In a world exclusive, Pat McDermott's 92-year-old cat, Buddha, reveals the truth about the McDermott house and why his mistress is a hopeless drama queen.
I’m a very private cat. Even though I rarely give interviews, I’m often asked, “What’s it really like living with the McDermotts?” Usually, I open my eyes to see if food is involved. If it isn’t, I go back to sleep. Yet when a magazine as important as The Australian Women’s Weekly pesters you for a “one-on-one”, it’s difficult to refuse. And the fresh sardines by express post were a nice touch. Still, what really got my feline brain thinking about telling my story was the last visit to the veterinarian.
Pat always comes with me when I go to the vet. Paperwork has to be done, money changes hands and I simply have no head for business. This time, the vet looked at me kindly and said I had arthritis, failing eyesight, dodgy kidneys and less than perfect hearing. “In cat years, he’s 92 years ‘young’.” I’m guessing this was a roundabout way of saying I don’t have many Christmases left. Which is odd because I don’t feel a day over 91.
“Now, here’s the good news!” the vet announced. “At 92, I don’t think we need bother with any more vaccinations!”
Dear old Pat was quiet on the way home – and she’s never quiet. In the past, bless her, she’d at least whine about the vet being more expensive than her GP. Lifting me out of my cat carrier, she was a little teary. OMG, she is, like, hopelessly sentimental! So I distracted her by winding myself around her legs, leaving my lovely white hair on her new black pants.
When Reagan, who is McDermott child #1, brought me home, the family changed my name from Nikki to Buddha because I’m inscrutable. Also I’m fat. It’s hereditary. I come from a long line of fat cats, but being plump didn’t stop me hitting the ground running.
I slept on school blazers, business suits and clean towels fresh from the dryer. I clawed four different sofas and hid under any one of six different beds. I was in cat heaven.
In those days, all five McDermott children lived at home. They loved me, but the MOTH (the Man of the House) took longer to come round. I began by teaching him to obey simple commands.
For example, I like to sleep on the verandah, but first someone has to open the door for me. So I yowl my best and loudest yowl. The MOTH hates the yowl. As soon as he hears me, he stamps down the stairs and opens the door. Too easy.
So I took things a step further and introduced the “Do I want to go out or do I want to stay in?” game. It’s simple:
I take four steps towards the open door and then six steps back. I do this nine or 10 times. It drives the MOTH crazy. It’s so much fun, I go whacko and chase my own tail. The best time to play this game is 1am, but, really, anytime is a good time.
I wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else. For the past 19 years, it’s been LOL every single day with the McDermotts. And I’ve outlasted four dogs and a zillion goldfish. Not that the McDermotts are perfect. One Christmas, Pat had a meltdown because I got under her feet as she carried the turkey to the table. Down came Pat – turkey and all. Things got very festive after that. While everyone was crying and laughing, I scooted under the table and ate so much turkey the MOTH had to carry me to a chair for a snooze. They ordered pizza and moaned about it for months. They still moan. Honestly, people – move on!
I love Pats, but she’s a drama queen. She worries about the kids. “Where are they? Are they okay? Who are they with? How’s the new job? How’s the new baby? Is everybody happy?” I say to her, “Pat, Pat! Listen to me! Calm down. The kids are fine! Take a tablet. They’ll ring if there’s a problem.”
Then she lies on the sofa and I lie on her chest and purr big purrs, and we watch bad television together until she dozes off.
Whatever the vet says, I’ll be around a bit longer. The McDermotts couldn’t get by without me. Especially Pat.
PS. They say timing is everything and Buddha’s was amazing! He died peacefully an hour ago. All the McDermotts are grateful for his 92 fabulous years.
I introduced the ‘Do I want to go out or do I want to stay in?’ game.