The Housemate has been here since Wednesday, and we’re having a blast. She is nursing me back to health – or rather, staying out of my way as I cough and sneeze and complain my way through the week. She’s a lovely girl, and I think we’re going to have fun living together.
Which is why I’m trying not to become bitter and resentful about the fact that she has stolen my cat.
I arrived home from work on Wednesday to find TH asleep in her bed, and Kat the Cat sitting in the doorway, looking confused and a little worried. “It’s OK, Kat,” I whispered conspiratorially, “she’s staying with us for a while. Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it.” I patted her head reassuringly (the cat’s, not The Housemate’s) and she followed me downstairs, relieved to have me home with her. Jingle jingle jingle went her little bell, as she stayed close to her beloved owner. I was very proud of her later on that evening, when she went and sat by TH’s feet in a very welcoming way. What a mature, clever and hospitable cat she really is. Then when I went to bed, I saw her sitting once again at TH’s bedroom door in a most responsible manner, as if she was waiting to tuck her in and sing her a lullaby or something. Remarkable animal.
At last, all was quiet in the house, and Kat was satisfied that TH was sleeping peacefully. Jingle jingle jingle went the little bell, and I felt the familiar soft thump as my cat jumped on to my bed and curled up in the crook of my knees. “Good night, Kat,” I said sleepily. “Purrrrrrrr,” went Kat the Cat.
On Thursday morning, en route to the shower, a movement in TH’s room caught my eye. I glanced in and froze, rooted to the spot in horror and disbelief. Kat the Cat looked up sleepily from where she was lying curled up beside TH. The cold stab of betrayal pierced me like Romeo’s rusty dagger through his broken heart. If I were in a soap opera, I would have fallen to my knees in distress, clutching at my hair and screaming an endless “Noooooooooooooooooo…..”. But I’m not in a soap opera, so I turned in defeat and stood sadly in the shower, silently nursing my sorrow.
Last night, Kat didn’t even bother with the pretence of coming to my bed first. All I heard was a faint and distant jingle jingle jingle, much like the ‘clanging chimes of doom’ mentioned in the Band Aid song that’s been stuck in my head for two days. Every jingle was like mocking laughter in my ears.
Much as it pains me to say it, I think Dirk was right about cats all along. They only break your heart in the end. And me an invalid, too. Betrayal like no other.