A Guardian Cat

Author Camille Clergue

We have a cat. When we were in the pet shop choosing our new kitten, I wanted a red tom. The kittens belonged to the cat of the owner of the pet shop. He insisted that we should take a black and white cat instead as it would be better with the kids. I took her home instead, working on the theory that he knew the kittens’ personalities since they had been living with him for 12 weeks.

After the explosion of my marriage, Fatcat decided that we needed protection and became almost a guard cat. She tells me if I leave something, shout if a door is open and the night is dark, she warns us if someone stops outside and she watches us while we sleep. Every night, she goes to sit with the children while they go to bed, then comes to cuddle me.

The first time the cat came crying while the girls were sleeping, I assumed she wanted some treats, but she ignored them. She kept crying and walking away every time I approached her, so I followed her. The youngest was asleep, but her breathing did not go at all. She was breathing heavily and seemed to have difficulty catching her breath. She was better after taking her inhaler, and once she was fine, the cat sat on the floor near her bed and did not move for the rest of the night.

The second time was when the youngest had a nasty cold. Fatcat came crying and trying to get away from me, so I followed her. The youngest was lying on her stomach but vomited on her pillow and apparently went back to sleep. I woke her up, cleaned her and moved her to my bed to watch her and make sure she did not wake her sister. The cat sat down again at her feet and did not move until morning.

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