If you'd met Kyle towards the end of his 17 and a bit years you'd have thought he was a real sweetie. Every day he walked a bit more like John Wayne and he purred like a Rolls Royce. Kyle in his dotage was a total darling. But in his youth, Kyle was known, with some justification as Vile Kyle, the monster cat from hell.
Kyle as a kitten had brown curly fur and even more than his sister Bute, he was totally devoted to me. He would climb up my dressing gown and snuggle down the front or hang round my neck purring in my ear. Kyle was a great hunter and brought me many presents over the years. But he didn't go for mice or birds (well not much), as befits an island cat, Kyle preferred to fish. Kyle did a special kind of air fishing. He fished washing off the neighbour's washing lines. Socks were his favourite. You'd hear him from some distance away, a muffled yowl as he told the world about his prize and then dragged it through the cat flap. Underwear, children's clothes, a swimming costume, toys, tea towels, cleaning clothes - all sorts of things would be waiting for me when I got back from work. When I could, I left the day's catch on the front wall but I did draw the line at leaving out the calvin klein's he brought back once.
Kyle was also famous for being totally and utterly vicious even to my Dad whom every furred and feathered creature under the sun loved. Dubbed 'Vile Kyle' by my nieces after one of his more spectacular rages, I secretly admired his uncompromising commitment to living life on his terms. Mind you, I usually escaped his fury. How one small ball of black fur can scare the beejesus out of my Dad, my nieces and for a time even Ali, is beyond explanation.
It was partly his gimlet eye, partly the sharp and gleaming claws but what made Kyle truly awesome was his lightening quick reflexes. Kyle used to lash out from unexpected places at passing legs, arms, scarves, whatever was nearest. Of course I knew he was only playing. Even towards the end of his years, the vet had to move pretty quickly when he tried to cut Kyle's claws. I felt a glow of maternal pride that the old Kyle was still there. Ali always said I was like one of those women in East Enders, who after another emotional battering would say 'he's a good boy really'. And of course Kyle was, underneath it all.
Kyle used up his quota of lives and a few more besides. He was at death's door on the vets table at least 3 times, but kept coming back stronger than before despite failing kidneys, a weird cold type thing and a spot of the old dementia. We'd almost begun to believe that Kyle might just live forever.
Alas dear Kyle only lasted a few weeks longer than his sister Bute and we said farewell to him a few days ago. His time had come when he couldn't get up for breakfast, his legs had finally gone, probably jumping off the settee. The house is now cat-less, or at least it's supposed to be. I guess after 32 years with a cat round the place, it's not surprising that I still hear cat chat and the little chirrups and squeaks that populate the feline/human interface. The terrible twins have left a fair bit of fluff, fur and happy memories behind them.
The day I brought the terrible two some home from Rothesay, I swore I wouldn't love another cat like I loved their predecessor Damian. But of course I did, they stole our hearts. It is better to have loved than lost and Vile Kyle and Cute Bute are absolutely part of our family history. Tales will be told of the vicious, almost indestructible cat with the awesome life force and the wicked sense of humour, the indefatigable Kuyle.
So farewell my furry friends. You are missed.
Too teary to write about running. Take care