Cats and Ghosts

More ghostly tales then…

          Close the curtains against the dark, and draw your computer chairs closer to the virtual fire...
          Tales of cats this week…
          My aunt (she of the spooky tales) moved back into her parents’ house, to care for them as they died. She brought with her a black cat, named Charny.
          My grandad had always been fond of cats, and Charny soon learned that he was sure of a welcome, and much stroking and ear-rubbing, if he jumped up on the bed in the front room. All the months my grandad lay dying, the cat hardly left the bed. He would jump down to eat or use his tray, perhaps take a quick stroll up and down the garden, and then immediately return to my grandad’s side where he lay, night and day.
          Until two days before grandad’s death, when Charny jumped down, left the room, and wouldn’t go back into it again.  If picked up and carried inside, he struggled, and ran away as soon as put down.
          After grandad died, my aunt had to move, and Charny went with her again – but would not stay in the new house.  He ‘went mad’, running to every door and every window, crying and scratching, not resting until let out into the yard. If carried back inside, he panicked and ran about in fright until the door was opened.
          After a time of sleeping rough, Charney settled happily with a neighbour, and would come back to visit my aunt – but would not set paw in the house.
          I can personally vouch for the fact that almost every cat my aunt has kept in that house developed a habit of freezing and staring fixedly at a spot about half-way up the stairs.  I also heard heavy footsteps climbing the stairs one night when I was house-minding the place.

          My mother, too, told a tale of a sensitive cat. When my parents were first married, they lived in the old house where my father had been born.  Mom always disliked it.  It was creepy, she said.

          It was gas-lit, and you had to put money in the meter.  If the gas ran out and you didn’t have any sixpences or shillings, you had to sit in the dark.


          Mom was often alone in the evening, when Dad worked late.  She would sit reading on the sofa, with her cat, Tiny, who lay on her lap for hours, purring.  But when the gas sputtered out, Mom said, and it was  instantly dark, Tiny jumped from her lap and ran under the sideboard, squeezing herself right to the back, cowering against the wall.


          A cat, scared of the dark? You can imagine how my mother felt, as she groped for her purse and scrabbled for a sixpence.  Quite often she didn’t have a sixpence, and had to sit in the dark, wondering what had frightened the cat…

          Other things happened in that house that made her like it even less… but that’s for another blog.