Lots of people have pet animals but few have the pets that have lived with me during my life in Canada. All have been wild animals – from Sam the fur seal, Bubu the bear, Tom, Oola, Lara and Tammy the cougars, Pixie and Pete the coatimundis, Gypsy the gibbon ape, to the one I have now – Meow, a feral cat that one day came in from the cold, caught a rat at the back door, and now a decade later, is still with me – very close, too close, like right now, trying to sleep on my fingers as they click the keys of my computer.

But Meow is not your customary cat. She has only half a tail but doesn’t tell me the tale of how she lost the other half. She is not a Manx cat so I can only surmise her story. Stole a dog’s dish and got swiped by the dog’s owner? Tried to catch a chicken meal and didn’t quite escape a shovel?

Now after living with me for ten or more years on Nanoose Bay in Lantzville, she has purred her way into my heart, jumps onto my lap for a scratch and a cuddle, chooses to lie on my hands as I type….but growls, spits and bites if my fingers ever venture back towards what’s left of her tail.

Right now as I am trying to type these words, she is stretching her head and front paws over my fingers and the keys from the left of the keyboard to the right, making it impossible to continue this message.

So I give up writing and we go to bed – my bed. It’s a double bed but she chooses to curl up, a furry purring ball, onto my face. Her back end on my front end, even if only half is tail, is perhaps not the healthiest bed for me, so I cover my head with sheet and blanket – and Meow departs to curl up somewhere else in the house, behind a chesterfield, between some rugs, at the end of a shelf, in a box of books.

I hope tonight she won’t wake me up with a loud meow for some attention. Instead, she can read this chapter in her story on the computer and dance her opinion all over the keyboard.

C Lyn Hancock 2022