McGinty lives on a narrowboat, but McGinty isn't important and neither is the narrowboat. McGinty has a cat. McGinty's cat is important. McGinty's cat has a twitter account and McGinty's Cat has consented to allow me to read some of his tweets to you. 1. My efforts to make up for McGinty's total lack of hunting skills continue to go unappreciated. Today's protein snack dumped overboard. 2. Taking McGinty on may have been a serious miscalculation. The man is slipping. Dry cat food, not fish. Soymilk, not cream. Intolerable. 3. Surprised a #strangercat in the bluebell woods. She was neither intimidated nor impressed by my presence. 4. McGinty slept in his clothes again. Didn't even take off his shoes. Worse, he interrupted a most interesting dream as he stumbled aboard. 5. Three cans of tuna, half pint of semi-skim. I am unmoved. Had the tuna been in springwater, or even brine my attitude might be different. 6. #Strangercat consented to walk with me by the canal. I know her name. I know her secret. She is all & everything. I'm one smitten kitten. 7. McGinty is cleaning, has been since I got home. Not drinking, but cleaning. McGinty is cleaning. I'm off to find some long grass to eat. 8. One little hairball. McGinty throws me overboard. Surprised I wasn't made to walk the plank. Staying in the woods till he learns sense. 9. Why must that owl hoot so incessantly? Has the wind in the aspen trees always been so loud? Were there always so many night creatures? 10. Cold, wet, dark woods or warm, dry houseboat. McGinty may be an ass, but a cat must sometimes compromise to survive in comfort and style. 11. McGinty returned with an armload of strange packages. Didn't even seem to notice I'd been gone. 12. I am not pining. I have never pined before and I am not going to start now. So what if #strangercat has been gone for over a week? 13. A cat-duvet, totally unnecessary plants and cushions. What is wrong with McGinty? Just when my blanket smells right, he tosses it out. 14. Must break with McGinty. Off to find new digs when I see her amongst the bluebells. Time stops. I am undone. Plans thrown to the wind. 15. No one can help me. I am a captive of either the fool McGinty or my own desire. Freedom is an illusion. Love is a prison. 16. McGinty's indifference is galling, cannot stay. #Strangercat is here, cannot leave. Existential cat crisis. 17. McGinty continues to indulge his soft furnishing fetish. Five new cushions. I continue to experience the inherent absurdity of existence. 18. What does this Marni woman want with McGinty? Young, intelligent, dressed in black, full of plans. They have nothing in common. 19. I see it now. The soft furnishing fetish, the plants, the unprecedented cleaning. Poor besotted fool. I almost feel sorry for McGinty. 20. McGinty has stopped listening to Radio 4 and is now listening to some unnecessarily modern music. I am shaken to the core. 21. I have drowned the cat duvet, shredded all cushions, left deposits in each one of the plants. I will bend McGinty to my will. 22. Unmoved by McGinty's tantrum. The cushions were hideous, the cat duvet impractical, the plants unnecessary. I was right to destroy them. 23. Marni: friend or foe? Does not pander to McGinty's obsessive need for approval. Knows how to tell if fish is fresh. She has potential. 24. The world is moving. The woods are moving. The sky overhead is moving. The water beneath is flowing. The canal is flowing. Not good. 25. The woods are gone. All I have ever known is gone. How will #strangercat ever find me? It is all McGinty's doing. I will have my revenge. 26. At the gates of hell. Huge arms of concrete and steel capture the narrowboat and we descend slowly into the depths. Ok, it's a boat lift. 27. Marni is here with vodka for McGinty, tuna for me. We are to transfer to the yacht at the marina. Why am I the last to hear these plans? 28. New canal. Same old life; water, flies, woodland, fields, McGinty sneering. Bored now. Marni doesn't like McGinty sneering. Interesting. 29. Raining again. Marni cleaning. McGinty hung over. Going to hone my hunting skills on the spiders that Marni has frightened out of hiding. 30. Plans in uproar. Marni insists we celebrate Christmas. In vain McGinty protests he is neither Christian nor Pagan. He is in high dudgeon. 31. A tree on a boat? Marni has covered it in lights, and weird little shiny things. I like weird little shiny things. Ok the tree can stay. 32. Today I learned three valuable lessons. The Christmas tree is not a cat toy. Marni is an ass just like McGinty. It is cold on deck. 33. Christmas Eve: McGinty gave me a Christmas surprise. “Throw the damn tree on deck, not the damn cat.” I may be a damn cat, but I am McGinty's damn cat. 34. Christmas: Marni has a secret weapon: tears. Tears on Christmas. I can't compete. I'll be back on the sofa, after only one night in my rightful spot. 35. Boxing Day: Can hardly bare to speak of the humiliation. A collar, a red collar with a bell. It is a present from Marni. Apparently I have to wear it. 36. Marni gone. McGinty drinking and muttering that he was a fool to think she'd stay. Perhaps a little protein snack will cheer him. 37. A cat that wears a collar with a bell, is a cat that cannot hunt. No cheering little protein snacks for McGinty after all. 38. McGinty removed all traces of Marni, including the red collar and bell. Now I can hunt again. I will reward him. 39. McGinty in party planning mode. Buying up Western Europe's vodka supply, reactivated the soft-furnishing fetish. Marni on the guest list? 40. Protein snacks laid out neatly on deck. McGinty and pals unimpressed. No sign of Marni. McGinty doing his part to support vodka industry. 41. New Year. New McGinty, drinking bourbon not vodka, playing country heartbreak not Sibelius. 42. McGinty is the font of all wisdom. Today's nugget: humans can in fact control weather. Yacht trip cancelled and it's all Marni's fault. 43. Bowl full of tuna, old blanket returned, vodka and bourbon dumped. Must be the weather. I had heard storms can affect humans in odd ways. 44. I am desolate. Will never see #strangercat again. McGinty has passed the bluebell wood and moored in a place of noise and confusion. 45. McGinty, I will never forgive you. I spurn your tuna and your catnip-filled geegaws. This place is not my home. I am not your cat. 46. Love has found me. #Strangercat is by my side. Life is joy. I have returned to McGinty, as has Marni. I may even forgive him.
Author's Notes 1. 'McGinty's Cat' was read on the 25th of August 2015 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival as a part of Edinburgh City of Literature Story Shop 2015, and appears on the Edinburgh City of Literature website (found here) 2. More tweets from McGinty's Cat can be found on Twitter @McGintysCat
Copyright © 2013 Lindsay Oliver