Roof Cat.

I just watched a cat on a roof. It wasn’t a particularly high roof but high enough that the cat couldn’t jump to the ground. It teetered for a moment then stepped down onto what looks from here to be some sort of rusty metal guttering, tiptoed around until it found the right spot then jumped on to a lower wall I hadn’t even noticed. But at least I noticed the creature and it’s own little struggle. There are others in this car park. Ask them how the black and white cat managed to get back to safety. “What cat?” I can almost hear them ask.
I feel for that cat. In fact, I feel like that cat. With one small, seemingly insignificant, easily forgettable but crucial difference; I didn’t notice the wall.
No one even knows if there is a wall. It’s elusive. Imagine if that lower stone wall hadn’t been there. How would that cat feel, watching all the other cats go by enjoying their daily grounded lives, thinking ‘it’s boring down here!’ but not realising how lucky they were to have solid ground beneath their feet, rather than ever changing, unreliable old roof tiles and only a rusty bit of guttering to fall back on? If you were that cat would you risk the jump? It doesn’t look too far but it’s far enough, the ground is uneven beneath you and you’re oh so fragile from all that time clambering across overlapped slate. Or would you wait for help? While knowing in your heart that those below you on the ‘boring’ ground were unlikely to notice you, unlikely to care if you fell. The few times someone did see beyond the handful of things currently relating to their own personal existence to catch a glimpse of your world they would do one of two things;
The purebred cats, the tough cats and the ordinary breeds who are desperate to impress the former would jeer, saying that you weren’t worthy of ground living, that you were stuck on that unforgiving roof because that’s were you belonged. You’re inferior. You’re unable to keep up with the rest of us. The others would stare wistfully up at you and express envy ‘You don’t have to walk around all day down here like us! You can just take cat naps all day and night. You’re lucky. I wish I could live like that…’ If anything, their self centred dreaming hurts more than the bullies’ taunts. How can they not see the hell you’re living through? They want the life of a roof cat? They can have it!
At night you lie awake: you can never sleep well up here as the sea wind buffets your fur from all sides. You lie awake but dreaming. There are stories of those who have made it, those who’s saviours have brought them a ladder or box to jump on to, others who have taken the leap and survived. But everybody’s roof is different and every box is different -some don’t deliver what they promise and break apart rather than taking your weight; that’s what you keep telling everyone. Will they listen? No. They can never understand that you face the jagged edge of metal, your tiles are old, likely to give way. Still you dream. In you heart you feel that you will always live as a roof cat, die as a roof cat. But still you dream.

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2 thoughts on “Roof Cat.

  1. This is so beautifully written and I can completely see where you’re coming from! I love how you got this cat as an inspiration to write all of this! It’s amazing!

    Like

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