A Series of Cats
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The light brown tabby with the white spots always loved you. Never, not once in her life, did she ever stop loving you. It’s not too unreasonable to think that you were the central figure of her existence; when her mother and all her siblings disappeared suddenly from the world and were never seen again, there you were. You attended to her needs, you validated her existence. For the three years she lived, she loved you as a god. She thought only of you, the little human who looked after her, constantly.

And when that truck hit her, she was still thinking of you.

To the cross-eyed Siamese, you were simply a parent. She cared about you in her way, as you allowed her to live through your continual provision of food and water. But she had some personal autonomy. She had dreams, and fantasies of running free in a forest of ferns and chasing giant mice. She had never seen a tree.

Oh, how she would look out into the streets of rock and people and giant, metal monsters, and fantasise of freedom. Such images of strength and liberty were the only thing on her mind throughout that week leading up to exams times. Wasn't that week so busy, and so very hectic? It wasn't your fault you had to devote all your attention to it.

That thought helped you cope after you opened the basement door a month later.

The odd-eyed ginger longhair was different. That’s what you always wanted to believe. You had your own flat now. You were responsible. “He won’t end up the same as the others”, that’s what you said to yourself. You wouldn’t give him too much attention, because that’s surely what went wrong with the first two. You fussed over both of them, and then they died. Cause and effect. Obvious, when you think about.

So, you fed him and looked after him, without ever really allowing yourself to grow attached. Soon, he became just a needy, living fixture that you coexisted with until you dropped out. He was just a pet. That's all he was.

You stood by and watched when the dog killed him, but you were sad about it.

The light-coated Balinese felt very little at all. He lived, he meandered; he survived, and was content with that. Sometimes, he would go out into the street (as your house was so very confined, and the furniture did always have that rough, scratchy quality) and meet the other cats. He hissed, he played, he mated, and he did whatever else it is cats do when no-one is watching: which is most likely to say, more hissing and mating.

One thing he definitely remembered feeling was confused. He was confused when his human carer appeared one afternoon in some distress, smelling of anger and disappointment. He was even more baffled when you started producing a lot of noise, as his instincts (with the knowledge that you were female) told him you were either heavily injured or fornicating.

And he was simply bewildered when you started kicking him. In fact, his last thought was an attempt to reconcile why someone either hurt or having sex would kick so very, very hard.

The beige tabby with the white flecks hated you. She hated every single aspect of your being; from your torn, wrinkled skin, to the way you rarely ever moved, to your smell. Oh, that smell. It was a combination of decay and memory that marked you instantly as an enemy. It described everything one needed to know about you.

But she was small and weak, so she just waited in that tiny, neglected apartment. She paced around, and sat on your lap when it was necessary to placate you. You were so very needy, always having to be fed and watered. Perhaps what bothered her the most was the smell of escapism; that odour that seemed to her to be of nostalgic fantasies about younger days, and how things could have gone. But those days had gone.

So she waited.

And plotted.

And when you died, she ate you.

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