Sunday, 20 January 2008


Today is Sunday and I have just buried Midas.

Midas is not my cat; it’s the apartment’s cat. I do not know how old Midas was, when I first saw her she was tiny like a few months old kitten, but she was also very underweight. Over the period of knowing Midas, I knew that she was not a kitten; she was too mature to be one. She was already an ‘apartment cat’ when I moved in. Becca, the previous resident fed her dry biscuits and Midas would spend hours sitting outside the front door watching inside.

At the moment I have a mixture of feelings, a part of me is glad that she’s gone. She was disease addled and dirty, a high hygienic alert. I noticed that she had become blind and deaf within last couple of weeks. The other half of me is sad; my homeless companion won’t be there for me to be concerned of. Sometimes she’d come to the apartment with a bloodied or muddy nose and always looking scraggly and filthy. I gave her a bath two weeks ago and she sulked away for the night but came back the next afternoon and stuck by my side ever since and I had grown accustomed and possibly attached to her. I was attached even though I rarely touched her for the fear of contracting some sort of disease from her. The time I gave her a bath was the longest time I had spent touching her. She felt very underweight and bony and I felt sick in the stomach when I bathed her.

Last night I was working very late on a Fast Track project and walked to my room for a break and I found Midas curling up on the floor, she wasn’t supposed to come inside the apartment and she knew that. In the short time I’ve lived here, the only farthest she’d ever ventured into the apartment was to the kitchen area where naturally there was food. Every time she crawled silently into the apartment, hoping that I wouldn’t notice, I’d find her and then shoo her out with a broom and then later on it became a developed cue for her when I went to get the broom, she’d scoot right out. I continued with what Becca had allowed her, a small area in front of the door where I left dry biscuits and water for her. Last week for the first time, I went and bought a packet of wet food for her and gave her a small portion, she gobbled it up eagerly and I was surprised. The next night I gave her the whole leftover and she enjoyed it and wanted more but I had none left.

I had been planning on going to Liguanea today to buy the same packet but this time, not just only one, but about a dozen so I can start trying to bring her weight back to a healthy one. But unfortunately, she died before I could do that.

I went to bed around 2.30am this morning and I had to push Midas out with the broomstick, she either refused to budge or she couldn’t move. I remember one night last week I was so concerned about her hind legs, she wasn’t able to make much use of them. I had assumed that she was really dehydrated and didn’t have enough energy in her to move around. It was at that time when I had bought the wet packet for her as a nutrient supplement. I brushed Midas outside the front security door, where she knows to be every night before I went to bed. She only was able to move her head to look up; I tried to look closely into her eyes but couldn’t see much. I gave her a quick neck massage before going inside to wash my hands. After washing, I went back to the front door, she still hadn’t moved. I closed the doors and went to bed.
About two or three hours later I woke up to a funny smell, I couldn’t figure where it came from and I wanted to know what it was. I got out of bed and walked around in the dark and followed the smell to the front door, I edged my nose near the lower part of the front door where the odour was the strongest. It was of a foul smell, of when someone is seeping bodily fluids. I knew that it must come from the cat but I did not want to open the door. I’d find out at daylight.

When I woke up, I did not go straight to the front door. An hour later I had remembered to check on Midas so I went to open the door and saw her in the same position as I had left her last night. She was lying on her side, facing over the balcony towards the Kingston area. I immediately knew that she had died but wanted to confirm it, so I unlocked the security door and touched her with the tip of my thongs, in a normal situation when I touched her she’d get up and walk around. But this time, her whole body moved stiffly to the direction where I had nudged her.

She was dead.

I pondered about how I was going to bury her, I wrote a note and went downstairs to the apartment on the first floor where I knew that Midas often sat outside of when I wasn’t at home. There is a little boy who lived at that apartment that Midas might have been fond of. In the note I wrote that the cat was dead and I needed help on burying her as I didn’t have a shovel.

When I approached the boy’s mother, she was sitting on an oversized couch inside her apartment; I gave her the note through the security door to read. She stood up and I saw that she had hitched her t-shirt up to her neck and her breasts were exposed. Out of respect, I tried to look away but she walked over to me and started talking at the same time trying to pull down her t-shirt.

The woman went to another apartment and talked to a man, he could sign and he gave me a shovel and got plastic bags, he followed me to where Midas’ body was and put the plastic bags over his hands, picked her up and carried her to a place that we had chosen on a secluded cliffside just beyond the fenced boundary of the property we lived on. When I saw that the man had taken the caution of covering his hands with plastic bags, it hit home that I wasn’t the only resident in the building to have been careful around the cat; there were others who knew the consequences of touching her.

I followed the man on the steep cliffside carrying the shovel, sometimes we would slip around in the dirt but we never fell and he never dropped Midas. We agreed on a spot to bury her, the man started digging and stopped when we thought it was deep enough. We then buried Midas. I had seen bodily fluids leaking from Midas’ mouth when the man lowered her into the grave hole. While the man had been digging the hole, I had thought that maybe Midas wasn’t dead and that we should check her pulse, she might have become comatose but once I saw the condition Midas was in when she was being lowered, I knew she was definitely dead.