Fat Cat

Even though her voice is croaky she sounds so much brighter. She laughs as she tells me of the dogs and the cat who find their way to her door. Two dogs, cross-spaniels, Spot and Bobbo. I gave it that nickname, she says, cos it bobs up and down all the time. She is delighted with them. They wait for her in the porch and accompany her on her walks. They love having a ball thrown for them, she says. Are they from the farm? I ask. Yes, she says in that husky voice. The last one that used to visit and then eventually stayed, Bonnie, died. And these seem to have taken her place, migrating towards this kind, gentle women. The cat is a different matter. She stays in the shed, she says. There a basket and a pillow there for her and she just prefers it, she says. She has a lovely nature, she says, though she can scratch. She just suddenly turned on her. I know now, she says, to watch out when her ears go back. A lost cat, abandoned, not feral. A neighbour had seen her in a thorn hedge. Was it hers? We asked around, she says. I thought I’d give her a neighbours’ children, they’ve a little terrier who loves cats. But she can’t stand dogs. But now she’s got so fat, eating three pouches of Felix a day. She laughs. I hear her kindness, her attention to detail, her love of the land, the animals, her fragility, her protective love for her daughter. She shouldn’t really have gone into work yesterday, she says, the cold was still in her head.

I am glad she is in my life, a short chat every Friday. We’ve never met. We don’t need to. It’s been almost five years now. It’s part of my week. A connection. Something good, something innocent, something true.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.