This week I am delighted to welcome guest writer, M.J. SCOTT to my monthly column on the animals in our lives. Writers lead essentially solitary lives and animals, great and small, play an enormous role in all aspects of our lives. Alison
Over to M.J.....
I've had cats on and off all my life. When I went off to university and did the rounds of the usual share housing/moving around/no pets allowed, I was without a feline for a few years. But then, I started work and decided it was time for another cat. Two cats in fact. So off to the shelter we went and a tiny grey fluffy kitten and an equally tiny black and white kitten came home with us. All was good for a few months. Then the tiny black and white kitten got sick. Feline Leukaemia, which older cats could often live with for a few years, but tiny kittens, not so much. Which left us with just the grey cat (and a worrying few months while we waiting to see if she had also caught the disease).
Putting our heads together, we decided that this time, we'd try a purebred (using the logic that they should be healthier). So with gay abandon, we decided on a burmese (I blame too many Doreen Tovey books as a child which left me with a fascination for oriental cats) and acquired a teeny red (okay, pale orange) boy to go with the grey girl.
Teeny he might have been but his voice wasn't. Nor was his personality. The orange cat was firmly convinced that he ruled the roost and that the humans should just play along. And when he didn't get what he wanted, he complained about it. Loudly. Just as well he was very sweet and loving in all other ways, otherwise he may not have made it out of kittenhood. Chatty cats during the day are one thing but loud burmese wailing at 4am is not so cute. Sadly, that was a habit he never grew out of (nor would he sleep nicely with the humans). We tried various methods but never could find something that would convince him to be quiet.
When he wasn't yowling, he was off having adventures (or sucking up to the two nice old ladies next door so that they would feed him and give him his proper doses of adoration when we were out). Unfortunately, despite being beautiful and vocally adept, he wasn't the smartest cat in the world. So his adventures often ended in drama. He managed to dislocate his tail (twice), get into the odd fight (due to thinking he was far tougher than he was) and to top it all off, managed to sustain major ligament damage to both back legs in separate incidents (most likely, according to the vet, falling off things). I shall not go into how much ACL surgery for cats costs or the joys of six weeks post operative confinement. He broke a tooth, regularly lost claws and delighted in pouncing on the grey cat when she didn't want to be pounced on. She was too much of a lady to ever give him the swatting he deserved. He went missing one night and I eventually tracked him to a neighbour's garage when he eventually worked out yelling for help might be a good idea. Still, he was the most loving cat I've had, wanting most of all to be with me, sitting on my shoulder or my lap and purring away loudly while I patted him. Burmese fur feels like silk over rock hard muscle. Very soothing. Probably another survival adaptation.
Sixteen years he purred for me and loved me and entertained me. And I loved him. The house felt way too quiet the day he finally succumbed to kidney disease. It still feels too quiet sometimes, even though two new cats are purring for me and competing for lap time. The orange cat was an original and I hope he's waiting for me, over there wherever it may be. And that the over there version comes with volume control.
Thanks for being my guest, M.J. I have lived with a Burmese (in my days of share houses) and they are great characters. You must miss him! Alison
M.J. SCOTT's second book in her half-light city series, BLOOD KIN, has just been released.
Imagine a city divided. A city where human and Fae magic rests uneasily next to the vampire Blood and the shapeshifting Beasts. A city where a fragile peace is brokered by a treaty that set the laws for all four races…a treaty that is faltering day by day.
I didn’t plan on becoming a thief and a spy. But options are limited for the half-breed daughter of a Fae lord. My father abandoned me but at least I inherited some of his magic, and my skills with charms and glamours mean that few are as good at uncovering secrets others wish to hide. Right now the city has many secrets. And those who seek them pay so well…
I never expected to stumble across a Templar Knight in my part of the city. Guy DuCaine is sworn to duty and honor and loyalty—all the things I’m not. I may have aroused more than his suspicion but he belongs to the Order and the human world. So when treachery and violence spill threaten both our worlds, learning to trust each other might be the only thing that saves us.
But even if a spy and a holy knight can work together, finding the key to peace is never going to be easy…