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The long goodbye

There’s been a development in the Neighbour Cat situation.

First the crap news: our lovely Neighbour moved out two weeks ago. Noooo!

The (temporary) good news: Neighbour is between houses, so was searching for a place for Neighbour Cat to stay a few weeks while a new place is sorted. Long story short – thanks to a chance conversation, Gareth volunteered us for cat sitting duties!

It’s been a bittersweet couple of weeks – all this top quality Neighbour Cat time, but knowing it will be over any day.

Watching a bug on the ceiling, in the company of a hooded Gareth
Watching a bug on the ceiling, in the company of a behooded Gareth. How shit are those curtains, btw.

Once the cat flap was locked next door, she adapted quickly to the new arrangement. It’s not much different from before, it’s just the naps are longer. She finishes each day snoozed upon either the couch, the office chair, the foot of our bed , or on a folded up pair of Gareth’s tracky dacks (sweatpants). Gotta be the navy ones with the red stripe.

Gareth thinks I’m paranoid but I think she thinks we’re rubbish compared to her Real Owner. I’ll catch her staring plaintively out the window, ears perking up when car tyres crunch in the driveway. Gareth says she’s probably watching a spider (she doesn’t chase birds, only insects) or plotting her next fight with our other neighbour’s cat. But I dunno. Sometimes she has this withering look that’s all, “I see you, and I find you lacking”.

Yeah, that look
Yeah, that look.

But I’ve more besotted than ever. Withering looks aside, she’s a sweetie and no trouble at all.

I also love the way she eats. “Like a gannet” as her owner warned. I’ve been re-reading Intuitive Eating lately and she’s a champion intuitive eater, clearly never swayed from her natural instincts by glossy magazines or crash diets:

  1. She’s in tune with her appetite – when she’s hungry she lets you know by a fixed, steely stare and/or by nudging the cat food box to the floor.
  2. She eats only what she really wants – I made the beginner’s error of buying Kit-E-Kat instead of Whiskas and Her Majesty would have none of it.
  3. She eats with unconfined joy – at first savouring slowly, then working up to an all-out scoff, chunks spraying out of the bowl in an arc.
  4. She stops when she’s full – and saunters off, knowing the Inadequate Substitute Humans will tidy up, then plops down on the rug for some elaborate grooming.

I promise you I’m not going to turn into a crazy cat lady around here. I’m more convinced than ever I don’t actually want my own cat, I just like knowing this cranky, fluffy, hilarious one.

I’m going to miss her so, so much.

Aerial view of the ever-hungry house guest
Aerial view of the ever-hungry house guest
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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


27 thoughts on “The long goodbye

  1. If you are meant to have a cat nothing you can do will stop one coming into your life again after this one goes back to its owners. either you will miss it so much youwill go out and get a cat – from a cat shelter I hope – OR a stray will wander into your life and bang thats it a cat slave – they know who the mugs are!!

    best wishes and regards
    John

  2. Alfie is such a sweetie. When I was visiting you, I loved her soft and abundant fur & the way she just ‘appeared’ in your flat. I love her personality with all its quirks. She’s herself. You can’t argue with that. You can learn much from our animals.

  3. I will so miss hearing about Miss Whiska’s latest antics. I would tell you to get your own cat, but I know GOOD cats are few and far between. I had a nice cat when my boys were young, he was sweet, loving, and went to the bathroom outside! I hate cleaning litter boxes. Then for the next 25 years we had aloof cats who used my entire house as their litter box. I got new carpet finally, about 10 years ago, and swore off cats forever, even though I love their fluffiness. Then almost two years ago, this little scrawny grey cat wandered onto our acreage. I’ve told you the story too many times. I fed her, she stayed, and finally as it got colder, I relented (I’m too soft-hearted, especially when it comes to animals), and I let her come inside. She has been, quite simply the nicest, sweetest, BEST cat I ever had. I have a litter box for her, but she prefers to go outside, and since she was an outside cat, I don’t try to keep her inside all the time. What a fluke this all way. I didn’t even know I was looking for a cat, in fact I actively fought taking her in, fearing what she would do to my pristine carpet, and then she just wandered onto the place from who knows where and stole my heart. Two years ago, I posted her picture on Facebook, and looked for her owner through a newspaper ad. I even offered a free cat to whoever would give her a good home, but no one wanted her. Their loss. I would not give her up for nothin’ now.

    Now that I’m thinking more seriously about ways that you could hang onto neighbor’s cat (we don’t use the ‘u’ here in America), I’m wondering if you couldn’t put a hit out on her owners. Probably too much, eh? I’m only kidding of course, pets aren’t worth murder, or are they???? You should probably edit this paragraph out.

  4. From the title, for a moment, I thought you were shutting down your blog (the growing trend lately) and I was moaning “nnnnooooooo”.

    So sorry about your cat. Wonder if the other neighbor’s cat will adopt you when the territory is vacated. Or the new people might have one.

    1. I’ll still be limping along. Am determined to keep this going when my age hits triple digits and blogging has become the equivalent of cranking up a gramophone!

  5. Don’t worry, we get the withering look from our cats and we are their real ‘owners’- I think we’re lacking just by virtue of not being feline!

  6. Ohhhh…I think another cat will wander in to your life if you want one. Too bad you can’t adopt this one. Our neighbor’s cat just skipped his breakfast to run to the bedroom and stretch out on my husbands chest. He loves him. Cat loves human, human acts semi-indifferent. We asked the neighbor’s cats actual family to feed him when we went in vacay and they DID NOT! I guess they forgot. I think we will offer permanent adoption.

  7. That first photo, the eyes, the whiskers – just magic! If you did decide that you MIGHT want to consider a cat after this I can highly recommend adopting an older cat from a shelter. There are no nasty surprises with older cats, their personality is set and you know exactly what you’re getting. Young kittens, while all cute and bewitching are mental and I’ve seen them completely arse-about their personalities.

    1. I knew I loved you! I always said to Gareth if we did get our own cat or dog I’d want an older one. Always feel sorry for them! Plus they’re not as rowdy which befits our middle age, Lala 😉

  8. *That look*. Oh my. Plus that final shot looks rather menacing. Hopefully the now-ex neighbour won’t have moved too far away, so that now-not-the-neighbour cat can still visit.

    1. Hey there Vickie, thank you for checking in! It’s been a crappy few weeks and Jennette kindly gave me some time off 🙂 I’ll be back on track today!

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