Our pet cat, Mog, is truly a magical creature.
We got him the first weekend in November, just after Halloween and one of my favourite times of year. I just love autumn – the changing colours of the leaves, the crunch of dry leaves beneath your feet, cosy evenings lit by fire light, steaming sticky toffee pudding and custard. I had wanted a cat for ages but we were plagued with many considerations – we live in rented accommodation that doesn’t allow pets and we could barely feed and look after ourselves so it was hardly responsible to invite someone, or something, else to join us. However, we also had another feeling of life being too short to always tell yourself that it is irresponsible to do what you want. One thing was for sure, we had a lot of love to give a cat if we got one.
One fateful morning I was working in the pub when one of my regulars came in, Nick. He used to drink in the other Bristol pub I worked in and he seemed to follow me to this new one. I didn’t particularly like him as I find him sad to see as I have inadvertently watched his health decline and it really wouldn’t surprise me if drink was a major factor. Our landlady-customer relationship has had its ups and downs (for a time I barred him from my previous pub for an indiscretion which is a whole other story), but at this time in it we were getting on quite well. I appreciated a friendly face in this new pub that I wasn’t particularly enjoying and I think Nick just appreciated someone who hadn’t being advised to attend an AA meeting being friendly to him. That morning Nick was full of how he had just got a kitten. Nick inspired me really. If Nick could try to provide for a kitten, then so could I. I asked him where he got his and he even popped up the road for me to get the numbers. Guy might not be much, but he has a heart of gold deep down.
Later that day, after I shared my new found inspiration with my partner, I rang the numbers. The guy that got back to me first told him he only had two left, a black one and a tabby. They were 15 weeks old so we could have them for free as he was only going to be taking them to the shelter otherwise. I had heard black kittens often find it difficult to get homes because people believe they are unlucky. That poor kitten might not have any luck at the shelter. My mind became even more set.
We brought a kitten carrier and went over there at the weekend and I was shocked at the sight that greeted us – a tumble down terrace house, with rubbish including empty tins of Whiskas strewn across the over grown weed ridden front lawn. I felt like I was entering some strange previously uncharted kitten bartering underworld. We knocked on the paint peeling front door and a guy with a 5 o’ clock shadow answered. The inside of the place wasn’t much better than the outside. We were greeted by the mother cat and the tabby kitten. The guy knew I was interested in the black kitten so he set to trying to find him. He searched high and low for ten minutes with no joy. He was just going back upstairs when I spied a pair green emerald eyes glowing from behind the fridge. The guy was tired of looking for him so when he went to grab him and the kitten tried to dart back behind the fridge, he ended up pulling his tail and dumped a quivering furry black mess unceremoniously into my arms. That was the final straw. My mind was well and truly made up. No matter what happened between us and this frightened creature, ultimately we could offer it more a life if it came with us.
So our life with Mog began as I soothed him into his new carry case and we took him to the car. We had mixed feelings on our journey home with Mog’s guttural wailings playing in the background. He wasn’t enjoying this trip outside of his comfort zone, and we had reservations.
We got him home and into the house where we shut ourselves in the kitchen and opened the door to his carry case. It didn’t take him long to venture out, sniffing everything. The wailing stopped. For a bit he hid inside one of our hessian shopping bags. We tried to carry on our afternoon as normal before I had to go to work.
A short while later when we were sat on the sofa, Mog joined us. He serenaded us with his beautiful purrring while we made a real fuss of him. We had done the right thing.