Tuesday 25 July 2017

Our little 'Magpie' brings us all joy

Magpie the cat
Magpie the cat

Darragh Kelly

Call it coincidence but it all began with a dog! My mother Carmel acquired a Yorkshire Terrier 10 years ago. However, her recent surgery, my father's benign indifference and my job entailing some travel meant it couldn't be looked after in the manner that we'd have liked.

Giving up the dog to a loving home, my mother was heartbroken and truth be told, even I welled up that evening when the dog moved out.

The following day, my nephews and I were out the back of the house when we heard the high-pitched distressed cry of a kitten, left abandoned.

Delighted, my nephews brought the cat up to the house and after a period of suitable and appropriate 'house arrest' to reassure the kitten, she began to come to herself. With a blaze of black and white, there was only one name for her - Magpie!

Slowly but surely Magpie gained our trust. Soon, at the suitable age, Magpie was spayed and, believe me, this has brought us much peace of mind (and to Magpie too).

It wasn't all plain sailing; living along the N5 Dublin to Westport road presents particular hazards and Magpie once returned to the house bloodied and bruised after losing more than one life. Lesson learned - no more travelling further than the top of the driveway.

Now she loves nothing more than to follow me as I feed the sheep or cattle, sweep the yard or during any outdoor pursuit, coiling herself around my legs.

When I used to come home late at night after work, she would lie on the chair and unfurl her big zebra-like patterned belly permitting a rub or even a tickle.

She's also quite good at hunting, and many a poor fledgling has been left at the door. Mind you, my mother's insistence on placing both the bird cage and feeding tray at the front of the shed makes hunting comparatively easier for her.

She rarely cries but emits a soft mumble. There have been exceptions: at Christmas, frightened after an open window slammed abruptly, she received a slight burn from a nearby scented candle that smeared grease on her nose and mouth like lipstick, making her appear like a dishevelled feline version of Siouxsie Sioux, that performer from the punk era!

Now I've a place of my own, I'm sure Magpie gets a little confused by my 'comings and goings'.

I'm thinking of getting a cat of my own, but for me, there's only one Magpie - long live her reign in the Kelly household!

Name: Magpie

Finest hour: Surviving a near-death experience on the N5

Likes: Belly tickles and playful hunting

Dislikes: Children under the age of 12!

If you would like your pet featured here, send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET

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