Goodnight, old Fangtooth
This is Vicky. Was Vicky. She died last Tuesday. This cat has caused me more harm than any other animal on the face of this Earth, and that is saying something; I’m something of an expert at getting bitten by wildlife. But she is dead now and I shall miss her; my parents’ house will be empty without her.
When my parents got her from the shelter she was six, undernourished and apparently terrified of anything that moved. At the shelter they told us that she was hardly eating and that she wouldn’t make it much longer in the presence of so many other cats. My mother fell in love with her on the spot – Vicky had the most beautiful eyes and coat. I was miffed, I had wanted a kitten.
Life with Vicky was easy at first. The cat disappeared under the couch as soon as the pet carrier was opened and only re-emerged briefly for mealtimes. But the idyll was to be shattered soon: Vicky became aggressive. To this day we don’t know what caused it. Maybe the people at her old home, the home before the shelter, hadn’t been as loving and kind as we were led to believe, but Vicky was a menace. She would attack, an all-out claws-and-teeth-and-everything attack, at the slightest provocation. Jeans weren’t thick enough to keep out her claws – hell, a suit of medieval armor wouldn’t have been enough. She attacked when we were asleep, when the phone rang, when someone dropped something… provocations were easy to find. I remember one particular afternoon spent on the balcony, the door pulled shut behind me, with Vicky sitting on the other side hissing and clawing at the glass and blood running down my legs. I had dropped a book.
She once scratched my dad up badly enough that he had to go to the ER… and they said they wanted to keep him there for a few days, just to be safe. He declined.
We endured. Myself a little less willingly than my parents. I begged them a few times to take her back to the animal shelter, but they refused. Bringing her back would have been a death sentence.
Vicky mellowed as the years passed. A home in which she never got beaten or starved or even shouted at in time broke down even her deep-seated mistrust of humans. Of all the family members she loved my dad the most. Because she had drunken his blood the most, we would joke, but personally I think it was because he was the calmest around her. In her old age she would often walk up to him and lie down on his toes, regardless of whether he was currently standing or sitting down, and that alone was a heartbreaking gesture from a cat that used to be such a terror.
Vicky had been poorly for over a year now, so her death hardly comes as a surprise. Her final months were spent on the top floor of my parents’ house, rarely moving, her head tucked under the radiator, and gradually getting thinner. I had never been close friends with her, never would have been. Although she was harmless in her old age (except to the vet, where she had to be held down by groups of people), she had caused too much fear for me to ever be really comfortable around her. But it was hard not to pity this old, old cat, painfully thin and hardly able to keep on her feet, yet always looking for a little bit of affection from my father.
We shall miss her.