Copyright © 2016 M J Smith
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Asda car park, that’s where I met her for the first time. It wasn’t one of those chance meetings where you walk around shopping, and randomly bump into the heart-stopping beauty who changes your life forever. This tale is more modern than that. The technological era. Constantly connected, 24 hours a day. Internet dating. That’s HOW we met. Asda car park would be the place we were to cast our gaze upon each other for the first time.
We’d been talking for a few weeks, messaging back and forth, Gabriella and I. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted. Something magical would have been nice, although I was under no illusion that would ever happen. After being diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disorder, I had come to the conclusion that any normal relationship could never come to pass. Besides, I was too busy doing all the activities I suddenly felt compelled to do before the clock stopped ticking.
Our messaging though became frequent, in-depth. Conversations were varied, interests mutual. I enjoyed writing, she enjoyed writing, even more so she dreamed of being a copy editor. A match made in heaven! If truth be told, I liked her mind, but also I fancied the fuck out of her. A tad older than myself, dark hair flowing down to her shoulders, wide brown eyes and my god that smile! Her mind was compelling, engaging and her face was out of this world!
With hectic lifestyles, living in different towns, we managed to find an opportunity when our paths could cross and yes, Asda car park it was. A few stolen moments that would change my life for ever. Meeting her for the first time led onto romantic walks on a moonlit beach. Watching the shimmering reflection of the moonlight across the seas edge, I held her in my arms, and our lips met. We kissed passionately under the night sky.
I hadn’t been prepared for it, neither had I been expecting it, but love had found its way to me. This wasn’t just any love though. No, this was something entirely different.
A few blissful months passed us by, and we never really spent much time apart. Waking up alone in bed was now becoming a thing of the past. What was about to happen though, was going to test that bond. Gabriella had booked a break to Spain, and unfortunately I couldn’t join her as all my holidays were booked up. Instead, I offered to stay behind and look after her three cats.
Now I’d never really been a cat person before. I didn’t hate them, nor did I take much of a liking to them. I think it stems from my lack of luck with pets. Perhaps I had been cursed, but over the years I’d had a Yorkshire terrier who lost his teeth and developed epilepsy, a cat who became deaf and blind at a young age, and a tortoise who somehow decided to run away. My track record was pretty poor when it came to animals, but even so I offered to look after the three most precious pets in her life. It was four days; what could possibly go wrong?
“Eric, I forgot to mention, milk, there’s some special cat milk under the sink. Tim sometimes likes it as a treat. You can give him a bowl every other day.”
“I will do, but come on Gab, you have to shoot, you have a plane to catch.”
Wrapping my arms around Gabriella I pulled her close and gazed deeply into her eyes.
“We will be just fine, now go on, away with ya.”
As she drove off into the distance, my heart sank a little. A lump firmly wedged itself in my throat, and a teardrop trickled down my cheek landing on my lips where it left its saltiness. Yep, I bloody loved this woman. She was indeed the one; of this I was certain.
Gabriella had left at midday. It was a Sunday. For the most part of that day I moped about feeling sorry for myself. I’d never stayed in her house by myself before and I felt like a lost soul. For a few hours I pottered around the kitchen putting pots and pans in their place, or at least what I thought was their place, then watched some pointless reality TV shows.
The cats hadn’t really bothered me so far. Tim sat on the floor in front of me sleeping. Bridget trotted past me a few times, and as she did so she paused, turned her head to look me in the eye, meowed softly, then proceeded to waggle her back end as she went on her way. Bridget was peculiar like that, a tortoiseshell lady always strutting her stuff about. She made you look, but would never allow you to touch. As for Morag, she was nowhere to be seen. Morag kept herself to herself, pretty much a loner cat, although she did enjoy the odd play fight with Tim.
To the unsuspecting eye, Tim and Morag could have been twins, both black and white, with similar markings, however Tim had been adopted from Corfu, and Morag was very much English. You could always tell which one was Tim. His eyes gave it away, pupils the size of the moon. He looked like he was buzzing his tits off 24 hours a day on speed!
Night-time finally arrived, but before I could make the walk up the wooden hill I would have to enter the kitchen area. As soon as this happened, Tim appeared as if by magic, looking up at me, meowing and rubbing his body against my leg. Purring at me and coaxing me into giving him a sachet of food. When he wanted, he could put on the charm to establish me as his food provider. Bridget, hearing the “feed me” meows soon strutted herself casually around the corner ready to devour any food that was put in her bowl. Morag would never be far away, although she would never eat with Tim and Bridget, she would wait for them to finish and eat the rest in solitude. Even with my neutral feelings towards these cats, there was something quite satisfying knowing that I had met their needs for the day.
Bed called, sleep was needed. Tonight however was going to be a long lonely night. The bed was devoid of the person who had now become my completeness.
3:00am. I was rudely awoken by a toe attack. My foot must have slipped out from underneath the duvet at end of the bed. Morag had seized this opportunity to take a sly swipe! She didn’t use her claws, she wasn’t nasty, but simply pushed her paw against my toes, tickling my exposed skin, making me aware of her presence. Shifting myself up the bed, I pulled back my leg, burying my foot back under the covers. Rolling over with a throaty groan, I felt the body of another cat, and the vibration of the purr led me to believe it was Tim. Neither Morag nor Bridget would have allowed a body part to be in such proximity that it might unwittingly touch them.
In the darkness of the night, the curtains twitched; the silvery light of the moon flickered through the opening, revealing the shadowy silhouette of Bridget. Popping her head out from behind the curtain, a gentle meow emanated from within, announcing her presence before returning to her place of over-watch on the windowsill.
All three cats had taken residence in the bedroom. This was unusual. It was the norm to have one or two in at once, but not all three. It was as if they sensed that their mother was missing, as if they knew I was feeling lost. Perhaps they were indeed sensitive to how I was feeling. Whatever it was, it filled me with warmth and I didn’t feel as lonely as I had when Gabriella had left. Closing my eyes, sleep soon wrapped her dreamy arms around me once again.
No sooner had I dropped off, when the sound of the radio stirred me. David Lee Roth was “Goin’ Crazy”. A bit of a wacky tune to wake up to, but made for a good start to the day.
Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I began to raise my eyelids. The bedroom gradually came into focus. Tim was still at the bottom of the bed. Bridget twitched the curtains; she had remained on the windowsill in her role as night-watcher. My love was not in the bed with me, far away in another country, yet I didn’t feel completely alone.
My arm stretched out, fumbling around on the bed side cabinet reaching for my phone. Clasping it in my hand, I gave a one fingered swipe across the screen. Pleasing news awaited me. A message confirmed that Gabriella had made it safe and sound to her hotel.
As David Lee Roth got drunk and fell into the water, I got out the bed and began the task of dressing myself.
Tim sprang to life, from sleeping to rubbing up my leg in a split second. Bridget jumped down from the windowsill. Walking out the door, there was Morag, sprawled at the top of the stairs. Pausing for a moment I said good morning to her, in return I received a gentle one eyed wink.
A procession of cats followed me down the stairs, through the house and into the kitchen. I felt like the Pied Piper, only with hungry cats following me. Heading for the sachets of food, Tim tried tripping me at every step, Bridget kept her cool and waited patiently, whilst Morag jumped up on the dining room table chair, hanging back to pounce after the other two had finished their morning feast.
Tearing into the sachet of cat food, I was met with a curious smell. Sardine and mackerel. It took me by surprise, as I was expecting to reel back in disgust; but instead I brought it up to my nose and drew in a deep breath. My stomach rumbled at the scent of fish … I bloody love fish! I almost licked the jellied meat.
Work that day was shocking. I couldn’t concentrate. I was pining like a little lost puppy. It wasn’t so bad when I was at the house with the cats, but here, all I could think about was Gabriella. There were a few messages back and forth. One included the obligatory picture of a pair of hot dog legs, set against the background of golden sands and blue skies.
I felt ridiculous, like a teenager who had fallen in love for the first time. It was pretty crazy, as was the fact that I liked the smell of the sardines and mackerel. That was cat food, so why on earth did I have a sudden urge to taste it?
After what seemed like an age, it was time to return to the house for the evening. Pulling up on the driveway, there they were. A cat in every window. Tim, on one side of the front room bay window was swiping away at a fly, causing himself to become entangled in the curtains. Morag was seated calmly on the other side, looking at Tim as if he was off his head. Bridget was in the top bedroom window, looking down at me. As I walked towards the front door her mouth moved, indicating a tiny meow. She then turned, and with her fluffy tail raised, pressed her back end against the window exposing herself to any who cared to see. Her behavior towards humans is provocative and just downright outrageous.
Opening the door, I was greeted by all three of them. Staring at me. The corners of my mouth upturned and formed a smile. A welcome home which was a little warming, even to my heart.
A quick feed was carried out. I also treated Tim to a little of the special cats milk. As I got down on all fours to pour this liquid gold, he gave me an enthusiastic head bump to show how grateful he was.
Cats sorted, I wasted no time in going out to the back garden. I wanted to keep myself occupied by whizzing the lawnmower around. Of course I wasn’t alone. Tim stayed by my side all the while, running around the garden, jumping in front of the mower. Morag sat on the garden table, almost as if she was sunbathing on this bright summers eve. She would have been well suited sporting a pair of aviators! Taking over-watch again, Bridget had placed herself on the back bedroom window, her piercing gaze following me as I pushed the mower up and down the garden.
Task completed, I returned the lawnmower to its home in the garage then took a seat at the table next to Morag. Reaching out I gave her a gentle stroke. She allowed just one full length stroke from head to tail, then recoiled and sat just out of reach.
From my pocket I pulled out a crumpled packet of smokes. Over the years I had turned into a bit of a secret smoker, only partaking in the filthy habit when other human eyes were not cast upon me. One every few days wasn’t so bad, although as I drew in with my first breath, Morag looked at me with a disapproving glare, turned her back on me, then looked at Tim who was rolling around in the freshly cut grass. Even if she didn’t approve of the fag in my mouth, she and Tim seemed quite happy with my handy mower work.
Since I’d got back home, I hadn’t really paid much thought to what Gabriella was up to. I was still missing her like crazy, but it was now feeling nice being here. The house, the cats, her presence; all were very much around me. For the rest of the night I sat in front of the TV, watching crap reality shows which seemed to be drawing me in until it was once again time to climb the wooden hill to sheet street.
Sleep consumed me a little too well. When I finally awoke, the radio was silent. I must have slept through it. My head felt groggy and I didn’t want to move; I was too comfy. As I started to come to my senses, I realised that the covers weren’t on top of me. I was on top of them. Not only was I on top of them, my head was nowhere near the pillow. Bridget was sprawled across the pillow, on her back, hind legs in the air. Tim was laid next to me, curled up, you know, as cats do … wait … as was I. My knees were pulled in up to my chest, my head tucked in. This position felt quite remarkable, I was mirroring Tim and it felt bloody good.
How on earth, when or why I got into that position I do not know. I had started out as any normal person would. Head on pillow, body under covers. At some point during the night I must have twisted my body around and out of the covers.
Unraveling myself from this position I stretched out, arching my back, arms and legs fully locked straight, mouth gaping wide in a big yawn. I felt the soft furry touch of a paw against my naked stomach, as Tim was doing the same. As we gazed deep into each others eyes, I felt a sense of companionship.
As I maneuvered my legs across the bed and down to the floor, the soles of my feet brushed against Morag’s white belly. She gave out a quick, high-pitched meow as if to say, “watch it!” and I quickly spread out my legs to land either side of her, avoiding squashing her underfoot.
In that moment I decided I wasn’t going to go to work today. I couldn’t be doing with the heartache that I felt the previous day. I didn’t want that lump in my throat or the deep-rooted sick feeling in the pit of my stomach to come back. No. I was going to stay here with my new feline friends. Being around them was making me happy.
My belly let out a rumble. In my hastiness to keep myself occupied last night I had forgotten to eat. I realised that I was in actual fact starving. I was certain that the cats would also be feeling a little on the hungry side. After all, it was later than usual, having overslept.
I made the walk to the kitchen, with Tim, Morag and Bridget in tow. Actually Tim wasn’t in tow, he was constantly criss crossing in front of my legs, making the short walk a little awkward. I wondered if he would do this if I was on all fours.
Reaching down into the cupboard under the sink, I grabbed a handful of sachets. As I tore open the packets, I was instantly hit by the strong aromas of “ocean whitefish and tuna” and “cod and shrimp in sauce”. I found myself gasping with pleasure. My heart was beginning to race, my stomach grumbling and my tongue traced its way around my lips.
“Poached salmon in sauce” … it was all too much … I wanted.
But Tim and Bridget didn’t start tucking in like usual. Morag was on the dining room chair, observing the scene. Tim and Bridget’s eyes were fixed on me. All their bowls were full, but still they sat looking at me. Then, Tim reached out his paw, gently pushing a spare bowl towards me. I looked back at them all, and Morag gave me one of her slow half winks. Tim pointed his nose towards the cupboard doors where the sachets lived. Then, in unison, they all let out a melodic meow; first looking at me, then looking towards the bowls. They wanted me to eat with them.
As bizarre as this sounded, it felt like the right thing to do. I was starving, and if I’d cooked breakfast it would have been another twenty minutes of waiting. So what the hell, that shit smells great.
From the cupboard, I pulled out another sachet of poached salmon and ripped into it. Raising it to my nose, I sniffed deeply, taking in the delicious fishy aroma. Emptying the contents into the bowl Tim had pushed in front of me, all I could think about was the succulent salmon flakes covered in jelly.
With an overwhelming urge to satisfy my hunger I got down on all fours. Looking up, I met the gaze of Tim, who was watching me with an inquisitive, wide-eyed expression. Tim and Bridget began to tuck in. Lowering my head, my tongue protruded from my mouth and licked at the meat before me. Before I even had a chance to think about what I was doing, my mouth and tongue feverishly worked together to devour the all of the food in front of me. The wet meat slid down the back of my throat, and globs of jelly dribbled from my mouth and stuck in my beard. Sticking out my tongue I swirled it around the edge of my lips not wanting to waste any. I licked the bowl clean, looked up at the cats and smiled with a supreme satisfaction.
For the rest of the day I pretty much stayed indoors. Gabriella messaged me a few pictures of the various cocktails she was drinking in the sunny Spanish resort. She asked if the cats were okay, to which I replied that they very much were. I told her they were eating well and keeping me good company. Of course, I neglected to tell her that I’d eaten my breakfast with them, out of a cat bowl. I’m not entirely sure what she would make of that. Gabriella was pretty easy going, although I’m guessing that would be a step too far and she wouldn’t understand. Heck even I didn’t understand why I did it. At that moment in time it just felt natural.
A short time later, I went out into the back garden to have another crafty smoke. Tim and Morag were outside. Tim had taken to pouncing around, and when opportunity struck he would jump on Morag in a playful manner. She didn’t really fight back; it looked as though she kind of liked it. After a while she would get fed up, give a hiss to Tim, then run and hide. Tim would then go looking for her, meowing like a lost kitten, in the hope that she would reveal her location, which she always did eventually.
Bridget appeared, on top of the 6ft garden fence. She looked at me, threw her head back and casually sauntered along the narrow walkway, briefly pausing and checking to make sure I was watching her.
As I sat there sucking in the toxic fumes, I heard a light flapping sound from the other side of the garden. Instinctively my head tilted, my senses focusing on where the sound was coming from. My eyeballs flicked from side to side, scanning the area.
Across the garden, there it was, a red admiral dancing in the sky. Overcome by a sudden urge, I dropped down from the chair and onto all fours. Bounding across the garden I leapt into the air, my arms reaching out and swiping in an effort to catch it. I missed. Gravity took hold, pulling my body back towards the ground, pummeling my face into the dirt. Undeterred, I shook myself off and regained my composure.
Hunching down, waggling my back end, I waited until the red admiral got closer. As soon as it was in striking distance, again I swiped out and this time seized it in my hands. Cupping it down on the ground I poked it with my nose, and when its wings fluttered against me I recoiled and sneezed, giving it the opportunity to escape from my clutches and fly off back into the sky.
Behind me the cat flap let out a crack as Tim came, practically flying out of the house. He must have seen me playing around with the butterfly and wanted to get in on the action. Seeing that I had failed in my attempts to capture and secure the admiral, he decided to jump on my back. I turned my head towards him and let out a mid-toned hiss. For the next hour, we pranced around the garden playing tag like a pair of tiger cubs. Bridget seemed to take great pleasure in keeping an eye on us, occasionally waggling past.
As night came, I headed upstairs to reflect on the days events. Followed by my posse of feline friends, we all curled up on the bed and settled down for another nights rest.
Today my love would be coming home. I realised that I hadn’t texted Gabriella last night to say goodnight. I had been too busy spending time with Morag, Tim and Bridget. They were giving me a great insight into the life of a cat and frankly I was enjoying it. I don’t know why the sudden change, but sometimes perhaps we shouldn’t ask why, and just go with it. In my heart, I had gone from feeling empty and alone, to feeling content and part of a new family. Of course I still thought of Gabriella, I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, and I was quite excited that she would be back today.
I woke up that morning needing a bath. I was filthy after yesterday’s antics in the garden. Then I noticed Bridget, perched at the end of the bed. She was looking at me and sniffing the air. Her paw came up to her mouth, and she carefully proceeded to lick along the side of her two toned brown front leg. Raising it up, she wiped it across her face, washing it. Looking back at me, then at my hand, she meowed.
Looking down at my wrist, I brought it closer to my mouth. My tongue protruded from my lips, dripping with saliva. I licked along the inside of my wrist, from the bony lump to the base of my thumb. Moving my arm up, I gently placed my wrist against my forehead. It was quite a nice moist warmth, very much like when your mother used to wipe the muck off your face with her spit. I began to swipe it down my face rubbing myself clean. I found that for every lick of the wrist I could get two swipes worth of cleansing.
For the next hour, I lay on the bed with Bridget. Together we preened ourselves. By the end of the hour my skin was glistening with a new kind of freshness. One that could never be matched by the use of so-called beauty products. I felt cleansed of all my dirty filth. Acting like a cat was becoming second nature, everything felt natural and normal. Realising that in a few short hours I would have to return to my human ways filled me with a sadness. I still yearned for Gabriella to be by my side, but the experiences of the past few days had changed me.
For the final time, I went downstairs and ate cat food from the cat bowls with Bridget and Tim, whilst Morag watched and waited. We then went outside to roll and play in the grass, chasing all manner of bugs and insects. Jumping and attacking each other, preening and chilling in the shade under the tree. It was perfect bliss.
During the hours we spent in the garden, I could feel my bladder filling. It was getting to bursting point, and there was no possible way I could hold it any longer. Not wanting to leave the garden I made the conscious choice of urinating in the open. I had already learnt how to sleep like a cat, eat like a cat, play like a cat and preen like a cat; I saw it as the natural option. In order to fully become the cat I had enjoyed being so much, I would have to take the next step for the full transition to occur.
Luckily, a few weeks before I had taken on the task of constructing a border around the garden. The finest wooden edging had been laid out to separate the grass area from the fence. I didn’t see it before, but now, thinking like a cat, it was clear to see that the whole border area was just one large outdoor litter tray. Loose brown earth, just perfect for relieving oneself in.
Making my way to the edge of the garden, I stepped over the edging and onto the soil. My hands began to dig. Gently flicking out the soil with my fingers, being careful not to send it flying onto the grass, I made a small hole in the ground. Moving forward I squatted over the hole. I was surrounded by the high garden fence; there were only a couple of bedroom windows that could see into the garden where I was now squatted. My eyes quickly scanned the area for human onlookers; not that it really mattered though. If anyone had looked before now, they would have gotten an eyeful already, as getting dressed hadn’t been a priority today.
Seeing that I seemed to be clear from any prying eyes, I began to let fly. Holding my flaccid penis down towards the ground, the warm stream of urine escaped my body, filling the hole beneath me. The loose soil began to soak up the fluid leaving a dark damp patch underneath my body. As my bladder emptied I let out a loud sigh of relief. On the other side of the garden, Tim followed suit. This was my final experience of life as a cat. Freedom to urinate wherever you please. Of course, there was nothing dirty about it, it wasn’t like I was randomly pissing in the street.
With a final push the jet stream of urine dissipated. I slid myself back slightly, dug my fingers into the ground and began to flick some fresh soil over the drenched hole. Covering it up and rendering all trace of my toilet activities invisible.
Leaving my makeshift toilet, I went to the bottom of the garden and sat in the shade of a small tree. Morag, Tim and Bridget all came to join me. For the first time we all lay there together, huddled together like one big happy family. These cats, that I once didn’t dislike, nor like, had now become a part of my world. I was seeing the world with different eyes, from a new perspective and I didn’t want it to change.
Tim, Morag and Bridget’s ears pricked up. Their heads turned in unison. In the distance they could hear the distinct sound of a sexy little black Nissan Juke. Gabriella had returned. As she pulled onto the drive, the three cats all rushed through to greet her. I wanted to follow, but I was overwhelmed by the butterflies in my stomach. How on earth could I tell her what had been going on. She wouldn’t understand.
Through the house I heard my name being called. Again, but louder. It was time.
I crept slowly across the grass on all fours, my head hanging a little in shame. I moved into the conservatory. Through the house I could see her, beautiful, radiant and cheerful. Her smile was like sunbeams, her eyes twinkling like stars. Gabriella turned and caught sight of me on all fours, skulking my way towards her.
I was at her feet.
I brushed my body against her legs.
I looked up at her.
Gabriella looked down at me, her eyes wide with wonderment and love. Then it happened.
In response, Gabriella’s hand reached down, and stroked me from head to toe.
“Good boy” she whispered, with joy.
I was now the Fourth Cat, unconditionally loved by the woman of my dreams.
Thank-you for reading “The Fourth Cat”
If you enjoyed it, then please keep scrolling down, leave a comment and share it with your friends!