FEED ME.

Murphy

Murphy.

Murphy minced his way through the front door, his rubbery legs crisscrossing in a delicate cat walk strut. He sat down at my feet, curled his tail neatly around his butt and stared up at me. A sphinx-like black statue. He meowed delicately – a quiet, meek squeak. His eyes widened, apparently surprised by his pathetic feline performance. He got back up on his paws, stretched lazily and padded around me, rubbing provocatively all around my legs with his black tail stuck up at ninety degrees like a flagpole. Sat down in front of me again. Stared up at me. Then let loose a loud, grating yowl.

FEED ME!

It occurred to me that Murphy doesn’t care much about anything. He can eat stinky cheap cat food at any time of the day or night. He couldn’t give a monkey’s uncle about meal times or his weight. He has no issues with eating week-old leftovers from the kitchen dustbin. He doesn’t care if his bed is covered in hair, and is a nocturnal nomad – he will even swap sleeping places all night without losing his sense of well-being. He rolls in the dust when he feels like it, licks himself clean and starts again. I want to be a cat.

Best of all, he doesn’t care. Nor does he love anyone. No care, no love…. no regrets. No existential dilemmas. No feeling bad about scratching a kid who tried to impose a hug on him. No angst. Just food, sleep and leisure on his own terms. The simplest possible way to exist. We are just the hands who feed him. When he decides. Stroke him. When he decides. He doesn’t have any feelings for us, or for anyone else. I am the cat that walks alone. Feed me, and I will tolerate you. Stop feeding me, and I’ll go elsewhere. He only shows emotion when other animals venture into his territory. Then he renews his vows with the dog and chases the intruder off the property before returning and asking for food.

FEED ME!

Murphy demands again. The yowl has developed into a gravelly and insistent miniature roar that is edged with irritation. I comply. He throws himself at his bowl, and noisily wolfs down his food without the slightest sign of thanks or recognition.  Animal instinct. Then he pads softly into the lounge; curls up in a neat ball on the armchair and transforms into a soft toy. He languorously licks his paws, and inspects me as I open the mail, tut, curse and shred the paper into confetti. His baleful eyes observe me from the depths of a compact black fur ball. Detached and free of emotion. He sniffles and snores as I make phone calls, press stars and hashtags and see my time go by as I wait for a stranger to reply. To give me a solution or to create a new problem.

Murphy’s paws twitch in his sleep. Does he dream? Does he awaken with his stomach flipping over like a greasy egg when he thinks about what lies in wait for him each day? Does he summon up his courage before stretching and stepping out? Does he decide again and again to be a new cat, to stop doing this and start doing that? No, he’s just true to himself. I want to be a cat. Eat. Sleep. Play. Meow.

FEED ME!

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19 thoughts on “FEED ME.

  1. Aww isn’t he lovely? I have a black cat too with a white-tipped tail and the odd white spot on his breast, like someone dropped bleach on him (they didn’t!). 🙂 He likes to be watched while he eats, the daft sod.

      • I think it’s more to watch over him to ensure the marauding hoards that inhabit our house (non-existent) don’t attack him while he eats. He either has an over-active imagination or he got the rough end of the bowl of food when he was in the SPA and was traumatised for evermore. I also think he’s milking it a bit for attention.

  2. This was really well written. I love dogs for all the things that cats are not. Loyal, loving, faithful. I miss having one around so badly.

    • Thank you, Tric 🙂 We have a dog too, and she’s a calculating ratbag – always howling to come iside when she hears the dishwasher being filled beacause she thinks there may be scraps for her. She’s good company, even if she smells bad.

  3. The dogs soon tell us if the bowls are empty when they should be full….I can’t say they are grateful for food, but then they shouldn’t need to be.

    The sight of a boiled egg has them all at attention at the table so our breakfast eggs are now joined by theirs and I have the job of peeling them….
    Mug, that’s me.

      • Three of our own…neighbour’s dog as soon as a fork hits the china…two more from up the road in thunderstorms…
        Can’t say I’ve nopticed any sulphurous effects but canine digestions seem to vary widely.
        My first dog, as a child, could reproduce the effect of thirty school canteens simultaneously boiling cabbage to death….when he stirred from his bed and walked away up the hall to get away from his own production number it was time for you to leave in the opposite direction.

  4. I grew up in a house with a couple of dogs and a cat and I loved them all but when I started keeping my own pets, it’s always been dogs. They’re much more companionable than cats. Whenever I return home – even if I’ve only been gone 5 or 10 minutes – it’s like they haven’t seen me for weeks, they’re so exuberant in their welcome.

    When I’m in the house, I can’t move without them all jumping to their feet to follow me from room to room.

    My dogs let me know, by their exuberant welcomes and dogging of my footsteps that they are pleased to see me and want me to play with them and share adventures

    By contrast, when I visit a friend who has two cats, they don’t even acknowledge that she has entered the house, and I might be there an hour or more without seeing them – unless one decides to go in the garden, in which case it will enter the living room and pad towards the open patio door, completely ignoring us and pretending not to hear it’s name being called.

    This is why I share my house with dogs rather than cats. If I’m keeping an animal for company and providing it with food, warmth, and shelter – I’d at least like it to acknowledge my presence once in a while ! 🙄

    • Eh up, chuck 🙂 True, dogs are much more communicative than cats. How many dogs do you have?? We had a great cat once, PF loved him to bits. He woke us up by licking our noses in the morning – he was a bit of a “cat dog”. He had a run in with a car, and lost. (With a name like “Calamity”, it was almost his fate.) Now Murphy is a survivor, costs us a mint in vet’s fees, and PF can’t stick him. Such is life….

  5. Super observation, MM. I’m an inveterate cat-lover, even though I know none of them has ever loved me back. But they have been great company, have sat comfortingly on my knee and purred, or fallen asleep near my desk and snored and above all are so wonderfully beautiful and graceful and independent. 🙂

    • Ta muchly, Miss P 🙂 I’ve had cats for 20 years- I found my first cat, Gumble, under a washing machine in Tahiti. He used to curl up in bed with me. Murphy is a really loofy, cool cat in comparison. But I really envy his detached attitude to life and responsibility.

  6. I’m hoping you’re going to get this as my being able to post comments on other blogs seems to be up the spout at the moment! Can you let me know if it goes to your spam?

    Great photos of Murphy! All cats, like dogs, have different personalities… I use to have cats when I was growing up and have always had cats until my last one called O’Malley, got run over and ended up with a broken spine and had to be put down… it was awful and he was such a wonderfully loving cat. He was rescued from a tangled up football net in a garage! Without fail, every evening, as soon as my noisy brood had been packed off to bed and I sat down, he would be straight on my lap for a cuddle and there he would stay until I went to bed. He would be flat out on his back with paws akimbo… he was lovely. After he went my sons wanted a dog and that’s when Mutley joined our crew! 🙂

    I wish I had got another kitten at the same time but I didn’t and I don’t think Mutley would be any good with a cat (she chases them if she sees one!) I think you’ve got the best of both worlds! You are right about cats being true to themselves though and if I had a choice and couldn’t come back as a dolphin, I would want to be a cat too! 😀

    • I’ll be having words with my spam filter- I just found this comment in the spam lounge! Nothing else from you in there, though… all very strange.
      O’malley sounds like a corker of a cat. I think that he must have clicked that you saved him. Murphy was found on a petrol pump with his brothers and sisters- but I doubt he remembers. You can get a dog when you have a cat, but not the opposite – at least that’s what the vet told us. Murphy laid down the law as soon as Smelly Dog appeared, boxed her on the head and got about his business. They’ve been a great team ever since.

      • Glad you found it! What’s all that about?! Will have to get in touch with WordPress and sort it! I have been a bit manic at work for a few weeks, covering holiday shifts etc., so do need to catch up on everyone’s blogs… thought I was up to speed with yours but it seems not! I’m not too convinced that I’ve been getting everything in my reader either… must investigate further! Will be catching up now so keep an eye on the spam just in case!!! 😉

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