I recently decided to submit one of my stories about Happy Cat one of the BIG pussy cat loves of my life to the Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Lovers book series and today sat down to the somewhat challenging task of paring the original story I had written about my beloved moggie some years ago a story of several thousand words to just 1200 words
Cutting back on words is always a challenge for me as a writer. At Uni as a mature age student I once threw over a chance for a higher grade in a subject by making a deliberate choice to write 3000 words on the essay topic rather than 300. For that act of rebellion I was downgraded from High Distinction to a Credit by a word nazi lecturer or so I thought of her but clearly at the time it was more important to me to write the essay I wanted to write than to squeeze my big thoughts into the generic soulless pap I felt my essay would represent once I had cut out what felt like to me so many essential and indispensible big ideas .
So here today years later I found myself having to edit and write to meet the 1200 word limit but with much less soul angst and proud that I manged to keep the essence of the story as one I wanted to tell . I am feeling pretty happy with it and the fact that I managed to bring it together at 1198 words Yeh !! I share the new shortened version here with readers
Pic courtesy of Sharon Cloward Pinterest (looks like Happy Cat in his youth)
Written by Wendy Buss
There was no doubt but that Happy Cat chose to come and live with me .Must be 20 years ago now I was living in a very small Blue Mountains township and this tiny very handsome little marmalade kitten with beautiful golden swirls in his coat seemed to just suddenly appear at my back patio one day and tentatively stepped over the threshold and invited himself in to my home .I watched startled and amused at he poked around the house sniffing curiously and checking out every corner as if he was checking the place out to see if he might deem it a suitable abode for himself
I must admit I was smitten from the get go but at first didn’t consider keeping him and was reluctant to feed him .I knew he must have come from a house just down the road .It was a house full of teenage boys .I had never actually seen any full grown adults going to and from the place .The boys seemed to have a menagerie of cats and dogs there and there was often loud music and partying and I got the impression the kids were smoking a whole lot of weed .I figured Happy Cat just liked the peaceful quieter vibe up at my place better
I stuck to my guns about not feeding him until one wild and stormy afternoon I heard a commotion out on the front verandah and when I looked out the window to see what was happening my heart melted as this tiny little creature was out there in the wind and rain mewing piteously and hurling himself at the front door demanding to be let in .So that was it .Clearly he’d made up his mind (and mine) and Happy Cat came to stay for good .
I never did have a conversation with the boys down the road about it I guess I should have gone and had a chat with them to see if they minded me adopting their kitty but I was already firmly of the opinion cats decided for themselves where they prefer to be and by then don’t think could have born it if they had said NO I couldn’t adopt him. I did one day however find an empty cat food can tossed over the fence in to my yard and imagined it must be them letting me know they knew Happy Cat was staying with me but thankfully they never came to contest the matter or try to claim him back.
I felt honoured that such a visual beautiful and striking and sociable creature had chosen me as a buddy . Life in the mountains could be a bit lonely especially in the cold winters where the grey clouds hung low obliterating the sun and strong winds howled around the house sometimes for weeks at a time .I was also journeying through the grief of a breakup from a man I had really loved so in a way Happy Cat became the man in my life and would take to draping himself across my chest with his chin resting on my shoulder as if to absorb the pain from my heart . We were a regular Darby and Joan and he brought me great comfort and joy
I have to say though he did have the most presumptuous and atrocious of manners.Whenever I went shopping and set the brown grocery bags down to fish out my key from my purse to let myself in to the house .Happy cat would by way of greeting pounce into the bags burrowing down through the groceries sending everything flying to find tasty treats he naturally presumed I would have brought for him
In the freezing cold weather I used to enjoy a hot water bottle and when I went to bed I would find Happy Cat curled up on the covers directly over the hot water bottle hogging it so that I could barely get my toes on it underneath his weight .
One time a friend came to visit and as I took her on a tour of the house I decided to take a few photos as we went from room to room .When I looked back at the pictures later I couldn’t believe it but there was Happy Cat who must have been following us around without my realizing it . There he was posing larger than life front and centre in every single photo.
One time I read Barbara Marciniaks Pleiadian Teachings book called “Earth” .Barbara a world famous Pleiadian channeller expressed a theory that Cats are divine creature really little monitors beaming back information about the human condition to their home planet which was ruled over by superior catlike beings .
I loved the intriguing possibility of this .”Ah” I said to Happy Cat when I read this “so thats what you are up to “.Astonishingly after I said this to him I noticed it must have gone to his head and Happy Cat always seemed to position himself above me e.g. always sitting high up on the backs of chairs or window ledges looking down on me as if to say “Ah finally you recognise my Superior status”
However when I came into the kitchen one day to find him sitting on the breakfast table lapping at the milk in my bowl of muesli I lost my cool with him and told him ‘Enough is Enough’ I put him down on the floor and gave him a very stern talking to pointing out to him that he had crossed the line and his manners were really beyond the pale .In my sternest voice I pointed out who it was paying the rent and buying the tucker and however it was on his planet here on planet earth he was living in my home and he needed to pull his head in and mind his manners
We travelled on together for several years and through several house moves .Eventually Happy Cat got sick though with kidney problems . He was no longer the happy sociable audacious creature he had once been . He was getting thinner and thinner and gradually went off his food and spent much of the time up on the roof out of the reach of human company . I regret to this day that I was so preoccupied with other stuff going on in my life didn’t realize earlier how sick my furry friend actually was. When I finally got him to the vets the vet checked him out and told me he was seriously ill with kidney problems and there was little he could do and it was better to let him go . Broken hearted I left my puss cat with the vet to do what he needed to do to end his suffering.
All these years later I feel like I can still tune in to Happy cats presence and I break in to a huge smile and shake my head in disbelief as I recall his audacious and outrageous antics . Happy Cat without a doubt has been one of the BIG loves of my life .