The Worst Best Cat in the World
When it came to coming up with something that I could kick off this week of positivity with, there was one thing that sprang to mind: cats.
Now, there are many, many stories I could tell you about the many, many cats I’ve known and loved. I could tell you about Sweep, the tiny, smelly ball of fluff I got for my seventh birthday, a phenomenal dumbass who would get lost and cry pathetically walking from room to room. I could tell you about the fearsome and misnamed Kitty, a maniacal lady-cat who forced our Dalmatian to babysit her kittens when she was out hunting for big game. I could tell you about my current cat, Scoop, who hid down the chimney for the first ten days I had her and only emerged to have surprise kittens.
I could tell you about the summer that two of our cats (mother and daughter, actually) got knocked up by the same saucy tomcat at the same time, and I spent fourteen weeks digging tiny kittens out from inside my shoes and down the front of my pyjama shirts. I could tell you about Tristar, the cat who loved my dad and hated my mum so much she would angrily wedge herself between them when they were sitting on the couch together and, when removed, would sit outside the window glaring in accusingly at him: I know what you’re doing, Stephen.
But there is one cat who supercedes them all – one cat who comes to mind when I think of a create who brought me pure and utter joy. And that cat is Goo.
Black in theory but in fact a slightly rusty brown in practice, Goo’s full name was McGoo, as titled for the character in the Hunter S Thompson book, Hell’s Angels. Goo was so named because he shared many characteristics with the man in question – he stank, he couldn’t wash, he regularly had crusty and sticky patches on him that just didn’t go away no matter what you did. The other cats would stage noble attempts to wash him, and he would always come away, cheerfully just as disgusting as he had been when they started. He was awful at the art of actually being a cat – at hunting, cleaning, fighting – but he was also one of the best and most memorable animals I’ve ever met in my life.
Goo preceded me in arriving into the family, and there are a few stories that I have gleaned about his ridiculous antics before I graced the world with my presence: the time he dived through a neighbour’s window to steal a boiled potato from their plate, the time he hurled himself from a first-story window to chase bread that was being left out for the birds, the fact that he would often sit in pots full of porridge because they were pleasantly warm. He came home with us in the first place because, while picking up another cat for adoption, he scuttled up my dad’s leg and on to his shoulder
But it was his party trick that I will always remember – in fact, my most enduring memory of sweet, idiot Goo was when he enacted it on me personally. Goo was a wildly affectionate creature, one who would throw himself at doors until you let him in if he thought you might be in any danger of emotional lack, and this extended to any and all guests we got in the house. Now, anyone attending our house at this point in time would have to deal with a plethora of animals anyway (seven cats, two dogs, two chinchillas, a rabbit, two rats, two guinea pigs, a bird, stick insects, fish, newts, a snake, plus misc. small baby animals that my mum took in and rescued, including a psychopathic hedgehog and a ferret with a foot fetish), and Goo, seeming to sense that openness, would pounce on the chance for affection.
He would wait until they were sitting down, at which point he would slither up on to their chest – belly flattened to theirs, foul odour preceding him by several hours – and absorb some of their adoring snuggles. Cats can be aloof creatures, and being apparently chosen by this one for such enduring affection caught people off-guard, and they would cuddle and snuggle him obligingly for a while. Right up until the moment they noticed the expanding patch of wet spreading over their chests.
Goo, when satisfied, would just begin to drool aggressively, and seemed indiscriminate about who or what he would do this on. If he was pleased, the floodgates would open, and his slightly mismatched jaws would part to reveal a flood of enthusiastic dribble that would not stop. I can’t remember the amount of times we tried to dissuade a guest from getting too keen on Goo, only to watch them insist anyway and then come away with a small puddle of drool on their chest, trying to be polite about the fact that they were going to burn their shirt as soon as they got out of the house. Lot of bonfires in the Highlands of Scotland, let me tell you, and most of them were people trying to decontaminate after Goo, in his friendly, funky form, had liberally sprayed them with his juices.
So, yes, there’s my first little dash of positivity for you. I would love to hear your ridiculous cat or misc. pet stories – nothing makes me happier than hearing about your animals being little dorks. If you want to know more about my week of positivity, check out my first post here, and I hope you have a brilliant start to the week!