I was always terrified of cats. There was my good friend's cat, a vicious little cunt that would act all nicey nice infront of her and her family and the moment they were gone, POW! She'd be sinking her little teeth into my poor hands and I'd be trying my hardest not to swear. She moved in mysterious and terrifying ways. My ex's cat slept at the bottom of his bed when I stayed over once. I accidentally kicked it in my sleep and it bit my toe. I went to befriend a little kitty outside of the upper school gates of my old comprehensive school and it bit my fucking hand! There was that time someone put a cat on my head, perhaps even knowing how much they shit me up, and it dug its claws into my shoulders and neck before leaping off. Cats always brought pain, betrayal, and ultimately heartache.
Then I met Floyd.
It was a beautiful Summer's day as I recall, although such fond memories are likely to invent such glorious weather to accompany them, and I was pottering about my mam's house, hell, it was my house then, when my brother remarked upon a little kitty in our back garden. I thought perhaps she may have been attracted by all the little birdies that love nesting in a particular tree of ours, the one with the crazy twirly branches, or the big bird sculpture my Uncle made, or even the pretty flowers mam had planted about the place. Roses and posies and pansies and er, daffodils. She was hopping about the place, catching things in the corner of her eye and darting at nothing. It was as if she had invented an imaginary assault course in her head and she was training for the marines.
My brother was listening to Pink Floyd at the time, and so we called her Floyd. We enticed her into the house like a paedophile might entice a child to their car, or a witch to their gingerbread house. A little nervous at first (her and me both!), she hesitantly poked around our humble home. She seemed to like running up and down the stairs a lot and her whole life appeared to be one massive game of hide and seek. I let her sniff my hand, and I tickled her behind the ear. My confidence grew and grew and soon I felt confident picking her up, cwtching her like a baby and rubbing her belly, or putting her on my brother's head when he least suspected it. She answered to Floyd, which surprised us. In hindsight, she must've answered to a dozen names. Clever cat.
As far as I understand, cats are very hygienic and shy. Not our Floyd. Floyd shat in the plant pot in the bathroom. Floyd jumped down in front of my brother on the computer and curled one out on the table. Floyd left little presents everywhere and for everyone. Floyd did not discriminate.
She had other funny antics, too. I thought they were normal of a cat but my inexperience got the better of me. Floyd was the first cat to make a nest in my heart and before her, I didn't know a thing. I don't think I even understood love. Everything was a learning curve, from the first time I couldn't work out where she was hiding until I looked up and saw her smirking down on me from on top of the door, to the first time she stayed over... and slept exclusively on my face.
Floyd stayed with us for what seemed like forever but at the same time it felt like a day. We had the best of times. Literally. Then one day she just stopped coming around. We searched up and down the back lane, we called her name, we left her food, we did everything short of making a poster (she wasn't actually ours, remember). At first I was angry, thinking about all the people she was rubbing up against and all the bloody good dinners she was getting up and down the street. 'The whore!' I thought. Fuck, I missed her.
I was feeling particularly sore and broken hearted for a few weeks, right up until my brother excitedly related the most beautiful tale. He was at his computer, just like the first time, when she tootled down the garden path, half a dozen kittens in tow. On opening the back door, she jumped down, her kittens stood before her in a row. She looked at my brother, looked him right in the eye as if to say "It's been a good time, but I have new responsibilities now". She turned and left, her little kitties following her, and she never looked back. I'll always remember you, Floyd.
Actually, I've seen her since and she acts like she doesn't know me. Bitch.