INDEX Tuesday, 8 December 2015
The ghost cat
This is the ghost cat. He appeared somewhat mysteriously a short time after the disappearance of a rather remarkable feline who used to regard my garden as part of his empire.

The first cat was an amazing solid grey, quite beautiful and imperious in his nature as up market or pedigree cats often are.

The previous occupants of my house had probably fed him since he seemed to regard me giving him food as part of my worldly duties.

He didn't really need the food because he was 'owned', if a cat can ever be owned, by my cat loving neighbour. She certainly would never have let him go hungry.

Even so, he wanted me to provide top up supplies of grub and when I failed to do so he made his displeasure clear.

Once I saw him scratching up the dirt in my neighbour's garden and he did it so energetically that it went over the fence and I was showered in earth. That cat had strong paws and a good aim!

Perhaps, I should have relented and bought him some food, but he had an unfortunate habit of 'paying' for his food by leaving donations at the end of my garden. These donations were often impressively large rats, but in the right season they could also be fledgling Blackbirds taken from a nest in a nearby tree.

Rats I can take or leave, but I'm very fond of Blackbirds, who I think are one of Britain's finest songbirds, so this habit did not endear him to me.
Then my neighbour decided to move house and the grey cat disappeared. But not for long, it seemed. A cat with very similar habits (walking across the same roof top, taking possession of the top of the same garden wall) took his place. But instead of a rather gorgeous grey, he was a shocking white: as if his fur had been dyed or some terrible fright had turned his fur colourless.

The ghost cat is not an albino. He has green eyes. I never got close enough to his grey predecessor to find out what colour his eyes were, but I like to think they might have been green.

And the ghost cat like his predecessor has the present giving habit. Fortunately they've only been rats, so far.

I met my former neighbour and asked her what happened to the grey cat? Apparently he was fit, well and living in Wiltshire.

So the ghost cat is not the literal spiritual presence of the grey cat. Well probably not anyway. If cats really have nine lives perhaps they have nine spirits too and the ghost cat is just one of them. Perhaps, but probably not.
Posted by Jonathan Brind.
INDEX Tuesday, 8 December 2015