I used to have a cat called Whisky. He was huge and fat and ginger and liked to sit on me the minute I sat down. The house was quite big but if I opened a newspaper and got engrossed Whisky would ignore the empty spaces and choose to sit right there on the bit of paper I was reading, and then challenge me with his slitty green eyes.
His favourite thing was to stand at the window, and then walk up and down with his big fat body knocking everything off the ledge as he made a turn to walk back along the opposite way. He would stare at the fallen objects with disdain and simply leap off the window ledge and strut out of the room. His work was done.
He was so loving and attentive, but I really didn’t need a big fat cat draped across my throat like an expensive fur wrap as I slept. But he liked doing that. He would shove his big belly onto my neck, with his head and front paws snuggled into my right shoulder and his big hairy tail and ass tucked into my left. I could feel his cat heart beat on my flesh.
He loved to sleep with Ashley as well. She was around seven when we got him. He was already an adult cat from a cat sanctuary. He didn’t take much time to make friends, on his arrival he sniffed me, looked at Ashley and went for a sleep. The next day he curled on Ashley’s lap and demanded she stroke him by head butting her hand every five minutes till he got her attention. She was addicted to him.
He immediately became one of us. He joined in with chase games up and down the hall, jumping on Ashley as she tried to escape me. He would crouch like a tiger and leap out her, claws withdrawn but paws big and strong enough to box her. She would squeal with delight and he would run behind her like a dog.
He learned how to open a cupboard, knock over his cat food box till the contents spilled out and eat at his leisure. Other times he simply sat inside the cupboard and cooled off in the heat of our Scottish summer. Occasionally dipping his fat paw into the box and pulling out some cat biscuits. I like to imagine he was lying there like enjoying the peace and having a sneaky feed. He was clever.
His favourite time was summer when big dragon flies would stupidly come in the through the windows and fly around in a dizzy manner. Whiskey would smile a special cat grin and leap into the air and snatch them, and then he chewed them indiscriminately. Sometimes keeping a few insects under his paws as he nibbled slowly through his prey.
He liked them, he would watch for them as the sun set over the tenements of Glasgow’s East End. His slanty eyes fixated on the open window…just waiting…and grinning with anticipation.
He caught wasps, flies, bluebottles, mice and once he dragged an absent minded pigeon right off the window ledge and onto my kitchen table. The poor bird was screeching and flapping all over the floor, Ashley was hysterical and I had to prise open Whiskey’s jaws and rescue the bird. It was fine, a bit stunned and managed to flap off cawing for its friends. Whisky hated me for a whole day. He skulked about my ankles, tripping me up, getting in my way and generally spitting at me for taking his prey.
He sat with Ashley as she was colouring in and drawing on her room floor.
I thought he was going to pick up a crayon and draw a picture of his missing pigeon and sketch me with an arrow through my head.
He was amazing and had such an open personality. He adored Ashley; whenever I came into her room to check on her, he would be curled around her legs, and he would sit up, wink at me as if to say “She will be safe on my watch”
I trusted him and he knew it. He would nod his big ginger head, look at my sleeping daughter and then look at me, then snuggle back down into a fat ginger coil. One eye opened watching for me to leave and let him stay on guard of my precious baby.
The day the police came to our house to search for weapons (At that point we were living in my dead father-in-law’s home and he had been a known criminal) Whiskey immediately leapt to attention. He hissed at the police men who entered Ashley’s room and stood in front of her, his ginger fur stood on end and his tail twitching.
The police asked me to move him but Whisky jumped in front of them and tried to ward them off. He was so protective. There was a female police officer and she told me she was scared of cats, so Whiskey immediately leapt on her shoulder from the top of the stairs! She screamed her head off and the cat would not let go.
I miss Whisky, we had to give him away to another family when we moved from the ‘gun house’ life got complicated but he needed stability and an elderly woman took him in. I cried but had to find a home for my family and that took priority over everything else.
I haven’t forgotten him though._