my cat merry Cornwall

Farewell to the grumpy cat who made me merry

Beware of Terry Pratchett quotes in the text ahead. My cat died last night and I need to blog about the little fella.

First, we must go back thirteen years to the twenty-one-year-old version of me. I wasn’t cool. I was an introvert and still am. If I’d known the term INFJ then, things would have made much more sense, believe me. Christmas was approaching. I still lived with my parents but we’d recently moved from the house I called my home all my life. I felt like the foundations had been stripped away from me. Then, my nan was rushed to the hospital and this was the beginning of her decline of health which would lead to her death three years later.

To summarise, I wasn’t in a good place. I don’t know if it was Seasonal Effects Disorder or a brief bout of depression but I remember the sensation of it shrouding me and it was like a switch. Happy, smiley Emma was turned off sometime in early November and it wasn’t until February the following year that I remember realising I’d gone through the day without a dark thought in my head.

Christmas = Gremlins

This change did not go unnoticed, and on Christmas, my Dad gave to me a white and ginger Persian kitten. With the huge, round eyes, and the fluffy fur, and the colouring, he WAS Gizmo from Gremlins. Heck, it was Christmas too! Don’t expose him to the light. Don’t get him wet and never, ever feed him after midnight. This guy was going to be hard work.

This little kitten became a non-stop source of entertainment for the family. My grandparents were visiting and my nan, after her stay in the hospital, found a new lease of life watching and playing with the, at the time, unnamed bundle of fluff.

So, to names. Always a fun job. I have no children but if I did, they would have sensible names. Silly names are for pets. One day I’ll get two cats of my own just so I can call them Oddball and Crapgame from Kelly’s Heroes. One day…

In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this

Let’s look at my previous cats. We still had four (mum wasn’t too pleased when Dad brought this one home without telling her, to begin with) but two had been thrust upon us if we substitute cats with greatness in Malvolio’s well-known speech.

First, was Willie. Please laugh, as I do, at the thought of calling her in on a night. I named her when I was five and I’d been watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Willie was the kind of cat which allowed you to stroke her and then she’d claw the skin off your forearm for no reason. Then there was Maple, a beautiful Maine Coone which hissed at women, loved men and had a tendency to throw up anything you fed to her. Thirdly (you will see the Pratchett reference) was Greebo. But I can’t mention Greebo without mentioning Frodo.

His movements could be called cat-like, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things

Frodo was a black cat who headbutted like a rugby player. When he died, his territory was taken up by a fat, manky black and white stray that stank of piss but had the temperament of a hapless puppy. He sat on the doorstep, waiting for food. Eventually, he snuck inside and we repaid him by taking his bollocks off and naming him Greebo. If you have read any of the Witches books by Pratchett you will understand why the name suited him.

Lastly, there was the Ragdoll called Dream, which changed to Nermal since she looked like the grey cat in Garfield. Someone we knew needed to get rid of her, so we took her in. A beautiful silvery colour, you could sit her on your lap and pretend you were a Bond villain.

Back to the unnamed fluff ball. We decided on another name from Lord of the Rings and Merry stuck out for three reasons:

  1. (Merry) Christmas, the time we got him
  2. He was given to me in an effort to cheer me up.
  3. He’s a Persian and their breeding means he looks like a grumpy bastard at all times.

Thus Merry came into my life.

Photo of my cat Merry stopping me from working

Aren’t they fun as kittens? They sit on your lap. Merry practically sat on my head on a night. He would fit into the hood of my dressing gown and be carried around like Yoda. He had a purr like a thunderstorm but a meow that was endearingly pathetic.

Then they grow up and no longer did he sit on my lap but he’d seek me out and settle somewhere in the sunshine. Always one eye would be open to the world. Merry did have an aura about him to suggest he was plotting world domination.

Every procedure for getting a cat to take a pill worked fine – once. Like the Borg, they learn…

What I LOVE about cats is they hate it when you do work. They sprawl over your books, your laptop, decide to make your inbox into a bed (or a dirt box if you’re not careful). But ultimately, they are little shits at times. My parents now have another cat called Bilbo, but he’s often called Baggins because he is a little shit. The four-legged assassin is another name he goes by.

I finally moved out and got my own place but my parents are only a ten-minute walk away so I decided to let Merry stay there. My hubby to be was still sorting out his employment and for a time he would work away in the week so I would ‘borrow’ Merry to keep me company.

Cats will amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated by a paw

Merry would quietly lounge about, plotting world domination but the minute I turned the light off to sleep he’d decide this was the perfect time for a grooming session. Being a big, fluffy Persian, this took time and effort. Where best to do such a thing? The bed of course! The thunderous roar of his purr was accompanied by the deliberate licking (with the odd chewing noise when a big chunk of hair got caught in his teeth) and it drove me up the wall. Shooing him away and closing the door didn’t help. Closing the door only results in carpets disappearing fast. I’m wary too, of closing doors after the incident where he mistook my cream coloured sofa for the dirt tray.

One time, he sat in the lounge and stared at the fireplace for three days straight. Great, I thought. I now have a ghost in my house! My hubby decided to investigate. There is an opening to the chimney which you can just about stick your head through and hubby was greeted by the beady eye of a jackdaw. Scared the shit out of him and he probably banged his head too. Merry, however, was delighted when the jackdaw was flying around the living room.

My final day with him before he started to go downhill I read out a few chapters of my current WIP. Merry and the dog fell asleep. I will try harder.

So, I bid farewell to the grumpy cat who made me merry again.

“What is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
Death thought about it. CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE.
– Terry Pratchett



    • emmacox

      They do. Pets are easier than humans. They don’t come with the emotional baggage I guess. They do come with unwanted presents in the shape or dead birds and piles of sick, but I can forgive them for that.

      I did write him into book two of my WIP so he lives on in a way. Pets and the characters in my head are my babies!

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