If we were one of those families who had stickers on the back of their cars, displaying what our family consisted of, you would see this:
A black Honda Jazz, more than likely filthy, displaying the following drawn to life characters:
An adult male holding a surfboard, cricket bat, fishing rod, sleeping inside the love of his life, Bunnings. Or his new trailer which comes a close second.
A lightly freckled adult female holding a laptop in one hand, a champagne flute in the other and a mildly perplexed look on her face.
A female tween reading vampire books and losing her shit at nothing in particular.
A young boy, hanging onto a blimp larger than himself, singing John Farnham and freaking out at a shirt that has buttons on it.
A slightly smaller young boy whose head would be spinning in a 360 degree circular motion, whilst attempting to jump a BMX off a 5 story building naked
1 Dog. With a cross through it.
4 Cats, all with crosses through them
OK, so let’s talk about the animal equation of this family scenario.
I’ve talked about our animal ownership HERE. Our track record truly is shithouse. No really, we really have no right to have animals. We have the best of intentions and it’s not like we harm them, we just kind of lose them or they lose us.
As a child growing up we only had one cat. Timmy. He was cool. Sure he used to rip the shit out of my arms and ambush me when I ran gaily through the backyard, but he was mine. Well technically that’s not true, the family owned him, but I was the one who forced him to sleep in bed with me at night by holding him down. He loved it. Just like he loved this:
So the fact that we have now lost two cats since moving into this house both horrifies and astounds me.
There was Whiskers mark one, and Whiskers mark two who shat, Mr Whippy Style on my mum’s bed when she was cat sitting him but he was an evil cat. Always eyeing us off from the corner of the room, giving us minimal love and trying to suck the life out of overnight visitors.
But Puss and Abbey the wonder cat, well they were excellent.
As is the Morley family tradition, on our birthdays, there are two things we are allowed to choose, no restrictions, no holes barred: Choice of Daytime Activity and Choice of Dinner. The kids bog standard is a Theme park and Maccas.
Phil of course, pretends to hate cats. This is why I find him on the lounge with a cat on his lap giving it a chin tickle. So when I chose to visit the Animal Welfare League on my 34th birthday and pick out 8 year old Puss to come live with us as *my* activity, the divorce threats were only a smokescreen. He was her biggest fan within a week.
It wasn’t long before we all loved Puss. She was old, kinda smelt of death, but was such a cruisy cat, that it baffled us when one day, she went missing. We put out flyers, scoured the streets, nothing. My only thought was that perhaps she wasn’t well and had taken herself off to die somewhere, alone, like cats sometimes do.
We swore that was the end of attempted animal ownership. We all missed her immensely and Phil was no longer only half joking when he said he’d walk out the door if another cat came through it.
Then my neighbour texted me a photo one day of a kitten, with a message attached simply saying “Want one?” She was out visiting her in-laws in Charleville and the town tabby tart had just had a litter of kittens. And they were awfully cute. In her words, the kittens would be “knocked on the head” if she didn’t take them, so she would be bringing 6 of them back with her to the Gold Coast in 4-6 weeks. I immediately said no, I knew it was a no go. So it completely surprised me when Phil, after seeing the photo, said, “geez cute, why don’t we take one”. Where was my husband? Had aliens abducted him? That would explain the anal probe in the backyard.
So from the 6 kitties to choose from, we chose the runt of the litter. The one they didn’t even know about, because its mother had left it to fend for itself for an entire day before they found her. We called her Abbey. And she looked like this:
She was beautiful. She would sleep at the foot of our bed on a blanket all through the night and then when Phil left early in the morning to go to work, she would jump up and sleep with her paws around my neck. After she was lost her lady bits, she would spend her days outside and her nights in, hanging out on our laps, using the leather couch as a scratching post and opening the kitty litter bags to make her own public toilet.
Then her sister, who lived across the road, had an unfortunate accident. Her tail was literally stripped upwards. Her tail was also broken. Our neighbours honestly wondered if they should keep her alive, such was the terrible state she was in. They had no clue how she had gotten that way. Had she been run over by a car? Caught in a fence?
Not one week later, Abbey didn’t show up when we returned home from a party. She has never come home since. She’s not at the pound. She’s not been advertised as found in the local paper. She's gone.
That’s when something the pound attendant had said earlier hit me. She suggested perhaps there was someone catching and killing cats in our area. Two cats missing, one other in the street nearly dead: Cat trapped.
What kind of sick fuck does this?
We wracked our brains, eliminating and including neighbouring people. Was it the lady next door who makes us feel like we’ve all dropped acid after talking to her? She’s not right in the head, but doubtful she has the capacity to trap and kill a cat. The young couple out the back with chickens, dogs and goats? Animal lovers and seem nice people. Nope. The hoarder down the road who has had 500 L rain water tank out the front of his house for over 3 years? Nah, he likes stuff too much to get rid of it.
That’s the thing, just like serial killers, it’s not completely obvious from the outside how evil some people can be.
So I like to believe Puss and Abbey have just found a better home, with better owners who shower them in catnip and chin rubs. It beats thinking about the alternative.
Executive decision has now been made though: No more animals for us. Not in this house anyway.