This has been a sad weekend. Humbug (pictured right) was one of my neighbour’s cats. I’ve mentioned him before. He was no ordinary cat. Originally destined to be a show cat (if you know the breed then please let me know), he was born with a slight defect that meant one of his eyes wept from time to time. His modelling career was over before it began. So one of my neighbours got him as a kitten and he became a member of the community from then on.
When his owner went away on holiday another neighbour looked after him. But when he returned, Humbug decided he was happy where he was and opted to stay put. He’d chosen new owners, but that wasn’t a problem. Humbug was an opportunist and would go from house to house accepting food from whoever would give him any. With no fear of going into other people’s homes, this was where I got to know him.
Day or night, if I went into my house and Humbug spotted me he’d sprint at me and follow me inside. He’d then proceed to roll around on my floor (pictured right). He’d stroll around my house as if it were his own, maybe fall asleep in a corner for a while and then move on when he was finished with me. He did this with most of the people around me and he was one of those friendly cats that you could just pick up, throw over your shoulder, and he be as happy as Larry. Everybody loved Humbug. Even my girlfriend, who claims she doesn’t like cats.
Sadly, he was run over a couple of streets away on Thursday morning. He’d disappeared and nobody had seen him. His owners are away on holiday and another neighbour was looking after him, so she was distraught at his disappearance. When she found out what had happened she went door-to-door to pass on the news. It goes without saying that he’ll be greatly missed. It’s amazing how animals like cats manage to worm their way into your heart and how they get you into their routine. His unique personality and behaviour is gone forever. It’s a shame and it further reminds me (as if I need reminding) of how shit life is. There’s no rewind button, what’s done is done and there’s no going back.
What’s even more sad is that I was the last person to see him alive. Late on Wednesday night I came back from my girlfriend’s house and Humbug was sitting on her doorstep. I went over to my house, he followed me and I stroked him and went inside. I didn’t let him in as he’d been in earlier and I knew I didn’t have any food for him, plus I was going to bed. It’s a shame, I would have liked him rolling about on my floor just one last time. But like I said, there’s no rewind button. I’ve printed out my favourite picture of Humbug (left) and framed it for his owners for when they return. It’ll be scant consolation for them but the whole neighbourhood is in mourning. You may be surprised by the impact Humbug made on our lives, but if you’d met him you’d understand.