I used to have a cat. His name was Furious George. I miss that cat. I mean, he was called Furious George for a reason, but he was mostly a cool cat. Mostly.
He would greet me every evening by shooting out of a bush outside our building and running up the steps ahead of me. This had little to do with his love for me and more to do with the Whiskas inside. Sometimes, in the evenings, he would get this crazy look in his eyes that meant Nick or Mike, my flatmates, would have to run to open the front door and I would have to grab this squirming, raging ball of fur and claws and get him out before he started climbing the curtains. Again.
There was one time, I remember, when my flatmates and I were all in the living room watching The Simpsons. George was sitting on my lap, paws curled under him, purring softly. Mike commented on how peaceful he looked and I said something naive like “He’s so well-behaved today.” Then bleurgh! He vomited in my lap and trotted off into the kitchen.
Another time, I woke up in the middle of the night to the realisation that the cat was sitting beside my pillow staring straight up at the wall behind my head. His gaze was unwavering and unnerving. I was becoming pretty uneasy so I turned on the light and looked up to see a massive spider on the wall above my head. Just as I was realising the enormity of the creature, George pounced and – as was so often the case – missed, sending it down behind my pillow and leaving me a sleep-deprived wreck.
Then there were the many times the neighbours called in to say he was under their daughter’s bed and wouldn’t come out. She was scared of cats, so naturally he gravitated towards her. Anytime they were getting things from the car they would leave the front door open and boom! New pet cat.
He had an uncanny way of knowing when he wasn’t wanted and making sure he was clear and present at those times. I broke up with my ex after four years of a relationship and one year of a weird nothingness. At the age of 23, I was single for the first time since I’d left secondary school. I had never been with anyone else. It took me months to get used to the idea and then one night… I did. I met someone when I was out with friends. I brought him back to the apartment. I had never done anything like it and it was not something I had ever imagined doing. I was sick with nerves. But never fear, George to the rescue!
We stood in the kitchen, drinking some water and chatting. In popped FG, looking for some attention. The guy, Liam, remarked on what a nice cat he was, etc. etc. We went upstairs and at some point I left my room to get water. Now, it should also be noted that my bedroom door didn’t close properly and FG was a huge fan of sleeping in my bed. I, on the other hand, liked to sleep in a cat-free zone. Because of this, I used to shove a laundry hamper up against my door at night, and George would charge at the door head-on to try to open it. I may have forgotten to explain this crucial bedtime step to Liam.
As I was on my way back to the room, I heard a bang and saw the door fly open. When I got there, poor Liam was backed into a corner of the bed, covers pulled up to his neck, and good old Furious George was sitting at the very end of the bed, staring him out of it.
I never saw Liam again.
But then there was the other Furious George… When Dave and I broke up, I went through a lot of highs and lows. The break-up was a very mutual decision. It was probably the most mature conversation we had ever had, actually, which is a shame. Nevertheless, when it happened, it was like going through a bereavement. This was a guy who I had grown up with, essentially. He knew me better than my closest friends. He was my closest friend. So when he was suddenly gone, it felt like someone had died. There were times when I was happy and content and ready to move on, and there were times when I wasn’t and it felt like the world was collapsing on me. I would lie on my bed and let the tears stream down my face, unchecked. It was at these times that Furious George would slip into my room and hop up onto the bed. He would lie down on my chest, curl his paws in under himself and press his little nose up against mine and just stay there, in a static Eskimo kiss, for hours.
But then I took him on a train journey to Limerick for Christmas. He did his utmost to inflict physical pain on me as retribution for making him leave the comfort of Ballsbridge (he was a very privileged cat). I had his travel cage on the table in front of me. Every chance he got, his little paws would come flying out and the curved barbs of his claws would reach vengefully for my face. Little bastard.
He was hit by a car when I moved to London and I was completely heartbroken. He was a city cat and the wilds of Castleconnell and the lack of The Safe Cross Code knowledge were his untimely undoing. He was a great, if slightly unhinged, feline.
I miss cuddling a warm ball of fluff in the evenings. I would love to get a cat in Zurich but I live on the fourth floor of an apartment building and I have no outdoor space. It wouldn’t be fair. But I also don’t think I’ll ever find a cat as mental and as brilliant as FG.
Furious George, you beautiful, fluffy psychopath.