Our neighbourhood cat is a very good cat. She is always generous with her time, regularly stopping by our flat to survey how things are going. She helps out around the house – last week she exercised high levels of perseverance in catching a mouse after a very long stake out by the fridge. She then showed maximum restraint by gently holding the mouse in her mouth until such time she was shown the door. She is always in immaculate condition, owing to a very extensive cleaning program.
She attracts attention, though she doesn’t seek it. Often people will walk past and see her perched atop her roof, looking down proudly across the street. They point affectionately, ‘Hey, look at that cat up there’. ‘Oh yeah, cool. That’s a good cat’. She will pretend not to notice, though secretly she’s chuffed. She reserves her enthusiasm for special events, like when a preferred member of the street comes home. When she sees me, she immediately rises and lunges from her rooftop and onto the footpath, at great personal risk. When I leave home to go out, she will occasionally walk to the end of the street with me, simply to ensure I am convinced that my decision to leave the neighbourhood is the right one. However, some days she blanks me and turns the other way, pretending not to see me. Classic cat behaviour. ‘I know you saw me, you flinched. Enjoy the sun, might catch you later on.’
Some days her meows suggest a sense of urgency, as if to say ‘I’ve been sat out here for an hour, you’re late, motherfucker’. I explain that occasionally I need to work late, and, as such, am unable to always guarantee I’ll pass her perch at 7. ‘Human lives are very different to cat lives’, I explain. By this point she’s usually run ahead and already in place by the door, awaiting entry. She’s a very good cat. Respect.