A Cat’s life

Posted: September 2, 2011 in #fridayflash, Short stories

Delilah looked at her feline companion in the moonlit room, her whiskers like fiber glass strands and her eyes shining bright and wide. If only she could talk.

* * *

From birth Saphy had been like the child Delilah had never had, even though she was a cat. She had her own Christmas stocking full to the brim with gifts and birthday presents all tied up with bows and catnip scented paper. Delilah even made Saphy a birthday cake every year consisting of sardines, Kitty-biscuits and fresh custard fillling.

Delilah had been by Saphy’s mother side, for twelve solid hours, whilst she gave birth to Saphy and her three brothers. She had found the pregnant stray days before, nesting in her garden shed, amongst the bags of compost, half-feral and yet almost relived for company in her ordeal. It was obvious she had arrived with the family of travelers, which had set up a temporary dwelling on the outskirts of town, only a few streets from where Delilah lived.

Saphy’s biological mother was jet black, with a thick fluffy coat and an odd set of eyes. One eye was yellow, whilst the other a more distinctive sapphire blue. Delilah believed this feature represented her personality. The yellow eye signifying her wild feline nature; a wild lioness fending for herself; whilst the blue, represented her longing to be loved and belong, like a lost gem, yearning to be set in a piece of fine jewelry.

The four kittens, each with a different pattern of black and white camouflage, were small and the size of fully grown mice. Their mother was too feral and undomesticated to stay with Delilah long, but had no hesitation in leaving her young brood behind in Delilah’s capable hands. One of the brothers was too small to survive, despite Delilah’s best efforts and tender loving care. It broke her heart digging a tiny grave for him at the end of her garden, but the three remaining kittens required too much of her attention to grieve for long.

Saphy was the first of the litter to let out a muffled and contented purr, some days later, whilst in the palm of Delilah’s mittened hand, which not only felt amazingly satisfying for Delilah, but also reassured her of her efforts.

From the moment she held the small fragile creature, the two had a bond, stronger than adhesive. She held Saphy gently, whilst stroking her back with her forefinger. Delilah was like a mythical giant holding a wild animal in his hands for the first time, bringing it closer to his eye level, quizzical of what it was and how it survived being so small.

The two male kittens once weaned and litter trained, went to loving homes, both vetted vigilantly by Delilah. Saphy stayed where she had been destined to from the beginning.

Delilah felt connected to Saphy and understand her unique ways, soon maintaining their own routines. They would both have their breakfast before nine every morning and tea at five thirty, when Delilah returned home from work. This routine was followed by supper at bed time, before both snuggled up on their own side of the double bed, like a contented married couple.

When Saphy was scared, Delilah could sense it. If she was at work and Saphy was at home alone, during a thunder storm, Delilah knew instantly which hidey hole she would need to coax Saphy out of for a reassuring hug when she returned home.

Delilah believed she could tell whenever Saphy was under the weather, not by most pet owners assumptions when they realise their animal companion was off their food, but just by a look out of her bright blue sapphire eyes.

Like most parents, when introducing their children to a potential boyfriend, Delilah knew from Saphy’s initial reactions whether her new relationship would work or not. Jack, whom she’d met as a work conference didn’t even make it through the first evening in together. His passing comment on not liking cats and the fact Saphy wouldn’t go near him on the in-formal introductions was enough for Delilah to fake a headache and show him the door.

* * *

Despite this, the longer Delilah gazed into those sparkly gem eyes, the more she wished Saphy could be more like her. They lay on the carpet at the bottom of the stairs, watching each other breath gently, with Saphy’s characteristic purr soothing Delilah’s heart.

She loved spending time with Saphy, but the longer she lay there; the same position she’d been in for nearly three days; the more she felt Saphy was enjoying their carpet-camp-out together, despite Delilah’s pleas for Saphy to get help.

It was then Delilah realised, no matter how much they loved each other and the life they shared together, Saphy was just a cat, living a cats life.

  1. Sonia Lal says:

    Cute! Quick, enjoyable read.

  2. John Wiswell says:

    A very sweet experience between them all. Gave me the warm fuzzy brainwaves.

  3. TEC4 says:

    Very sweet … we do tend to treat our pets like small, unusual people, don’t we?

  4. Got me again! Amazing job writing the visuals, and I can sort of imagine the experience of picking more details and ever more perfect descriptions of what your cat looks like–when you’re stuck at the bottom of a staircase for days on end with just the cat to look at.
    Loved your descriptions with the gemstone and fiberglass analogies for the cat–the twist I was expecting was for the cat to be stuffed at the end/beginning, so you caught me off-guard with Delilah having fallen down the stairs.

  5. FARfetched says:

    Sweet right up to the end… then it got uggly. 😉 Well done — I was drawn in, and left wondering if Delilah will survive.

  6. Helen says:

    Sweet story, easy to read.

  7. Kwee Lewis says:

    I love this. I am such a cat lover, and I so appreciate how you nailed them living a cat’s life – not a human’s. Just wonderfully great!

  8. ganymederg says:

    I liked the prose, but I’m not really sure I’m satisfied with the ending. However, I loved the descriptions of their close relationship. Nicely done. 🙂

  9. KjM says:

    Ouch – that ending arrived hard. Yet, truthfully too. Nice capturing of the relationship from the human’s perspective – and how the cat’s view of it was different.

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