Authors With Cats: Meet Kitsy and Charlie
Today on my blog, meet the cats of author Anna Dowdall!
Kitsy and Charlie by Anna Dowdall
I’ve had many cats in my life, and they have allowed me to experience the gamut of emotions, from love to loss and more. Beginning when I was a very small child in a gritty neighbourhood where cats roamed free and I couldn’t resist trying to love them, which got me plenty of scratches. My sister managed to snag us one of them. It had a unique semi-adopted status in the family, which meant that it didn’t have a great life because my mother didn’t want it in the house and the only time it visited a vet was for the purposes of euthanasia. Later I repeated the experiment, and once more our family’s ambivalence to love shone through and the cat died.
Was it from this early trauma that I adopted too many street strays in my twenties, or because my baby urge was strong? I had quite a few for a while. One died from a septic wound inflicted by another cat. I had to find new homes for the others eventually, due to precarious employment, the need to move far away. I don’t know what happened to the ones I gave away and whether they had good lives afterwards. At the time I felt like one of those reckless single mothers sending babies they couldn’t care for into the ether. I still think about them all.
Time passed and I got suckered into getting a dog for my daughter, a dog person. Our dog didn’t last too long, it died of cancer, but before that we got a cat to be a companion to it. Because, deep in the recesses of my mind, I believed all wasn’t well with this dog and I was trying to anticipate my child’s sense of loss. I may have anticipated it, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t mitigate it.
Well, more time passed, that cat began to seem lonely and I got worried, and so I got it a friend cat. Now I’ve still got the two of them. One very old one, quite sick, and a middle-aged one, its frenemy. These are their pictures. They look thuggy, and here are very deliberately blocking my access to my morning coffee, which, as everyone knows, is as mother’s milk to a writer. But they are gentle souls, inclined to torpor, unkempt due to atypically strong feelings about grooming.
I dream about cats often, dreams about peril, insight, love, loss. In that sense do they inspire me as a writer? I think of myself as a cat person, but in fact what does that mean? It’s a path paved with many things, besides cats.