Letters to our cats

NICK BARNETT
Last updated 08:37 14/11/2012

The book A Letter to My Dog, in a New Zealand edition, is out. I blogged about it last week and have two copies to give away if you're keen - check out that post. All fine. But what about letters to our cats? Why isn't there a book about that, then? Huh?

Well, there will be soon, thanks to the people who did the dog book. And when it comes out, perhaps, I'll have a copy to give away.

But I can't wait for that. The balance needs to be corrected, now. Cat owners have as much to say to their pets as dog owners do. Don't they?

So with no prize to offer, I open up the floor (that is, the blog comments below) to your own letters to your own cats. And again I won't pike out - here's what I'd write to my cat, if I thought he could understand it.

***

MerrickDear Merrick

Where did you come from? We got you as a stray that had been handed to the SPCA, but someone had been looking after you.

When we met you in that SPCA room full of unhomed cats, you were plump and thick-furred, and it was your gentle hugeness that made you stick out and made us choose you.

Not so huge now, though, are you? Three years ago you were 7.3kg, but now you're around 5kg, a much lighter burden for a body that's 13 years old now. You're still spry enough, though, to leap on to the outdoor table if lunch is being had there.

Your food drive has always been constant. Nowadays, it's supported by a gnarly-old-man pushiness and a much louder voice than you ever had during the years before your eardrums wore out and left you minus one sense.

That deafness is just one of the detriments that early old age has brought you. Your kidneys are holding on, only thanks to a daily half-pill of Fortekor (delivered squashed into a knob of cheese). There's an unexplained ping-pong-ball-size lump on one of your "buttocks" but it doesn't seem to be growing. You've been holding steady for the past year. No decline.

You have a good quality of life, I must say. Food, sleep, sun, chin-rubs - in a cycle that renews every day. The only blip is an audacious dog named Connor who insists on cuddling up to you when it's cold, and walking over you to get a more advantageous position on the couch. Merrick, your calm tolerance of Connor and Phoebe has been medal-worthy, a jewel in your crown, a credit to your character; I wonder if your mysterious early life included a home shared with a dog?

You're a good cat - no flash, no glamour, no tricks, no trouble; you're laid back and promiscuously friendly. Long may you thrive. But I have one question for you: why do you walk away from your food bowl before it's empty, leaving free mouthfuls for the dogs that queue behind you on the kitchen floor? It makes no sense. It's annoying because half your ration always gets stolen. Is it because you lack a competitive spirit? Or are you just forgetful?

Get back to me on that, though there's no rush.

Your friend, Nick

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Picure: Erin McNulty

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