Remembering Kittles

Now that I’ve written about the three new kittens in my home, I’d like to share one of my saddest memories.

In the old days, when I lived with my girlfriend, in Cape Town, we had two cats, Misty and Winky. Both were female and neither were spayed. Both had kittens, but it is the second litter I’m thinking of.

I lived those days in a drug-fuelled haze. I was high all the time. Day and night, and struggling to get to work in the morning and then not screw up; then coming home to chaos at home, of course always buying meth on the way.

Misty had a beautiful litter of kittens; I think seven or nine in all. She was a fluffy cat and these were the cutest, most fluffy kittens I have ever seen. But we also had a Labrador puppy named Sasha, and I did not know that this boisterous dog was mauling the kittens. I’d come home each day to find a dead kitten in some random place in the house. I could not understand why or how this happened, especially because my girlfriend was there, as far as I knew. (Actually she wasn’t always. She was cheating on me, with a dealer, who was sometimes in my home while I was at work.) The rest of the time, she’d just lay around, out of it, while I went to work.

Every day I’d make the best nest I could for the mother cat and her kittens, out of the way and as safe as I could. And every day I’d come home to a dead kitten, it’s mouth held open in a permanent grimace of death, its body looking like a discarded rag doll except it was bloody and sometimes still warm.

When I realized, too late, that it could only be the dog mauling them, I made their nest in the bottom kitchen cupboard, having cleared it out and fitted it with blankets. But there were only two kittens left, a pure white fluffy kitten, and a chocolatey one. I loved them both, but thought the chocolatey one was especially cute.

That final morning, I locked the dog out, and I begged. I pleaded. I demanded, I cried… that she simply did not let the dog in. “Please don’t let those kittens die,” I pleaded. “Please!” I wanted to save those last two kittens. But she couldn’t do that. She wouldn’t do that. So I came home from work that evening to the front door ajar and the chocolatey kitten laying dead in the lounge, while my ex was asleep in the bedroom.

Kittles survived. She named him. I’d never name a cat Kittles. Fucking hell. But he lived and he was a beautiful cat. And he loved that dog. He played with the dog all day long. He thought he was a dog. Every evening we’d take Sasha for a walk, and Kittles would come along, sometimes running with us, sometimes walking along all the walls on our path, but he came along because that’s what he did. He only lived about a year though, because we lived in a busy road and he was run over.

I loved that cat. But fuck it, I wish I hadn’t been so stupid. I wish I’d realized what was happening to the kittens while I was at work and I wish I could have saved the rest of them.

I have a photo of him somewhere but I’m not adding it. I can’t even look at it.

Meth fucks up everything, by the way. Everything. It may look like I’m blaming my ex, but I’m not. I’d never allow such a situation were I not in a permanent meth stupor those days.

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