For the last seven years or so it had never occurred to me that he would be run over. He was amazing around cars and to my knowledge never crossed the main road – it wasn’t his patch. By contrast, Monkey, who was run over a few years ago, was a big galumphing idiot of a young cat who thought he was a dog and, for all our love, was a car crash waiting to happen. We would never have owned him normally (nor Teasel) because of the road, but both found us having been dumped down our lane, so we gave them safe harbour as best we could and left the rest to them.
I waited for the inevitable day when Monkey was run down, but I never thought it would happen to Teasel. And despite having had to scrape his dead body off the road I still don’t believe that’s how he died. My mind is alive with theories, with guns playing a starring role. Whatever. He died the day we went on holiday, which led to a few difficult nights in France, but the holiday was a perfect distraction. Until we came home, to an empty house.
We’ve lost eight cats over the years and it’s not true to say we’ve loved them all equally. It’s not true to say our tears have been fairly rationed. Some clamber into your heart, albeit for all sorts of unfathomable reasons. Teasel was difficult, near feral, a killer, a psycho cat. Frankly he was hard to like. Which I think is why I did.
He was a loner but he was always my cat. He was grateful to me for taking him in. Whenever I returned from being away he would always be pleased to see me. He would always greet me in the same way – running down the path to see me. I’d pick him up and he’d let me nuzzle my forehead against the top of his head. Several times. Then he’d bite me, hard, under my chin, just to let me know he could.