The fear of cats is a really interesting subject and one that nearly always has a story behind it. In my case, it would be easy to say that I don’t like cats and cats don’t like me but it’s just nowhere near as simple as that. The war between the cat kingdom and myself began – as many things do – in a pub.
I was fifteen. At the time, I had a much older friend called Ricky. He lived two doors down from me and we met one afternoon when I noticed him unpacking a Commodore Amiga computer. I knew quite a bit about computers and asked him if he’d bought any games for it. We got talking, had the same sense of humour and became good friends: he got on well with my family and started having dinner at our house. Over the next few months, we played and completed some classic rpg games and graphic adventures like Eye of the Beholder and Monkey Island.
Then, one rainy Friday, he leaned out of the window of his flat and called down to me as I left for school.
“There’s a guy I want you to meet!” he shouted. “He buys and sells games and I want to know which ones we should get!”
I remember having a list in my head almost immediately. “When are you seeing him?”
“Tonight! I’m going to the Montifiore pub: meet me there at six o’clock and we’ll see what he’s got!”
That night, I met a man called ‘Gobo’ (a name I’d previously associated exclusively with the Fraggles). Ricky always named his friends after Jim Henson muppets. I was ‘Red’, his mate with the even bigger nose was ‘Gonzo’ and this new guy – whose actual name was also Dave – was apparently ‘Gobo’.
Well….it turned out that Gobo lived next door to the pub and was quite an extraordinary character. When he wasn’t drinking, he was programming and writing reviews for a bunch of computer magazines. Gobo, it turned out, was a single guy who lived alone but had two great loves in his life: the Commodore Amiga computer and….
“Cats,” he said. “I live for my cat family.”
The alarms should have started then. If you own a cat, you would describe it as ‘my cat’. If you own two or three, you might says ‘my cats’ but a description like ‘my cat family’ should probably have informed me that the guy was into cats on the grand scale.
His house was a dump.
Some people keep a tidy home, some people like their homes messy and others can let things go a bit.
This guy had a house that looked like the front line in a war zone: he tripped over three times en route to his own chair.
“Find a seat,” he said, indicating a dig site on the far side of the room.
Ricky and I both started crashing around to find a chair. The really odd thing about the lounge/dining room we were in was that Gobo had blocked off the front door and pointed all the furniture towards the back of the house, effectively turning the back garden into the front garden: I’d never seen anything like it.
I was thrilled to find an seat before Ricky: an old single sofa so ripped and mangled that springs extended out from the arms and all the stuffing had exploded.
On reflection, I really should have thought a bit more about that.
“Oh, good luck sitting there,” Gobo says, glancing over his shoulder. “That’s where they all like to drop.”
I stare blankly at him.
Then I look up.
Something furry looks down.
The furry thing, perched on a landing that overhangs the lounge, is immediately joined by three more and they just LEAP.
All three cats land on me and I go batshit mental. The next few minutes are a nightmare of teeth and claws and cats flying in all directions: at one point, Ricky tries to help but can’t tell where the ginger cat ends and the ginger teenager begins as we’re basically just one ball of screaming chaos.
Gobo is on the floor sobbing with laughter.
The final cat drops off me and I climb off the sofa. Then I have a vasovagal attack due to number of open wounds I have on my hands and end up passing out on the kitchen floor, which is when I wet myself.
I wake up, drenched in my own urine and surrounded by two worried guys and three mildly amused cats who are sitting next to me and pawing affectionately at my arm. One licks my face like a dog.
….and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m off cats: for life.
The Fear of Cats was written by Davey Stone based on a childhood encounter. For more articles like The Fear of Cats, check out the ‘Growing Up’ category on the blog main page. Thanks for reading The Fear of Cats!