goodbye monty, or, is ross goth?

Thirteen or fifteen years ago, no one can remember exactly when, a six-week-old black and white kitten was dumped at the Warringah Shire Council offices in Dee Why. My sister worked there at the time and is a sucker for cats. She brought him home to Bluegum, where he promptly adopted my mother.

Mum named him Monty. He rapidly ballooned to implausible size. Imagine a mink-lined medicine ball with a long skinny tail and four spindly legs. His eyes were huge and manic. He had white whiskers and a long snout. In retrospect, he may have been part badger.

When Mum and Dad ran away to join the gypsies, serially-monogamous Monty transferred his affections to my brother Alain. He and Alain eventually moved out of Bluegum to another house in Frenchs Forest, where their roommates smoked and drank way too much. One of these delightful chaps, in a drunken rage, threatened to kill Monty, so Alain packed the cat and some clothes in his car and drove to Tenterfield to meet up with Mum and Dad. Monty escaped that night and was missing for hours. We thought we’d lost him then, but at last he came to Al’s call.

They moved in with Sarah and Max and the kids in Brisbane. Al got a job and found an apartment of his own, but pets weren’t allowed, so our hero spent his last years lolling in the sun at Patricks Road. Last week my mother noticed he had a respiratory infection and took him to the vet. X-rays revealed an obstruction in his larynx. A biopsy revealed inoperable squamous cell carcinoma. Mum and Al decided to put him to sleep before he suffered.

Nothing in my family happens without large helpings of farce, so when Max dug a grave for Monty, near but hopefully not too near where Sade is buried, he uncovered the well-preserved skeleton of a cat. It probably wasn’t Sade. Even so, this was too much for Kelly, who fled in tears.

Meanwhile Ross, nephew of my heart, inspected the fossil feline and said: “Can I keep it?”

I must get him the Lemony Snicket books.

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