Although my parents both grew up on farms, and must have had dogs, they were not dog people. However, my mother was definitely a cat person and we always had a cat around the house. The first one I can remember was a tortoise shell animal named Jonathan Joseph.
I can’r recall how he came to live with us. No doubt someone’s cat had kittens and we were given him and he was probably named by my sister and me.He was an amiable cat who did enough mouse catching to keep my grandfather happy and didn’t lie on his seedlings in the garden. As kids, we were fond of making houses on the lawn. They were constructed from lawn furniture and dress up clothes and usually had several rooms. One room was the baby’s room for my sister’s prized doll. Her eyes actually opened and shut. Inevitably, Jonathan found us and squeezed through the dresses to join us. We would ask my mother to take the cat away and she’d suggest we gave him a room. So we did and he’d settle down happily on a pile of clothes and snooze. He became the other baby.
If we went out in the evening, the cat would wait at the back gate on the milk box. In those days, a milkman delivered milk in bottles in the early morning. I often had tea with my grandparent when i was young and they’d walk me home . When my grandmother saw Jonathan sitting on the box, she’d mention what an ugly animal he was with his multi coloured coat. Of course, I’d bite like a shark and defend my beloved cat. At the time, I didn’t realize that she must have waited for my reaction and enjoyed it.
Our cats slept outside. That wasn’t as harsh as it sounds as my father had several sheds and the biggest one usually had an open door. Our cats and visiting ones could find a sack or two to seep on and stay dry and warm in the wettest or coldest nights. We had our sat for at least ten years and meybe longer. Mum said he missed me when I went to boarding school and came through my bedroom window to look for me.
When we caught tadpoles in the deep ditches by the hospital, I tried to raise them into frogs. I was always surprised when they seemed to vanish until I found my cat scooping one out of the large bowl where the poor things were living. That was annoying but not a criminal act. The worst thing he did happened when Mum was feeding the neighbours’ fish while they were on holiday. The fish tank had been placed in the wash house, a separate building behind the house. The window was open to allow fresh air to enter. Unfortunately, it also allowed the cat to enter. When Mum went to feed the fish, she discovered them scattered on the floor in bite-sized pieces She was mortified.
Jonathan Joseph died when \i was away at university. I was told he caught cat flu and I am not sure if that is a real illness. In those days, you didn’t take cats to the vet for any treatment. If they got sick, they either survived or died. it was a tough life. I missed my cat. He was a good animal.
Next week I’ll write about another cats that lived with us.