Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site

In love with Sooty


Generic cat image

I’d never had a cat before, if you don't count the two strays Black Cat and Napolean Bonaparte whom I knew briefly in my childhood. But last year, my only Christmas present was a black and white tabby named Sooty, given to me by my Mum’s friend.

Sooty has long whiskers and a little brown beard, and one black and one white paw, and I've had her for two months now. I figure she's a teenager because all she wants to do is sleep, eat and play.

I went hunting for toys, and I found a little pink stick with a string on it and a little white mouse at the end, and a big pink stick with the same deal. But the mice fell off and got vacuumed up, and now I use the pink sticks to play with her.

I like to think I'm the magician and she's my magic cat. She's an indoor cat, though she never used to be, and sometimes I catch her staring out into the soulful night. She slept on the end of my bed the first night I got her. But since then she has prefered the couch and the little blue aeroplane blanket to sleep on.

The world outside is too big for such a little cat. But I make sure she gets her exercise when those magic pink sticks come out. She likes taking the pen from my hand too, when I'm writing, or playing with my bootlaces, but the other toys, the pink ball and the ball with bells she doesn't care for. I'd like to take her to the cat cafe, a cafe full of cats so she can make some friends and have a social life, but I know it's not meant for that, it's meant for humans.

The man downstairs yells at his cats, but when I come home I say ‘Hello Baby’ and when I leave I say ‘Goodbye Baby’. Sure there's been some accidents, but I figure she's not like Fat Freddy's cat from the comic the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers I read as a child, who scratched holes in his waterbed and peed in his shoes.

When Sooty wakes after a long nap, she yawns and arches her back, and then she scratches her claws on the back of the couch, before going in search of food. If I’m asleep, that means climbing up onto my pillow and meowing at me until I awake.

Nowdays I'm in cat routine which means buying her food and treats every fortnight and cleaning her litter tray every day and a whole lot of affection given and returned. I even let her jump up on the kitchen bench but only if I'm not preparing food because I've got four windows in my flat and she like to sit and look out from every one.

She's been one of the best things to come into my life. Now I don't talk to myself, I talk to her. One week when I was so poor I spent the last of my money on her, on cat toys and can of cat food and chicken drumsticks.

I like to pick her up in my arms and cuddle her, but she only stays a minute and then struggles and so far she hasn't hopped on my lap, but we're learning to trust each other and I know when she's older she will. There's plenty of time for that. She's my companion.

She wears a red diamonte collar with a red heart shaped bell and a white pearl bell that looks like a teardrop. Her teeth are sharp and she can be a vicious little creature when I rev her up, and when I pull those pink stick out its like she's watching a game of tennis, her eyes go from left to right so quick. I'm thinking of getting two goldfish and calling them John and Yoko because fish in bowls are like TV for cats.

I get entranced by her eyes, how sometimes she's got tiny dots for pupils and other times there big as saucepans, and I'm in love with her softness.

She purrs whenever I feed her, and she likes to bite my toes when I'm barefoot.

Sooty waits for me to get home at night. She meows at the door, and when I return she gets under my feet. I had a hairy spider on my wall last week and I brushed it off with a broomstick and killed it and I think 'Sooty' was more scared of it than I was.

Little creatures like her are life's endearments.

Peta EdmondsPeta Edmonds is completing a diploma in professional writing and editing.

Generic cat image by Shutterstock.


Topic tags: Peta Edmonds, animals, cats, companionship



submit a comment

Existing comments

It's black and white. You love Sooty, Peta. "Cats prove nothing - they are above all that. They don't even catch a mouse unless it suits them to do so. No cat will pledge itself for life to its human provider, nor in any way sell its deep, sweet soul. When it forms an attachment, it is by way of gracious concession mixed with convenience." (Muriel Spark)

Pam | 18 March 2015  

You shouldn't kill big hairy spiders. They keep your home free of much worse things like silverfish. You can scoop them gently into your hands and take them outside. It might horrify your cat though.

Michael Grounds | 18 March 2015  

“‘I meant,’ said Ipslore bitterly, ‘What is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?” Death thought about it. CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE.” – Terry Pratchett

Beth | 18 March 2015  

Beautiful Leo left a month ago. One day he was taking his usual 5-hour nap on the couch, the next day he was gone. He simply disappeared. I miss him. Every day, for four years, he greeted me with a simple miaow when I got home from work. I am absolutely certain that miaow meant 'Hi!" He miaowed again, insistently, in the evenings, until I sat down on the couch and put a blanket (his blanket) over my knees so that he could jump onto my lap and fall asleep. I miss the way he would close his eyes, purr and smile when I'd gently scritch him behind the ears. I miss his good-natured growl when I couldn't resist stroking his fluffy tummy when I found him asleep in his outside box (of course that growl meant, "Hey, what's the idea? I was asleep, you know!") I know I should get another cat. Since Leo's been gone, I feel tense all the time, irritable, depressed, empty. I'm sure my blood pressure's gone up. But what if Leo has simply gone wondering and returns to find someone has taken his place? I'll wait for him.

Reg (54) | 18 March 2015  

Nice article Peta, your affection for Sooty suggests there is something more about the human /cat relationship. Cats have a spiritual dimension that is the subject of investigation by veterinary neuroscientists. They can see a dimension that we cant see, in nursing homes they jump onto the beds of a dying person for the last 24 hours of that persons life. They know how 'to be' in the best position to soak up the sunlight, they know to do a yoga stretch when they have been snoozing for some time. But most of all they have the innate ability to harness and manipulate a human's affection with their sensate bodylanguage and purr in such a way that one cant resist cooperating with their demands.

Trish Martin | 18 March 2015  

Thank you Peta. You bought tears to my eyes! I love and adore my cat friend, Blossom. Everyday, when I cuddle and talk to her I am reminded of Leunig's ode to domestic animals, "those creatures who can trust us enough to come close".

Virginia | 18 March 2015  

Thanks Peta for a delightful essay. No one should even underestimate the happiness a cat can bring into a person's life. I know, from experience, how important cats can be for those of us fortunate enough to share time with them.

Maureen | 18 March 2015  


AO | 18 March 2015  

Personally I would much rather have a pet spider than a cat. Dogs actually like us, and show it. I certainly would not kill either a (non-deadly) cat or spider. I can't believe people think it is fine to tell an 'amusing' anecdote about killing a huntsman (going by the description).

Penelope | 18 March 2015  

Thank you for sharing your feline experience. It takes a long time to build mutual, but only a second, a word to destroy it. One day, Sooty will hop onto your lap - it took my cat [from a shelter] eighteen months to trust me.

Wendy | 20 March 2015  

Similar Articles

Cricket's assault on Australian racism

  • Brian Matthews
  • 27 March 2015

During the West Indies 1960-61 tour of Australia, Frank Worrell and his predominantly black team transfixed Australians from coast to coast and, without any missionary intent, struck a resounding blow at the White Australia Policy, which was still in place. This jubilant, exciting story prompts questions about today's masses, who enthusiastically support harsh, and arguably racist, treatment of asylum seekers.


Inside the head of an IS martyr

  • Ellena Savage
  • 20 March 2015

The language of martyrdom is being used to recruit young Australians to brutal stateless warfare. Because martyrs are morally superior to suburban burnouts. IS propagandist Abu Ismail described Melburnian Jake Bilardi as 'a lion on the battlefield although he was at a young age and with a weak body'. So, Bilardi was a weak young lion and therefore ripe for battle. How obscene!