Pigeons, we hates pigeonses

Or, A Farewell To Indy Cat

The downside to getting a kitten (or puppy, or … you get the idea) is that you’ve started yourself on the inexorable continuum from the fluffy excitement of “Aww, cute” to the guilt-inducing heartbreak of “Sorry chum, but now we have to kill you”.

Indy Cat has been part of our lives for just under 13 years. Despite more than his fair share of (admittedly largely self-induced) set-backs, he fought through it with more resiliance than I would have managed. Luckily, he was born with a huge stock of cattitude, and I’m fairly sure supplemented his traditional nine lives with some extras blagged off his friends.

Indy as a kitten

Indy: seen here with the original specification four feet

Even for a cat’s life, thirteen years is too much to cram into one dopey cathartic blog post, but he definitely had some highlights.

Named after Indiana Jones for his inquisitive and stubborn nature, as well as being fearless to the point of stupidity, he tended to live up to his billing. Candles: things to be investigated at all costs, despite reducing his rather exemplary whiskers to charred stumps. Tall things: obstacles to be scaled, come what may. Ornaments on top of Tall Things: impediments to a comfy resting place, best removed with a casual and utterly unashamed push of a paw. First experience of outside: falling from a first floor windowsill after climbing out and failing to turn around to get back in. This was conducted complete with cartoon-style alarmed pause as he realised he was now standing on air, before gravity took over and whisked him away, tips of ears hovering before vanishing with the rest of him.

That one he literally bounced back from. Not so much his first attempt to take down a car, aged two, which ultimately led to the amputation of a rear leg at the hip. Two major lessons learnt here: one, that missing a limb didn’t slow him down at all; and two, never let Fate hear you say “Pet insurance? Pfft, as long as neither of them survive being hit by a car we’ll be quids in by the time they’re old”.

The Enemy

The Enemy – die, scum!

Losing a leg only mildly reduced his one-cat war on pigeon kind. Generally pretty live-and-let-live, only squirrels and pigeons could be guaranteed to bring on murderous tendencies. Apart from a brief diversion into pond-emptying (fortunately we never found out whose), pigeons were his one constant enemy, causing twitching, chirruping and the descent of red mist even in old age.

Sadly (there are way too many pigeons in our garden) aged four he decided on another attempt at car wrestling. This resulted in various injuries, including severed nerves in the shoulder, and thus another limb down. Downside: two functional legs = house cat, no argument. Upside: achieves legendary status at vet’s for adapting so well. Upside: ultimate trump card in ‘sympathy vote’ stakes from all visitors to the house, despite it not significantly impeding him at all in his day to day routine. So on balance, not as bad as it could have been.

Confined to quarters, Prisoner Indy still contrived to display a full-on, feisty and independent spirit. Cat platforms, table tops, working surfaces: all perfectly achievable in one bound. Except for work surfaces. Obviously our cats would never go on work surfaces, that would be unhygeniec. They know it’s wrong, we don’t allow it, and they respect that. Absolutely, and without question.

Pigeons – still less than vermin: hunting continued from windowsills and behind patio doors, with much complaint that the job couldn’t be completed properly.

So, nearly thirteen years of bounce, vim and vigour, peppered with accidents and too many out-of-hours trips to the RVC for the bank account to quite forget, have come to an end. Cancer got you at the last, little fella, but it couldn’t diminish your funky tail, ridiculous whiskers, and delightful “Screw it, I’m going for it anyway” determination.

In the great Venn diagram of animal afterlives, I suspect that Cat Heaven intersects considerably with Pigeon Hell. Bring down one of the little grey blighters for me, mate, and have at it.