I once lived with a very fine black cat – a British Short-Hair with a glossy black coat and big green eyes. He wasn’t a full pedigree but was nonetheless a very fine cat.
He had a posh name, but I just called him Cat. We lived in a third floor flat and he had never been free to go outside. He still had soft, pink feet like a kitten. After a while we moved to a ground floor place with its own garden and he had his first taste of the wilderness beyond the window. It was a real laugh to see him hopping around on the grass which he had never felt before, and which pricked his soft feet. But he soon toughened up and became a great fighter. The apartment was in a courtyard in a city in Germany, surrounded by old buildings and new restaurants. There were rats, of course.
Now I am sure that there are many cats that will take on a grown rat, but Cat was the only one known to me personally. I remember going outside one winter morning and finding four, no five, no SIX dead, stiff rats scattered around the courtyard, like casualties from a rodent battle. They probably weren’t fully grown, but big enough! Cat was wholly unmarked.
I had, too, a very fine leather chair – low and wide, covered in soft leather and very reminiscent of the Victorian Library or Club chairs. If I was sat in it of an evening and Cat wanted to make an “entrance” then he would leap unannounced onto the arm or back of the chair, causing me to start, before he dropped into my lap for an hour or so of contented purring.
Of course, his claws marked the leather, which bothered my (then) wife a little. I reminded her that, one day, Cat would be no more, but the marks in the leather would always remind me of him.
Cat is not with me now. My wife and I separated and Cat, being “her” cat really, stayed and I left, taking the leather chair with me. I sit in some evenings, feeling the marks in the leather under my thumb and remembering different times.