Came down yesterday morning a bit slumbery and not quite awake. It’s dark, before sunrise and the light switches are everywhere except where necessary. Got to be careful, the stairs are full of traps, specially at the bottom, where things get stacked if I don’t know where to put them. It is full and dangerous and requires considerable concentration. This latter is not immediately available first thing in the morning, before taking my kefir (no, not coffee). Last step – I know because my foot poked about for the next one and failed to find it.
Feel my way to the kitchen sink on the other side of the black room, above which is the switch with all the cables hanging out. (Old wiring near water – and I bleat on about safety!) Click!
Suddenly, out of the dark, to which my eyes have yet to become accustomed, a smash-clatter slither drop. And then the identifying sound: ‘Reeeaou!’
Piss-Piss is indignant, I gather. It’s eight o’clock already and he hasn’t had his carefully prepared breakfast. His lord and master is in the middle of the room, clutching at his chest, expecting a major cardiac event, but he doesn’t care, the bastard (never met his parents, either!).
Piss-Piss merely jumped down from his spot among the hats and things. He does that onto the table, which, surprisingly, often has a selection of items on it. Today, it was an African straw fruit bowl containing fruit and, for some unfathomable reason, my house keys. Scattered fruit all over the the floor and under things. Wash again. Later. The bowl didn’t break. Must remember that about straw bowls.
‘Shaddup!’ I exclaim and manage to get the light to turn on. ‘Shadthefuckup!’ I repeat in case the message hasn’t got through. It hadn’t before, you see.
‘Rooeayou!’ is his only reply from under the table where I can’t kick him. Unlike other members of his species, he doesn’t begin his sentences with an M sound, as in ‘Miaou’. No, he’s different.
‘RoueeyAou!!’ He is even more indignant because he knows I can’t get at him. Clever little shit.
The fridge is on the other side of the room again (please don’t get the impression this is a large room; elsewhere I have described it, but I don’t remember where), with a door that opens in an awkward direction. These things can be easily remedied, and I can’t be bothered. Thing is, the cat food is in there, behind the cheese, the pomegranate pips in a jar, the unidentifiable salad dressing that has lived there for months and won’t go away. And the door that keeps coming back, nudging me with ice cold storage jars I can clearly feel through my winter dressing gown (why’d they call it that? I’m not in the least dressed, merely covered).
‘Listen, you. I’ve just got up, it’s cold and dark and …’
‘Getoutahere!’ My stentorian tone is warning him that any minute now, I will explode and turn the chairs and table over to catch him. He must know these items of furniture are beyond heavy and I would never be able to carry out the threat. He knows it; I don’t. So I scrape a chair a couple of inches across the floor, at which Piss-Piss let’s out a mocking ‘Reau!’ and heads for the cat flap that used to be the dog door, when the previous owner owned a dog. (Some years ago a large dog poked his head through the cat flap whose springs had died. It got stuck and was not easily removed. An aggressive dog, that, considering he was being helped… but that’s another story.)
Back to Piss-Piss, who will not countenance the presence of another four footed creature in the house and has yet to catch a mouse. Birds, yes, which he kindly deposits as a bleeding, mangled gift wherever I am going to step next.
He’s gone, a shadow in the darkness just before dawn, four padded feet making not a sound. Out into the world, to which he undoubtedly offers his excrement where it is invisible at least to me, for which fact I am very grateful. (He does have a formidable shit depository tray thingy from the local Chinese shop, only he does like to keep it clean.)
This gives me time to make his breakfast. Let me explain.
Piss-Piss is black as is evident from the photos. Some of his fur is dark brown, though, which comes from sitting in the sun on the neighbour’s roof, comfortably contained within a curved tile. He spends a lot of time doing that. He spends a lot of time doing absolutely nothing. Useless cat.
Anyway, the reason I make special breakfast is that he has one tooth (A canine? Sure?) that goes thataway> and a nasty infection in his mouth that makes even the vet gag at his breath. She says she’s tried everything and can do no more about it. It is not pleasant, but I kinda like the guy. (The cat; the vet is happily married.)
So I mix stuff out of a tin with some pellets. These are hard, so I put in some bread and add warm water. Sometimes he gets leftovers, like the chorizo out of something else I wrote about in Cooking for the elderly: don’t! He loves this stuff. Go figure. Actually, the contents of his tins often look more appetizing than anything I might come up with in the kitchen.
‘Reeeeyaouw!!!’ There he is again, in the patio, wittering, watching me from the place where I put his dish down. He always, every single effing time, manages to maneuver himself to exactly where the dish goes down. Understand this: the dish is double, one side water, the other, food. Guess what happens almost every day.
While the aforementioned is going on, he cacophonises a variety of sounds that range from his usual indignation to a hoarse grunt of pleasure when he tucks in. I welcome the silence while he eats ravenously, quietly. You’d think he never got fed, for chrissakes!
Piss-Piss can spend a half hour eating this scrumptious and lovingly-made disgusting food, and he will always leave something for the ants and slugs. So kind, he is.
Grandolfo, get on with the conversations, please!
(Grandolfo bites his tongue, which he does in order to avoid the dreaded shaddup verbal phrase)
Now, I know the title here is supposedly about conversations with a ninety-eight-year-old black cat (well, he’s been around forever) who has only one eye in full use and a tooth that goes thataway>, plus foul breath. You’ll have to excuse me, but I just got up and already the day is half gone.
Piss-Piss and I do not often have philosophical discussions, principally because I wasn’t in class for Philosophy. Piss-Piss must have been, though. He has boiled down his learning to a single philosophy that translates roughly to, ‘You give me food and I’ll do the rest.’ Yes, he rests well.
One day I’ll have to tell you how he came to be my responsibility. To think I almost came to blows with a local builder who wanted to take him to catch mice and rats at his yard.
By the way, Piss-Piss says ‘Raaaigh’. (It’s a greeting.)
(C) Copyright 2015 Alberto Bullrich