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Upstairs Downstairs

26 October 2005

For I will consider my cat Misha
For I am the servant of the living Cat, duly and daily serving Her

Etc. For those of you who donít know the original, go check out Christopher Smartís Jubilate Agno - thereís some good stuff in there. "For I bless God for my Newcastle friends, the voice of the raven and heart of the oak" - how could you not love this man?

However, the realisation of cat-worship in my life is our proper topic of the month, and I must report upon the princess. The vet is pleased and a little surprised; frankly, he didn't really expect her to survive. But she has done that thing, though her head is still askew and she is still taking mega medications (I learned on Sunday that the steroid she's on is the very same that I was taking myself a couple of months back; gave me a warm feeling, that did. But she's on one-eighth of my dose, and I weigh considerably more than eight times two kilos, which is what she weighs. As I said, mega medications...). She has condescended to start eating again - the most expensive foods on the cat shelf, and fresh chicken in the evenings - and last night, oh joy, she regained her esprit de l'escalier.

Thing is, with her head on sideways and her balance shot to ribbons, she has a strong tendency to fall over. This is no great harm on the floor, not a calamity if she falls off the sofa; on a steep staircase, it could be another matter. The first few days after I fetched her back from hospital, I kept her shut into the dining room & kitchen, largely to keep her away from the stairs. Turned out that I was worrying unnecessarily, though, 'cos when I did let her through, she ignored the stairs altogether and pretended we were living in a bungalow. Even at night, when ordinarily she's first up to bed while I'm still fussing with lights and visiting the bathroom, she just settled happily down in her box by the radiators. This really impressed me, because I was fairly sure she could get up the stairs okay, it was her coming down that worried me and I didn't believe that she would think far enough ahead to let it worry her. Not great chess players, cats.

But there she was, exhibiting good sense for the first known time in her little life - until last night, when clearly she decided that she could do this after all. I was in bed, and asleep, and then suddenly I wasn't, on account of the small furry thing fussing at my face. I applauded her cleverness, we had a nice snuggle and listened to the radio a while, then I turned it off and rolled over and thought she would curl up by my head as is her habit.

Not she. She went off to try the going-downstairs thing: which had me anxiously out of bed and watching, to make sure she could. Not a problem, seemingly. A little erratic, perhaps, in her progress, but nobody's awarding points. Anyway, she made it safely down, and I went back to bed. And back to sleep.

And she came back again. And left again, and this went on all night, up and down, see how clever I am, Chaz, see...?

It's midnight, and I am going to bed. Alone. For now.


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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.