Bibby the cat has moved house. It’s a defining feature of living where we live, in this hashtag of quiet little roads, in the middle of a jingling of rentals. Cats become a signifier of homeliness; in turn a feeling that leads to needing more than the lets can provide. And so cats arrive to signal the happy and purposed departures of their owners.
Our garden’s on an obvious catty path; we’re a necessary transit, a hub, a fact that we like, as it brings us funny travellers and surprisingly little in the way of sticky licorice mementos – which might be characteristic of us being more a crossing point than territory, I don’t know, what am I, a cat?
Bibby and Boggle are – were – two such welcome types. The names they rented from us, as is the unknown neighbourhood arrangement. My B. and I are ever-sure of our first naming choices: in this case Bibby’s queasy-making moniker deliberately selected for his swish-tailed awkwardness, a true starer, twitchy and odd-bod, with a penchant for rolling in bird seed. Oh, yes, and also for his nice white bib.
Boggle, his brother, had boggly eyes, and was not the first garden-leasing kitten to be handed the name – most famously (in our kitchen at least – in fact, uniquely), there was the Boggle who then became Lollipop, on account of his neck and his lollopy ways, before negotiating his actual handle of Rory – his tenancy coinciding with us finally fixing the garden’s security lighting, so that still now when it comes on we are bound to announce it by singing ‘Rory Light, bom-bory light’, to the tune of Duran Duran’s Notorious and then segueing into the ‘handle this’ bit of Bootylicious by Destiny’s Child. It works. It really does.
And – rest.
Bibby was bolder than Boggle; permitted a head-rub (more from B. than me) and a game of tickle-paws where he stretched on the step at the lawn’s edge, his favoured place and where I saw him last, though I wasn’t to know it, basking neatly on warmed-up concrete: whilst Boggle would simply have come to all this later, in a summer of us being around and outdoors and, well –
The cats have moved house. Like Twinkle moved, and Smokey Bacon too, and Trevor Eve, who was barely here at all, but whose companion stayed, and stays on, just like us, and is called Mushroom by us when he’s here.