Pat McDer­mott

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.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS - AWW To con­nect with Pat on Face­book, visit www.face­book.com/PatMcDer­mot­tau.

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.

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