A year in people #13 – Sparky

Not technically a person, but pets are family, right?

Sparks was my cat for pretty much most of my childhood and into adulthood. Ever since I was really little I had wanted a cat, so my parents got a little black and white one when I was probably about 5 or 6. I’d actually wanted a white fluffy one like off the cat food adverts, but a little black and white kitten from a house down the road was what I got. I wanted one I could pick up, cuddle and generally just play about with. Smudge was not that cat. He grew up to be a massive anti-social bruiser who preferred killing things to hanging around with people. Still, he was part of the family but mainly cruised about being fed, giving us evil looks and buggering off outside for the majority of his day to hunt animals much bigger than himself.

So, a few years later, we got Charlie and Sparky. Two tabby kittens from a farm litter whose mum had been tragically killed when they were just a couple of days old. Shirley, my mum’s friend, had hand raised the kittens for the next however-many weeks until they were old enough to come to us as two little fluffballs already used to being around people.

Charlie was supposed to be my brother’s, but he was more my mum’s and was normally found stuck to her like glue, usually wrapped around her neck or sat on her shoulders.

Sparky was most definitely mine though, and he was the kitten I’d dreamed of. I could pull him around, pick him up, dress him up in clothes and he’d LOVE it. Or tolerate it. One of the two. We were inseparable.

I loved that cat more than life itself sometimes. He was spoilt rotten, and a bit fat. He was lazy and would never go chasing anything. He had slightly wonky front legs, and so if anyone stood slightly bow-legged or cock-eyed, they’d have “Sparky legs”. I still have Sparky legs when I run.

If I laid on the ground or knelt with my head down he’d come and headbutt me, and would drool when he got lots of fuss. His purrs were as loud as a lion, and he was fluffy, majestic and a bit of a klutz all at the same time.

When I moved out of my parent’s house I couldn’t take him with me; he belonged out in the countryside where he’d grown up. But I missed him terribly and it broke my heart (I’m crying now, as I type this, and it’s been years, but it really did) as he got older, thinner and more frail. With each visit he became more of an elderly man and towards the end he was painfully thin, compared to his usual fat self, and found it hard to move. But I’d visit, lay down on the floor and he’d always, slowly, get up and headbutt me and I’d give him a kiss.

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He loved me, and I loved him. ❤

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