THE WELL TRAVELLED KILLER CAT (RETIRED)
To see her lying there you’d think she was an angel of a cat, but I could tell you a thing or two about her.
She was born in Wales and her airforce officer owner was posted overseas so left her in a cat rescue centre in Manchester. That’s where I got her. She didn’t like me when I took her home, hissed and growled at me like a terrier with a sore head, hid behind the settee to avoid me and clawed me when I tried to be nice to her. The airforce guy had her for 3 years and called her Domino, which I thought was a stupid name, so I called her Lily Savage for two reasons. The first is obvious – she was a savage little so-and-so. The second reason might not be so obvious – the splodge of black on the top of her head reminded me of Lily Savage’s peroxide wig with its black roots.
Savage by name, savage by nature, she spent much of her day tormenting and beheading any innocent mice which admired my beautiful Manchester garden. From that, she graduated to rats and even came home with a small mink once. I had the passing daft thought that she wanted to wear it round her neck like the ladies of yesteryear did with fox fur stoles. I could have imagined her with it on, but she had to settle for a pink sparkly flea collar with a Manchester United logo off a keyring dangling on it. My Man City neighbour Paul hated that cat. Dunno why!
She then took to walking along the top of a fence to climb down into the lady in number 1’s birdhouse. No need for meals on wheels. My Lily lurked there waiting for KFC. Killed Flying Carrion. Crows, coal tits, sparrows, anything that flapped around for seeds left in the birdhouse she’d have for lunch! Her in 1 called her “the Hannibal Lecter of the cat world” and suggested I muzzle her.
Then came the day when a rather irate Manchunian knocked on the door with a face like thunder. He said “I’ve come to complain about your cat!” I immediately thought she’d been using the guy’s planter boxes as litter trays, but no. It was worse than that. He said “Your cat keeps attacking my Rottweiler.” I looked at the big brute of a dog drooling over my doormat and thought “Huh! Big dog, small cat, odd!” He pointed to the garden wall beside the entry that ran between number 1 and number 3 and explained that she lay in wait on that wall there and every time he walked his dog through there she pounced on its back, clawed it and legged it.” Secretly I thought “Not stupid. She knows it’s trapped by being on a lead!” I stifled a giggle thinking Tom and Jerry type cartoon scenarios about Lily and Brutus, as I noticed the name on the oversized bone shaped dog tag, and I apologised for her savage behaviour advising that the answer to the problem seemed to be not to walk the dog through the entry, but that if this was a violation of his right to walk his dog wherever he wanted he should carry a water pistol to squirt the cat with. “That would fend her off in a harmless manner,” I suggested, trying to be reasonable. I never saw him walk his dog round there again.
I’m not saying Lily’s a dog hating cat by any means though. She did walk around with a little white and black terrier cross breed called Giddy when my neighbour Eddie was walking her. Never could make my mind up if she liked Giddy as she was the same colours as her or if the ham Eddie gave her at his place had something to do with it.
Se remained the undefeated champion fighter in the area for 4 years taking on all comers from mice, rats and hedgehogs to feral cats and crazy dogs, only meeting her match when my big fat cat got chased all around the car park at the back of my house by a skinny little runt of a squirrel who was eating the birdy nuts I hung on a hook on the garden fence. I never saw anything so funny and of course it was one of those You’ve Been Framed moments when I hadn’t got a camcorder! They were tearing around the car park like it was Le Mans… and no camcorder!
Ok – Lily was well travelled as she came from Wales, lived in England and when we intended to move back to Northern Ireland she came too. We moved our bare essentials in a hired high top transit van. The cat came in her carrier up front with us and boy did she ever hate it. She yowled and howled for the first 60 miles of the journey giving up only because she fell asleep since the van was warm.
I dreaded moving her into a new area, especially since there was a dog next door. I had visions of her leaping on the thing daily from the great height of the 6 foot fence between my house and the dog’s. No worries though. She seemed to take more delight in prancing up and down beside the fence to torment poor Buster who just wanted to play with her.
Since coming to Carrickfergus she has been a different cat altogether. I saw her with a sparrow in her mouth one day and took it off her and let it fly. Some kids watching from their bedroom window got it into their heads I’d raised the bird from the dead and when their goldfish floated belly up in its tank they came to me looking for a miracle healing. I looked at the goldfish thinking “Now what do I do,” and looked at their anxious and hope filled wee mucky faces and said “Goldfish take a while longer than birds. Can you call back later?” When they were safely out of sight I hopped into the car, drove to the pet shop and asked the guy “Do you have one exactly like this?” dangling the wee mite by the tail. He carefully examined it, looked at his stock in the tank and fished me out a suitable imposter. I took it home in its plastic bag, and put it into a plastic bowl.
The children came back later as agreed, and I held the goldfish out to them in the bowl. “Thank you Jesus,” said the blonde girl. I said “I’m not Jesus.” She looked at me like I was nuts and said “I was thanking Jesus because I prayed He’d help you heal Marigold.” “Oh, right,” I replied, and you got your miracle. Take Marigold home now and take good care of her.” I was informed it was a boy. However they figured that one out is beyond me, and who was I to argue? Having done all that I wondered if I’d become known as a female Francis of Asisi and end up with queues of kids with dead hamsters and gerbils and all sorts on the doorstep, but thankfully that didn’t happen.
I never saw my cat kill much in Carrickfergus and wondered why until she was yawning one day and I noticed she had a lot in common with her owner – was getting old, had all of her hair and only a few of her own teeth! Unfortunately they don’t make partial dentures for cats, which is probably a good job too and Greenisland Rottweiler’s can sleep easily in their dog beds now. So, I can safely say she is definitely a retired killer cat now.