There was the silent slink, a knack for entering a room totally noiselessly. This enabled her to catch you unawares when all of a sudden she leapt onto your bed, stuck her nose in your ear and padded over to examine your bedside table. After scrutinizing your jewellery, inspecting the books you’re reading, and considering dipping her paw into your glass of water, she’d nestle down in the bed next to you and purr you to sleep.
Or, bouncing into the room with an audible ‘meee!’, she would head straight for the sofa and sink her claws into its cover, looking up at mum, waiting for the inevitable ‘ah ah ah, Cassie!’ which meant we’d noticed her being naughty. It was inevitable because it was a routine Cassie had been doing for years. Then she’d leap up onto the sofa for cuddles.
The cat flap would make its familiar clattering noise and the tortoiseshell blur streaking through the kitchen would apparate on the kitchen table into the form of a sweet-faced cat asking for a slice of ham from the fridge or a bit of butter to lick at. Afterwards, she’d flop down onto her back for a tummy tickle; her signature move.
When I was running a bath she’d trot up the stairs, greet me with a ‘mi!’, and watch the water run. She loved water.
Speaking of which, one of her best entrances was also one of her most startling. Our house was originally a Victorian pub, and it has a deep well of cold water in the dining room. It’s got a thick glass cover that a fully grown human can safely stand on, and a light bulb so that we can see down into the well. The bulb had gone and so one day mum and Uncle Clive had lifted the glass cover to change it. Cassie, sensing an audience, ran full throttle into the room- probably to get a tummy tickle from Clive. She wasn’t expecting the floor not to be there, and unceremoniously dropped straight into the well. Luckily my uncle is a tall firefighter who kept his head while my mum screamed, and simply reached as far as he could into the well and lifted an unimpressed, confused, and soaked cat out of the water by the scruff of her neck. Once Cassie had recovered from her shock, Fiona penned a song in tribute to the event, entitled ‘AQUACAT’. We sang it in her memory the other day.
There was a time when, as a kitten, she’d been bouncing up and down behind the sofa separating the living room from the dining room. My dad was sitting on the sofa at the time, oblivious to the mischief going on behind him. She’d been practicing getting her claws out mid-jump and clinging onto the vertical surface of the sofa back when she leapt a little too high and instead sank her tiny little claws into the back of my father’s head. That was quite the entrance; attached momentarily to my screaming dad’s scalp as he leapt into the centre of the room, before coolly letting go and scampering off.
One of her favourite entrances: My sister, who was Cassie’s ‘mum’, would slowly push the living room door open and enter awkwardly, hunched over like an old woman. Cassie, regal and comfortable, would be draped across her shoulders, blinking slowly and serenely. When she decided to get down, she would. Otherwise, she’d just stay there. She often reminded me of a queen- in this case, Cleopatra. But most often she was our little Queen Victoria. There was just this soft round elegance about her in the last year.
There is so much more to Cassie, but today I’ve written about her talent for always making an entrance. I’ve written about that because we’re all still expecting our little torty girl to pad into the room with a ‘mee!’. I know I keep seeing her enter the room out of the corner of my eye. I see her everywhere, every time I enter a room, and I am so mad at my mind for playing cruel tricks like that. But it’s also comforting, in an odd way. We’re moving house next week, but I’m strangely hopeful that in my imagination at least, she’ll come with us.