The Holt family were more prone to call him ‘the Kitten’ than his real name, even though he was around 4 years old and was long since a fully grown cat.
Leon was named by my brother after the main protagonist of the seminal computer game Resident Evil 4. We also have a tortoise named Lord Sadler, after the game’s antagonist. That tortoise has his own existential difficulties as he spends the whole of each night futilely trying to scrape his way out of his habitat. This is no doubt due to the fact that he’s after some sweet tortoise pussy.
Cats are such independent creatures that it is hard to notice initially when they have gone AWOL. The issue of the missing cat was first brought to attention by my father (Ken), who said that he hadn’t seen ‘the Kitten’ for a week. That week has turned to a fortnight, turned to three weeks.
There are various threats that face the life of a cat: roads, wild animals, psychopathic children.
There have been incidents with previous cats.
My first cat Hazel went missing for a similar length of time and came back with barbed wire wrapped around its leg. It survived the incident though and went on living for a long period afterwards. It finally passed away a week after it had gone senile and tried to piss in a toaster.
Our second cat Frisky went missing one day and never came back.
Leon is our sixth cat, one of four that we have at present.
It’s sad thinking about lost pets, the lack of certainty about their fate is troubling as you are relatively powerless to do anything about it. Pets are also completely thick and most likely can’t envisage what the concept of being lost means.
CLOSEST I CAME TO CRYING
I thought about the period of time that the cat has been missing.
I had an image in my head that the cat could have been attacked by a fox, or otherwise injured somehow.
I thought about the fact that the cats generally never stray massively far away from the immediate area surrounding our house.
It could have been laid stranded on the outskirts of Dalton Wood.
There was potentially a window of time where the cat could have been saved, but I was not aware that it was missing.
Something about the idea of the cat suffering or being in peril, meowing out into the cold night whilst I was farting around on the internet in blissful ignorance makes me feel very sad.
I hate the idea that there was a window of time where I could have prevented the cat’s death or disappearance if I’d been in the right place at the right time.
This made me feel sad.
WHY I DIDN’T CRY?
The cat might not be dead and could conceivably come back. I’m sure that historically there must have been a whole battalion of cats that have been away much longer than a month and have still eventually come back. A quick check for anecdotal evidence on Yahoo! Answers suggests some cats have come back after months away.
It would be amazing if a Homeward Bound style situation developed and my two missing cats (Frisky as well as Leon) finally came back, bounding over the hill, making wisecracks and accompanied by a brand-new, sexy female tortoise for Lord Sadler to hump.
Still I think, much like his namesake, chances are good that Leon has probably ‘taken- too-much-damage-and-didn’t-have-a-green-herb’ shall we say, and these words have inevitably flashed up before his eyes…
In Jonathan Franzen’s excellent novel Freedom, there is a scene where one of the characters wages a vendetta against house cats, based on the decimation of the bird population wrought by the rise of domesticated felines.
Since finishing the book I became instilled with a sense of guilt about the excessive amount of cats we own and the havoc that they could be wreaking on the local bird population (though they generally bring back dead mice and baby rabbits rather than birds). Nevertheless there is a question about whether it’s fair to set up four cute furry killing machines right on the outskirts of nature. Maybe it’s for the best that there is potentially one less cat besetting the already precarious position of wild birds in this country.
There is also the possibility that the cat has shacked up with some other family who he reckons treat him better. In which case fuck him.