When I was twelve years old, our cat Garfield passed away. He was a good cat, but a bit thick. Didn’t like me much, as I remember it, though really – nothing liked me much back then. After a few days of grieving, mum and dad took me and my sister to the RSPCA shelter to look for a new pet – another cat.
We took on board Schubert, who we didn’t name, and who was a rangy, skinny not-quite-kitten with long hair. We fell in love with him, which is what happens with cats in these situations. You take the one home who begs you to, even though there are kittens and puppies and other possibilities.
We didn’t know it at the time, but Schubert was a Siberian Mountain Cat. We thought he was part Persian, part something else, because of his noble face profile and his long beautiful fur, and figured we’d just been lucky to receive such a lovely cat. He was smart – certainly smarter than his predecessor and his eventual brother. He was sweet, too, and I wasn’t prepared for seeing how after Garfield, Schubert would crawl up on you and fall asleep purring. Not on me, but… well, I’m a bit of a jerk. I still don’t think I know how to take care of a cat.
I really liked Schubert, and changed his litter and fed him and even dealt with the time he took a dump on my pillow – while I was in bed. I remember him haring around when we moved house, trying to work out how the house was shaped and how quickly he could take the stairs. I remember him hating moving, because being inside a car gave him the screams. I remember him tearing holes in my shirts both times I had to hold him in a move – ten years ago, when I moved from Sydney, and a month ago, with my parents.
I remember these things about Schubert, because there will be no more things to remember about Schubert.
Schubert was nineteen years old.