Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Pros and Cons of Cats


Regular readers will know that my life is dominated by two black cats called Jasper and Poppy.

Jasper is a huge bucket of fat covered in black fur.

Poppy is a terrified moggy that I only occasionally see as a flash of black as she bursts out of the cat flap when something has frightened her (something like a fleck of dust drifting to the floor).

Mrs PM dotes on them.

I am bottom of the pecking order.

Recent episodes, mainly involving Jasper, have led me to question what is good about owning a cat. I don’t want to get rid of them (Mrs PM would surely throw me out before the cats) but for a bit of fun I thought I would list the pros and cons of cat ownership based on my experience with Jasper, Poppy and our dearly departed Spike, as well as my experience as a child with three other moggies, one in particular, Midge, who was without doubt the most vicious and violent cat I have ever experienced.

CONS

(1) Cats bring dead creatures into the house as gifts. Our house has in the past been a graveyard for dead mice, birds, frogs and paintbrushes. Yes – you read that correctly. As a kitten, Jasper went into next door’s shed and stole around ten paintbrushes, leaving them in our house. Mrs PM thought I was playing a joke on her until she saw him dragging a massive brush that was bigger than he was through the cat flap.

(2) Cats bring live creatures into the house. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to catch a frightened bird as it craps all over your furniture and carpet.

(3) Cats throw up in the house. In the summer, especially, when the cats moult, they deposit fur balls around the house. Why they think this is okay is beyond me.

(4) Cats scratch furniture. Our cats have their own little scratch posts and they choose to ignore them in favour of carpet, the wooden floor, the doors, the newspaper etc.

(5) Cats want to be fed in the middle of the night. Jasper in particular howls outside our bedroom door for food at dawn every day. If we let him in the bedroom he walks all over us and even scratches us in order to wake us up for food. I have considered testing to see how well a cat flies but I daren’t - Mrs PM would destroy me.

(6) Cats and vets and pills are a lethal and expensive combination. I have almost lost my hand trying to give cats any prescriptions from the vet. And I’ve had to pay an exorbitant amount of cash for the privilege. The last visit cost £70 and all I got was a quick prod from the vet (well the cat did – not me) , some pills and laxatives for the cat. I didn’t know that cat laxatives even existed.

(7) Cats fight each other. Jasper and Poppy fight with each other and with any cats who dare to invade their territory. Usually this involves scratching, screeching and a visit to the vet.

(8) Cats get killed. Sadly when I was a child, we lost three cats all of whom were run over by cars on the road outside our house. This doesn’t tend to happen with dogs.

(9) Cats embarrass me. Mrs PM told me that Poppy is scared of me because I have big hair, stomp around the house like an elephant and shout like a howling banshee. I made an effort to build bridges with her by speaking in a high pitched voice – “Hello little girl. How’s my little Poppy? Are you OK? Do you want some dinner?” I hear the neighbours think that I am a total fruitcake because of this.

(10) Cats are violent. Midge almost ripped my arm off several times just for fun. He would scratch and bite all the time; I’m sure he considered me to be a monster mouse and therefore a challenge. I lost every single encounter and my teachers thought I was an abused child. I was – by a mad moggy.

PROS

(1) Cats are loving creatures – this is not strictly speaking true. Cats are only affectionate when they want something. In the case of Jasper, it is when he wants food or warmth. Same for Poppy actually (as long as she is more hungry than scared).

(2) Cats are clean. Generally, cats go outside to go to the toilet. Ours certainly do. The only problem is that our garden is now full of cat shit.

(3) Cats can look after themselves. Generally, when we go on holiday, we invite a friend or neighbour to pop in and feed the cats once or twice a day.

(4) Cats are comforting. After a stressful day, it is nice to sit down watching TV with Jasper half on my lap purring as he sleeps. The fact I have had to bribe him with treats is irrelevant. Apparently it has been proven scientifically that a cat’s purr is relaxing and causes stress to evaporate.

(5) Cats are cute. I can have endless hours of fun with Jasper with either a pen or a piece of string. For some reason he goes completely wild when I gently slide a pen towards his paw. Great fun.

(6) Cats rid the house of vermin. If you ignore the fact that they probably brought the vermin in the house in the first place, they are remarkably good at removing any adventurous mice from the premises, sadly with fatal consequences usually. Even better, they eat insects and spiders too. The most impressive thing I have seen is Poppy leaping in the air and catching a fly between her front paws, before eating it.

(7) Cats generally don’t stink. If you ignore the crap buried in the garden, cats are generally clean creatures and do not stink the house out, like some dogs can do.

(8) Cats make me laugh. Every single cat I have ever owned has had enough behavioural weirdness to make me laugh. For example, when I was a child, Midge used to rampage through the house like a Tasmanian Devil high on a cocktail of Red Bull and speed for a period of about 30 minutes for no reason at all. Woe betides the idiot who got in his way (like I did once). My mum used to call it “a mad half hour”. The best cat related moment was when Poppy dropped a live mouse on Mrs PM while she was asleep. I still laugh about that every time I think about it.

(9) Cats can come and go as they please. If you have a cat flap then your cat can come and go as it pleases, so you don’t have to take it for several walks a day. Though having said that, Jasper is so fat that perhaps I ought to consider putting a collar on him and taking him out for a walk to give him some exercise. Mind you, that might result in my losing a hand.

(10) Cats make people happy. This is probably the most important reason of all. I don’t know any person who has owned a cat who isn’t delighted by their presence. Mrs PM certainly is and that is all that matters.

There you have it – an equal number of pros and cons. I am sure there are more (cat lovers will no doubt have more pros and cat haters more cons).

Overall I’m delighted with my two moggies.

The only problem is that they are black so they frequently cross my path (usually in the middle of the night at the top of the stairs).

Perhaps this explains why I have never won the lottery.

14 comments:

Pandora Behr said...

Love it, Love it, Love it! Best blog post ever, PM. Oh, the myth goes, if you own black cats, they don't hex you, so you're cleared. Great to see somebody who loves the moggies as much as me - gonna miss my change when he goes on the weekend.

The Elephant's Child said...

Laughed lots. Thank you.
Was reassured to find other cats bring paint brushes home as trophies. Said cat also brought home childrens' toys and lamb loin chops someone had set on a windowsill to thaw.
One of our cats (we were living on a farm at the time) also brought home lambs tails saying proudly 'look what I killed'.
Digestive upsets are known as UDOs (unidentified disgusting objects) here and dammit stain.
But still, like Mrs PM, I wouldn't be without them. Often.

drb said...

I hate cats (even though they like me), totally agree with all the cons. The only pro I can see is their cleanliness. My parents' cats use the toilet bowl! If only they could flush the toilet too. It is quite funny to walk into them when they are doing their business. One actually feels almost as embarrassed as walking into another human being and back off discreetly. OK, you are right with the other pro that cats make laugh.

Kath Lockett said...

Pros will *always* outweigh the cons of having a cat. Or a dog. Fur balls, farting and fights are all worth it!

River said...

There's only a few things I dislike about cats.
1) the hair that settles on everything, carpets, beds, couches.
2) they always seem to feel the need to wash their bottoms right where I can see them while I'm eating dinner.
3) the yowling of cats under my windows during mating season.
Apart from that, I love them and I've lived with several in my lifetime although I don't currently have a cat.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Cats are great - even when they are a pain in the backside.

I've had some great fun with them over the years.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I think the most bizarre thing that Midge ever brought home was a prize goldfish from a neighbour's pond - it was bigger than he was and I have no idea how he managed to claw it out of the pond.

We did not dare tell the neighbour...

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I know others who hate cats and some who are terrified of them. Never heard of a cat using the toilet bowl - that's quite funny. As I said in the post - ours simply use the garden. It is one massive cat toilet (though apparently its good for the plants).

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Totally agree. I am a dog lover too and as a child we had a dog and a cat. The aforementioned Midge was the moggy ane he dominated the poor dog. Mind you, he also loved that dog more than he loved us - he would cuddle up to him often - it was very cute and also funny to see the terrified look on the dog's face.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Ah yes - cat fur everywhere. Ours are black so you can imagine the mess during the summer.

And Jasper has been know to wash his backside while sitting on my knee - disgusting.

:0)

Cheers

PM

drb said...

Not just one cat Mr PM, all my parents' cats, more than a dozen by now, use the toilet bowl. They actually perch on the seat. The concentration on the cat's face is very funny. I always imagine that if it loses concentration, it may end up having a bath...

I don't know how they worked it out. I should try to get my mum to take a pic.

I Love-Hate America by Bing said...

I'm not a cat-person. I'm a dog-person. I love dogs than cats. Just because dogs can bark when there are strangers...and of course, they're men's best friends.
I find cats more annoying.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi again drb,

You MUST get a photo and send it to me - as long as you are not winding me up of course ...

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bingkee,

I am a dog person too and I would love to have a dog around the house. Sadly, they demand more attention and require more looking after - but I will hopefully fulfill this mini dream when I have retired. Ideally I want a dog AND a cat - and am prepared for the obvious trouble (having expreienced it before).

:0)

Cheers

PM