A catty catastrophe

Off the fence
A catty catastrophe

Off the fence
Áine Ryan

WHY I even bother to write about her is a question, perhaps, only my therapist could answer. Shame I can’t afford him any more. In so many ways, the little b***h has been the bane of my life. Utterly selfish. I have never witnessed such casual detachment. Her ability to just lie around and sleep all day was, frankly, unbelievable.
But, over the last seven years, Hilary had become an integral part of our menagerie. She was there for every family occasion. Every birthday, party, casual shindig. We even hauled her across the ocean to Clare Island for our Christmases there.
Despite her early tendency to indulge in acrobatic feats on presses and window sills, breaking just about every piece of precious pottery I owned, Hilary Rodham Clinton II, was always treated with patience, love and playful affection.
But then, heartbreakingly, one bitterly cold evening last March, she strutted out my front door and dramatically disappeared from our lives. Not even one measly ‘miaow’ goodbye.
Naturally, we were bereft, confused and for the coming weeks would shout her name – musically, gently – out over the fields that surround the house. The silence was deafening though. And pilgrimages to our previous house and her favourite feline haunts, didn’t throw up a whisker of evidence either. With one swish of her tail, our beautiful cat had vanished into thin air.
I do admit that Hilary hadn’t a great beginning to 2011. Due to circumstances that I will not bore you with, our precious pussy cat was forced to move house on a couple of occasions. For almost three months she lived back where she was born on Clare Island, and was terrorised day-in and day-out by her estranged mother, Squeaky, and a playful but pesky young pup, called after that grumpy old crooner, George Ivan Morrison.
Anyway, after being returned to her new mainland home in mid-March, she had staged a walk-out within hours. For weeks, every time I came in the driveway I expected her to be sitting nonchalantly on a window ledge, or perched imperiously by the front door. But there was nothing. Reported sighting led me up blind, empty alleyways.
Time passed and I was beginning to come to terms with the loss. And then, one bright, balmy evening recently, while walking in the nearby boreens with a friend, I spied two cats strolling leisurely in my direction. One was scrawny and ginger. The other was jet black, with perfect white paws.
“It is Hilary,” I shouted, my heart thumping. “Hilary! You’re alive.”
My former cat Hilary slinked around my legs, purring, as only she could purr.
She then turned her tail, and scarpered over the ditch with her new boyfriend.
As I shouted plaintively, she stopped just briefly, and turned her regal head.
She miaowed: “I have moved on. Get a life.”