interesting, and I suppose she was right.
My story has become even more interesting since then. I recently bumped into Heather and she asked me to write an update. I will pick up where I left off.
Two years ago (that’s about 10 cat years ago), I was a happy cat in Hillbrow. I slept at the gym and roamed the streets, wherever and whenever I pleased. I was small and fast and vicious and I knew how to take care of myself. I was Tiger, the Queen of Hillbrow.
One day a new cat came to the gym — a young whipper-snapper named Nippy. Nippy was a tiny kitten when he arrived and I paid him little attention. But eventually he grew into an annoyance.
Nippy began to bother me, stealing my food and pawing me as I tried to sleep. The humans at the gym encouraged his dreadful behavior. It was all quite a nuisance.
I am solitary and prefer to interact with others on my own terms. And to be honest, I was insulted and hurt.
I began to spend less time at the gym, wandering the streets of Hillbrow and singing the sad song of my people.
My memory of this period is hazy. At some point I wandered far from the Hillbrow Boxing Club, then struggled to find my way back. I slept in an alleyway, which smelled strange but had many tasty rats. I drank water from a filthy puddle and slept on a bed of rags.
Days passed. I don’t know how many. Some humans grabbed me and scooped me into a box. I was scared and confused. There were other cats around me, also scared and crying. I can’t remember what happened next.
Soon I found myself far away, not in Hillbrow. It was a building with many levels and bright lights and big windows and many, many cats. I have never seen so many cats in one place. I wandered the building, hiding behind racks of clothing and boxes of books, but I was never alone.
The big building with so many cats was called Bounty Hunters, and it was in a place called Melville.
After a number of days I ventured out of the big building as I couldn’t bear being around so many other cats. None of them cared that I was the Queen of Hillbrow. I wandered across the street, to a place with many humans eating food at tables. A few of the humans gave me tasty morsels. I crept through a doorway, into a big room with more humans eating at tables. Lots of humans, but no cats. I breathed a sigh of relief.
No one seemed to mind my presence in this place filled with humans and tables and food. I returned to the cat-filled building that night, but came back to the human place the following day. The human place, I soon learned, was a restaurant called the Lucky Bean.
I became friends with Paul, a human who works at the Lucky Bean. I kept Paul company late at night, after the restaurant closed. I jumped from chair to chair and Paul played with me. Paul fed me and gave me a bed and a bowl of water.
Paul called me Abby, as he didn’t know my name was Tiger. I don’t mind though. Abby is a nice name too. I now call myself Abby the Tiger.
I never returned to the cat-filled building.
One day, I walked inside the Lucky Bean for my evening meal. I heard a human voice at the back of the room. The voice sounded familiar.
“That cat looks just like a cat I knew in Hillbrow,” said the human. She was speaking to Paul.
Paul picked me up, and for one squirmy moment I was eye to eye with the familiar human. It was Heather, the owner of this blog. Although I first met Heather in Hillbrow, apparently she lives in Melville too. What a coincidence.
That is the end of my story, for now.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post from Abby the Tiger. Her story proves that humans know nothing of the mysterious lives of cats.
A few notes from Heather, the owner of this blog:
- Like Abby the Tiger herself, I’m not sure how this little cat made her way from Hillbrow to Melville. The Hillbrow Boxing Club and the Lucky Bean are about seven kilometers (four-and-a-half miles) apart, but if you live in Joburg then you know the distance feels much greater than that, both literally and figuratively. I was shocked and overjoyed to discover Abby the Tiger alive and well, right under my nose. George was also thrilled to hear the news. Abby disappeared from the Hillbrow Boxing Club more than a year ago and we had all assumed her dead.
- Bounty Hunters is a charity shop on 4th Avenue in Melville, around the corner from the Lucky Bean. Gail, the owner of Bounty Hunters, takes in stray cats from all over the city. (I suppose it’s not a total surprise that Abby the Tiger wound up there.) The doorway to the shop is perpetually overflowing with second-hand goods and cats.
- The Lucky Bean is one of my favorite restaurants and a legendary fixture on Melville’s 7th Street. I had dinner there on my first night in Melville in August 2010. (Although I’ve mentioned the Lucky Bean many times in my blog over the years, I’ve never written a proper post about it. I should do that.) The fact that Abby the Tiger disappeared from one of my favorite Joburg places, and then resurfaced more than a year later in another, makes this story even more meaningful for me.
- Nippy, the young whipper-snapper, is now a strapping (neutered and vaccinated) tomcat and the King of the Hillbrow Boxing Club.
- Although he’s not a part of this story, the Melville Cat is doing fine. He will write an update soon.