Abyssinia, Henry

2013: The year in cats

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Okay, so I haven’t updated this blog in quite some time. I’ve been more focused on writing things elsewhere, and reporting on life as it unfolds hasn’t appealed so much. If you’re interested, I’d be happy if you’d check out my website for up-to-date info on my articles, zines and whatnot; and I’m on the Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing.

Anyway, I hear the internet is rather fond of cats, so I hope sharing the various cats (also, dogs) I’ve lived with in 2013 might go some way towards making up for my silence here.

I began the year, as has become customary, in Lyttelton, a small village (population 4000) next to Christchurch, looking after three cats and two dogs.

My favourite of these cats is called Tiger, but I find Squeakycat a much more suitable name for him. He is goddamn enormous, sheds fur like whoa, drools when he purrs, and takes up the centre of the bed. He’s snoring as I type this.


Chester was new to the household this time last year, and not yet housetrained, and a bit stupid. But he’s very cute. So.

Zak the dog seemed to be depressed about Chester’s arrival, and looked like a sad Muppet most of the time. He’d been doing okay while it was just him and the cats. He’s pictured here with Socks, who disappears for days at a time (he’s suspected to have a second home), then shows up with birds and rodents for Felix to toy with. Despite being a killing machine, he, too, drools when he purrs.

Felix gets twigs stuck in his fur all the time. He alternates between following Zak around, and fending off Zak’s advances with a suitably scandalised look in his eye. He also likes to sit in flower beds.

I was very happy to return to Lyttelton to spend the month of April living next door to the above animals. This time I was looking after their neighbour’s four cats.

I still can’t tell the difference between Cissy and Suzi. Anyway, they’re always together, and while I was there they got conjunctivitis together, too. New skill: administering tablets and eye drops twice a day to two resistant cats.

Also pictured is Bertie. I was informed that he could be aggressive and should be approached with caution, but he was a sweetheart from the beginning. The three of them slept on my bed every night.

Silver is a staggering 23 years old and has unbelievably soft fur. I wanted her to love me but she was the least interested in me. She remains, however, in good health.

At the end of June I spent a week looking after two cats in Kuala Lumpur. It was just when the haze enveloped the city, obscuring the skyline and making everything smell like burnt wood.

Kia was the more aloof one, but liked my flip-flops. Notice the short stumpy tail, common among Malaysian cats. (Many people have sinister theories about this phenomenon, but actually, it’s just a thing.)

Gangnam is a bit gormless and quite sweet.

Mid-August, I embarked on looking after my brother’s cats in Amsterdam while he went on holiday for a month.

Cat Stevens is another of those enormous and amazingly good-natured cats of whom I am so fond.

Poppy came to live with my brother after being smuggled out of a restaurant in a bag. To this day, she enjoys getting into bags and being swung around. True story. Here she is, having made a nest in some recycling.

Back in Kuala Lumpur, Kaz and I spent a few days looking after Pixel in early December.

She is very cute and also ridiculous. She frequently leaps at people, but doesn’t use her claws or teeth, so the attacks are cute also.

And then I returned to Lyttelton, where Felix had gotten rounder, seemingly to accommodate all the twigs in his fur, and Chester had learned not to poo in the house but had not learned not to poo in the middle of the road with traffic approaching, and Zak had accepted that he would never get peace ever again, and Socks was still killing things, and Squeakycat was almost sick with love when we were reunited.

And every day I pick up Squeakycat and ask him, “Who is the best cat?” And then I explain, “You are the best cat.”

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