A TEAR IN THE EYE
A TEAR IN THE EYE
My “Blackcat” logo
About February 1995 I was sitting outside my house in Phoenix having a smoke when a small
tortoishell cat appeared on the patio with much mewing. Clearly a feral cat she backed off whenever I
went near, but once I was seated again she would return. Water, milk, some pieces of ham and
chicken and then she was gone. Night after night the ritual continued for about a week until she would
then stay on the patio until I went inside.
Another week and she gets bolder and eventually enjoys my affections and stroking and arches her
back to show acceptance. Now she is around the house all day and gone after her evening meal until
one morning she pokes her head through the kitchen door only to find Max the labrador and Dopey the
spaniel flopping around on the cool tile floor. Both dogs collected a few “Ali” butterfly jabs and hooks
and in no time accepted they were no match for the intruder.
The fur bundle is here to stay so a name has to be given? Finally, “Raticus” is the given handle and
“Ratcat” seems the norm. The inbred survival and hunting expertise is evident and she continually
brings me presents of Quail and Rabbit along with Lizards which are continuous play things until they
leave their tail at the scene and scuttle off under the fridge or TV to die and the stink the house out until
the remains are found.
Raticus, has a couple of litters, fathers unknown, and I decide to keep one who is a big grey male cat
with a black moustache who was appropriately called Adolf. He became very submissive and mother,
Ratcat, would knock the stuffing out of him in daily playfights. A very happy cat he went to the Vet to be
neutered but whether they screwed up the injection I shall never know as I was less than 3 miles away
having dropped him off when they rang me on my cell to say he had passed away? I rather think a new
nurse in training had given him an overdose by mistake.
When Brenda and I first met she had her own grey long haired cat called Luna and after many
weekends Luna moved in with me and Ratcat about a month before Brenda did. Well at least they had
someone to box with and play hide and seek.
The Luna cat
Dogs, puppies and others come and go and neither cat is phased with any of the new arrivals and
quickly stamp their seal of disapproval on any behavior that doesn’t conform to feline wishes.
With a major dog flap in the rear door the cats come and go as they please and on all our RV
adventures they stayed at home supplementing their endless food supply with more fresh rabbits and
other creatures. The move to Colorado sees a change in their lifestyle as we are close to the main
road and although they may have adapted the decision is for them to be “house” cats.
On our return from Casper in September the Ratcat is looking much thinner and although still eating
well and very playful she is turning into a bag of bones. We suspect she is fading. No signs of
discomfort, she enjoys life to the full pushing her nose under my elbow while I’m eating, reminding me
that there must be a tasty morsel on the plate for her!
“Are you looking at me ?”
Friday, October 1st and Ratcat is sitting looking at the water bowl and hardly replying to my ridiculous
cat noises. Later she disappears under the bed, a well known don’t bother me cat antic. In the evening
she is not present for the family meal and we are getting a shade worried.
2140, and after a day in hiding I find her on the bathroom floor. I pick her up and bring her into the
lounge where she looks at all the dogs and me and settles down on my lap. I cuddle and stroke her
and she is seemingly content and at exactly 2200 she stops breathing. Her life is done, she had
waited all day to say those last goodbyes and now she is away to enjoy her remaining other 8 lives.
Saturday morning and armed with pick axe, shovels various and other tools a final resting place is dug
under a big tree and close to one of my raised beds. She is laid to rest, never to be forgotten, as my
longest friend in the USA. Suitable headstones are found and Raticus has her own place on this planet
and in my heart.