My brother and I lived with an older sister when we were young. One day my teenage brother carried home a battered cardboard box from an East London building site he was working on as an apprentice. Inside was a scrawny kitten with matted, marmalade-coloured fur. Someone had brought the kitten to the site. If nobody wanted it, its future didn’t look hopeful. It was going to be released to live wild on the site by the Thames.
My sister and her two little girls took “Marmalade” in and he became an adored member of the family. But he never forgot his tough, East End roots. He had a touch of the villain about him and most of us carried a few scars of sudden violence, meted out if we dared to presume that he was anyone’s pet.
I wrote a tiny story “It starts with a cat who scoffed at boundaries…..” published on Paragraph Planet today, inspired by Marmalade who lived till he was 17.
It starts with a cat who scoffs at boundaries, who spits disapproval from his bowl, struts from the room when you speak, shakes fur onto every surface, blames you for the chaos of his life. Add a neighbour’s door, on the latch. The cat muscles through. It’s tidier there and and free of fur and fleas. The cat purrs persuasively. It ends with spinning sirens, a conviction for breaking and entering, a smug miaow.