Rugby Cafe Writers were challenged to produce a piece of writing inspired by Cats. Here is a selection of their contributions.
I don’t like cats by Christine Hancock
I don’t like cats, nasty sly creatures that kill for pleasure and care for nothing but themselves.
A long time ago, in the bitter winter of 1890, a man died. He was aged 82 and, separated from his wife, he lived in lodgings and begged for his living. Sometimes, he was seen, standing outside the family home, looking in.
On Christmas Day, he had dinner with his landlord and in the afternoon complained of pains in the chest. He went to bed alone, and in the morning, it was found that he had died.
At the inquest, his wife, who, it said, did not seem to regret the death in any way, alleged her husband said wicked things about her. That he had called out “Mew”, and told passers-by “She keeps forty cats”. When questioned, she said she kept two.
The doctor was of the opinion that death was accelerated by the cold weather and the jury agreed.
Not me. Perhaps there were other reasons for the separation, but I suspect that the cats drove him out, denied him a comfortable life in his own home.
Cats killed my great, great grandfather. It’s not surprising I dislike them.
Our Cats by Jim Hicks
When we were young, my sister wanted to be a vet. So she persuaded our parents to get a cat. And another cat. And then our cats gave birth to more cats. We gave some of them away.
One Christmas when aunt Mary and uncle Harold visited, I spent the nights sleeping on the sofa in the lounge with five kittens skittering around the floor.
Later I started having attacks of asthma. Eventually we realised it was the cats. We excluded them from the main part of the house and had them neutered.
Once I found Doke (mother cat) and Pascal (daughter cat) in the garden playing a game: Pascal quietly sneaked up on Doke and then suddenly ran forward. At the crucial moment Doke jumped a foot in the air, while Pascal ran underneath her and out the other side. Then both cats turned round and the game continued.
I suppose it’s all part of learning to be a cat.
The cats are all dead now. Belle, the matriarch, died curled up in her cardboard box that my father had cut a gash in so that the heating pipe went through the box. He called it her centrally heated box.
As I remember, Pascal was hit by a car in Lower Hillmorton Road. One sunny day, Doke lied down in the warm sunshine on the patio, and never got up. She died as she lived: flopsy.
(I know received opinion now is that domestic cats should be neutered before they can reproduce.)
The Cats I have worked for by Madalyn Morgan.
I have worked for three cats.
Toby was a factory cat.
Susie was a theatrical cat.
And Caesar was a South London crime boss.
As Black as your hat, with two white paws,
Toby’s full name was Two-shoes Treaddell.
He began life catching mice, progressed to rats,
After which, he was made to wear a bell.
A hunter, Toby loved the woods.
He caught a rabbit once.
He didn’t hurt it but brought it home as a gift.
He didn’t understand why he got short shrift.
Susie Kit-Kat had a lovely nature.
A delicately painted tortoiseshell.
Her coat was soft and brown,
with a black, red and orange mix.
A well-travelled cat,
she accompanied me when I worked in Rep.
Food, a litter tray and me
Was all Susie needed to be happy.
Caesar, a handsome British Blue
had been used as a breeder.
Thrown out when he had leukaemia,
He lived by his wits and the need,
He brought me a fillet steak.
My neighbour’s dinner dragged through the cat-flap in the door.
The steak went in the bin, and I took Caesar in.
How could I not?
A Wealth of Dreams by Theresa Le Flem
My small cat jumps up close,
she proceeds to spin
a warm cuddly haven for us both
with her kneading paws and pressing face,
a cold damp nose against my neck
she forms and massages a nest of perfect sleep
within to curl us both in one safe place.
My cat purrs her way towards a great sleep,
pressing her body into my shoulder,
and me heavily into the armchair,
the old cloth of it brushing against worn wallpaper,
fusing me and my cat and the house into a cocoon of sleep.
I would sleep too, but my thoughts in this nucleus of peace
are intensely awake, focussing on moving pictures so alive
that I almost think my dear parents are within reach.
My purring cat, it seems, knows more than I
about the wealth of dreams,
how they tease and flicker so, the soul.
Oh, but I would give back my childish rebel causes,
and step into the spaces left behind them,
to visit once again my young predicament
of what to choose to do in life,
and do it.
© Theresa Le Flem from her collection: ‘Meet me at Low Tide’ 2016
My Cat by Steve Redshaw
My cat prowls everywhere
Across my table, under my chair
It may outwardly appear to be cuddly and cute
But lurking within is a cunning brute
It thinks I will welcome it into my house
If it offers me the carcass of a half-eaten mouse
It gently purrs and rubs round my ankles
It just wants feeding, that’s what really wrankles
I can seldom sit down and relax because
It leaps onto my lap and digs in its claws
It creeps round the garden intimidating birds
I won’t mention what it leaves amongst my herbs
It sneaks in from the rain and proceeds to doze
On top of my clean, neatly ironed clothes
It scratches at my carpet and rips the curtains
It is determined and deceitful, that’s for certain
If you are wanting a pet, a cat will not do
You can’t own a cat, the cat will own you
For the first time in their lives, they found themselves the subject of deep scrutiny. It all started out innocuously enough, with a quiet ‘miaow’ at the open kitchen door, which they correctly translated to mean ‘a saucer of milk, please’. The level of engagement gradually escalated to actual entry into the kitchen by the scrutineer, followed by a slow walkabout of the whole ground floor of the house. The visits became more frequent, from once or twice a week to every day, and almost always around the same time. It occurred to them that the scrutineer might be working to a plan, but the end game was not at all clear.
The Scrutineer, as you’ve probably gathered by now, was a member of the local feline community. A tom of slight build and indeterminate age, but certainly no more than three years. He had a sleek black coat with a smudge of white around his nose and four white socks. They mused that maybe he might be called Socks, and the name stuck.
The affair became a topic of discussion at their occasional dinner parties. Advice from their guests varied wildly from ‘give him the boot now or you’ll have him for life’, from the softest animal lover among them, just trying to be sensationalist, to ‘make a bed for him in the corner of the kitchen and entice him to stay overnight’ from the more level-headed (and less inebriated) members of their small group.
In the end, the decision was made for them. One Saturday morning, Socks greeted them at the foot of their bed with a series of loud ‘miaows’ and several flicks of his long, shiny tail. A signal to them that they’d passed the test and that he was here to stay!
Cats’ Rules in the Garden
Cats are allowed in my garden as long as I can’t see them. What’s out of sight is out of mind and wont creep me out.
Cats shall pass through my garden in minimum time. If my greyhound is about then as fast as felinely possible, finally running up my fence like a squirrel.
Cats should beware my children with their toy guns. I have asked them not to shoot cats with catapults or BB guns but have said nothing about Nerf™ guns, water pistols or paintball guns.
Cats ARE NOT to leave droppings in my garden, even if buried. We don’t want your treasure and we know where you live. Also don’t dig up my guinea pigs’ graves again.
Do not sniff my lilies if they are in bloom. You have been warned and I keep them in the centre bed next to the cat mint.
Do not make any noise in my garden or in its vicinity. You might think you’re singing, I might think next-door’s are starving their baby.
You can help yourself to any rats, mice, voles and definitely moles but birds are off your menu. Pigeons can be considered flying rats for the purposes of this rule. Stay away from the frogs in my pond. Squirrels in trees are safe anyway.
House cats are the best cats. Roaming, ranging ones are the worst. On film cats are great; on YouTube, in museums or featured in amusing adverts – or best of all snug in my neighbours’ houses. If you come into my garden you are just a visitor.
Cats obeying these rules will be tolerated, be threatened with nothing worse than half a cup of clean water and will even be allowed to use the hedgehog’s doorway.
Chris Wright F.I.D.O.