When I first moved in here, there was a dappled cat with a red leather collar who wandered near my place. It was a very loving and talkative cat, and I quickly grew fond of it.
One night my neighbour, a middle-aged Melayu man, was catching a cigarette break near where we parked our cars. He told me about the cat, whose name was previously Salem, although I can’t remember what they renamed Salem after. Salem had lived in my apartment block since 1997 (!!! This was in late 2012, btw), until his owners had moved to a new location…sans family cat. Salem used to be an all-black cat, but age had given him a rusty coat.
By the time my neighbour explained this, I had already started to notice the red leather collar was frayed and Salem was overly skinny. The neighbour said they fed Salem everyday, but because he had kidney problems he was skinny. Kidney problems also left him incontinent, so Salem was fed indoors, but stayed outdoors.
Sometimes I would open my front door and see little patches of pee (which always made my cat angry), so I knew Salem seeked refuge at my door sometimes.
My ex once told me I should abandon a cat where it’s habitat was, because cats are stressed by change of territory and would be more comfortable where they are. I had been feeding a stray called Manja then, and just the thought that I may have abandoned her to a similar fate as Salem, instead of rehoming her, still distresses me til this day; 4–5 years later.
I would also feed Salem occasionally. I just felt bad for him, he didn’t only look starved for food all the time, he was hungry for attention. He also had a bit of a limp in his hind legs from a road accident, which made him look harmless and pitiful. I would him the sample pet food I got when I bought Grey’s food. I worried they would be too rich for Salem to adjust to in his age, although I didn’t know what exactly was in his diet.
As I headed out one day, Salem came running to greet me. I sayanged him, put some kitchen towels on the floor and put kibbles out for him (I was more prepared in those days for impromptu cat feeding). Got into my car, drove away. It was days later before I realised I hadn’t seen Salem since. I had heard old cats can stubbornly leave if they’re about to pass away, but I didn’t know if this was the case. Logic says yes — Salem is dead.
Salem might be the oldest cat I’ve ever met. He was one of the friendliest, and definitely the skinniest. He was the first cat I knew of whose fur coat changed colours from age. He made me fear abandonment. I had thought he was a female cat because I don’t know cats very well, being a dog person, and his shameless friendliness reminded me of two female cats I knew. He didn’t have big nuts, like the ginger tomcat terrorising my area (later rehomed to a DJ I knew). He liked to golek when being petted, and tried to sit on my feet too. He accepted all forms of love and food, and never strayed far from his home. Maybe he would have been happier if his family had taken him to a new home.
I’m not extremely superstitious but there is enough freaky stuff going on at home sometimes to believe that mebbeh it is probably haunted.
One of the less socially-acceptable reasons is that my cat likes to stare at invisible things whizzing about the apartment. Then my psychic friend came over, and she didn’t say anything, but her eyes were following the same paths as my cat’s, except the cat wasn’t around. When I pointed it out, she told me I shouldn’t ask her anything.
So I asked, because I am that special kind of asshole to myself. And I regret asking. And I hate when people say they are psychic, and they tell you the same thing as other people who think they’re psychic, and suddenly you’re outnumbered by people who can see the same thing you can’t. And a priest is coming over to bless my house on Saturday.
Anyway, I only bring it up because this is the idiotic species my cat comes from, so I don’t know why I give a damn what she sees flying around my living room. It could be the ghost of a mosquito, she’d be just as excited. It could be banana essence. I don’t fucking know.
I’d been working from a home office for quite some time, but lately, my company moved to a new location in SS4. No more home office means the end of afternoon cuddles time with the animals.
The two cats cope with my absence by waiting at the front door to scold me immediately upon return from the office, every day. I kinda love it.
Resident dog Cookie is away at boarding while my housemate/colleague Adri is in Finland. I feel like holding a leash and waiting at the front door for Cookie too, sometimes. Or for Adri (without the leash).
But mostly I lie on a super comfortable leather couch at night and watch tv with my useless cats. When they feel like gracing me with their presence.
My mother’s first meeting with my cats early this month went something like this:
That’s what straight sisters are for, getting married and supplying legitimately birthed grandchildren to your parents. I asked my mother to leave Ipoh and move in with me in KL.
I’m keeping the useless cats.