The cat is mentally ill.
She joined in with my 4am worry-fest this morning by having a psychotic episode under the bed, tearing up newspapers and chewing on socks. I admire her self-soothing techniques, they’re much healthier than mine.
She is also bulimic, but not in a secretive bathroomy way because she’s, you know, a cat. She chews up grass then comes inside to vom all over the floor. It’s a cry for help, I think, though it’s hard to know because she refuses to engage in talking therapies…
This morning she brought her internal suffering right into the centre of my world by chucking up in my study, all over the print-outs of my book. The book is a mess, structurally and conceptually and now, literally.
I do LOVE a bit of mental illness though. I love that it makes us act all daftish and do crazy stuff like waking up at 4am and making ourselves vom and tearing up newspapers. If there’s one thing I know about being bonkers, it’s that you have to go back to childhood to explore the roots of your loopy…
We inherited this cat at 12 months old from a woman who’d just come out of prison for identity theft and fraud. I love how that makes me sound all street and like I totally have no prejudice towards former convicts and also my life is so interesting and far-reaching, I meet convicts all the time and welcome them into my circle of diversity. In fact, she was just a friend of a friend of a friend and we all believed she’d been wrongly convicted.
So this friend, lets call her Oscar Pistorius, arrived at our house one day with the cat. She told me how she took ownership of the cat at just four weeks old coz she was so desperate to have her, she just couldn’t wait and so she had to wean her and raise her with all the love and care of a mummy cat (which is extremely yakky and made me imagine her grooming the cat with her actual tongue) but now she was moving and couldn’t take the cat with her. We had a cuppa. She was strangely unemotional. Then she left and NONE OF US EVER SAW OR HEARD FROM HER AGAIN. I called her a couple of times to let her know how things were going but the phone was out of use. I googled her, the details of her trial and conviction, and found NO TRACE OF HER. It was a thrilling brush with a real-life mystery…
Immediately this new cat, let’s call her Myra Hindley, was revealed to be intensely psychopathic. She killed our other cat. She terrorised our daughter. When youngest was born she began diving into his cot to viciously bite his toes. She hated to be stroked and would become extremely violent if you tried to play with her. We could not, with reasonable conscience, try to rehome her with another family. The RSPCA wouldn’t take her. She was micro-chipped so we couldn’t just drop her off on the M60 or she’d bounce back. So we resolved to try and bear her.
It seems right somehow, that I should be forced to live with a vomiting, murderous, psychotic animal. No cute puppies for me! No hilarious and adorable cat-moments to share on youtube! Instead, Myra and I exist side-by-side, me scooping up vom and never looking her in the eye, she stalking us all with deep loathing, both of us sleepless and cantankerous and nauseous.
Maybe she’s worse at the mo because she’s all churned-up about Europe. She watched that “debate” on CH4 with me last night and at one point turned her back on the whole thing and began heaving. I thought: You’re dead right there Myra, it’s sickening…see you at 4am, yes?