Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Accidental Cat

I wanted to buy my mum a present. I had had major surgery on my back and she had made all my meals, brought me bowls of water to wash with, listened to me whinge and kept me company. It had to be special. It had to be big.
‘What about an adorable little kitten?’ my sister suggested.
‘Aw! She’d love that.’ That was my niece.
‘Go on, Hayley. Get a kitten. Get a kitten. Get a kitten!’
I’ve always thought that cats are a bit pointless. My dad’s not fond of them either and we’ve already got a dog. But as they banged on about what a hero I’d be if I got my mum an adorable little kitten I started to do that thing that never, ever works out for me. I pushed my instincts out the window and started to get on board with the idea. Hours later, the tiniest creature I’ve ever seen turned up on our doorstep with all of its belongings, ready to move in. I sat it in the palm of my hand, thrust it in front of my mum, ready to bask in the glory (she’s a crier. The gift is good if she cries), but there were no tears, just this kind of guarded appreciation that said, ‘That’s nice dear, but what were you thinking?’

And what was I thinking? Dad went nuts, throwing ultimatums all over the place, as if I’d brought a pet turd into the house and he was supposed to keep it in his pocket all day. And once he’d been appeased there was the logistics of the thing. The only place that she could realistically stay was in my room. With me. With me!

Oh the humanity! She shits and squawks and has torn my arms and legs to bits with her devil claws. I just don’t understand why people would choose to have one? They’re like toys that you can’t switch off. And she doesn’t listen. She walks on my laptop when I’m trying to write and crawls on my head first thing in the morning because she’s hungry. I’ve never crawled on any one’s head because I’m hungry. It’s just not reasonable behaviour. But anyway, I’m just her lodgings. I’m determined that she’s not my cat and I chuck her in the direction of my mum any opportunity I get. But then my mum chucks her back like she’s a feline hot potato.
‘She’s missing her mummy.’
‘You’re her mummy, Mum.’
‘But she obviously likes you more than me.’
And now my mum’s sad because the cat’s bonded with me, although I spend all my time cursing it and hoping it will escape out of the window.
‘Anyway, look at the state of her.’
I look. She looks like she’s been drowned because the whole time she was downstairs our dog’s been treating her like an ice-lolly and then I start to curse my mum for not taking good enough care of her and I get a towel and dry her and give her mummy cuddles.
Bloody thing!

Diazepam for Sale, the debut novel by Hayley Sherman is now available on Amazon
Time travel as a cure for depression, the Mods and Rockers on the West Pier, a vengeful Sat Nav lady, a seagull-stalked Frank Sinatra and Diazepam for sale... 
A fairytale for a prozac nation...
Fiction for a world that doesn't behave the way it should....  

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