Tuesday, 19 August 2008

My Feline Masters

It is said that an Englishman’s home is his castle. That is a misguided statement, particularly if cats live there.

Cats are devious, manipulative and selfish creatures who twist people to do their bidding. I am not the king of my own castle; I am a mere servant who, when home, is ruled by felines. Even as I type, I have a cat sitting next to the keyboard glaring at me because I have not leapt up to feed him.

One cat is bad enough; but Mrs PM and I own two and share a third. Mrs PM is a willing servant. I am not and am desperate to recapture my castle. I am starting a revolution in my own home.

It isn’t easy. You see, Mrs PM is enthralled by each one of them – I face major opposition from my only human ally.

Allow me to introduce you to our cats:

First, we have Jasper, a six year old male black cat who is extremely fat. He is very friendly but is driven solely by philosophy: “I am therefore I eat”. If there is any food left anywhere in the house he will hoover it up via his huge maw. Recently we have been trying to weigh him but the scales have been complaining about exceeding limits. The only time Jasper moves is when it is dinnertime or he needs to answer a call of nature. The cat flap we had initially installed had to be replaced by a new one “for the bigger cat”. I am convinced that he thinks his name is “Dinner”. Here he is:

Second, we have Poppy, a six year old female black cat who is Jasper’s sister. Their colour is where the similarity ends. Poppy is afraid of absolutely everything, including her own tail. If a pebble moves in the garden, she flees for her life. She is so timid that she has to pluck up a huge amount of courage to miaow for food. She is small and slim and moves at lightning speed, usually to flee from a shadow. It takes a major amount of courage for her to be in the same room as us. She struggles to compete with Jasper for food and we have to referee each dinnertime to stop Jasper from devouring her portion, which is difficult since Poppy runs at the slightest provocation. We managed to take a photograph by hiding behind a mirror just as she was admiring herself:

Finally, we have Spike, a sixteen year old male black cat who is a cuckoo in our nest. Spike’s real name is Hamish McTamish (as Dave Barry would say, I swear I am not making this up). Spike’s real owner lives a couple of streets away. We have agreed in principle to share him because frankly the lady who owns Spike cannot stop him from invading our house. Spike is very friendly but knows how to look after himself. He is old and so arthritic that he can barely climb onto the sofa. I christened him Spike because he can be very vicious when provoked (I have the scars to prove it). He also has hyperthyroidism, which makes him very hungry, very thirsty, very dribbly, very vocal and very, very demanding. Here he is:

From the above descriptions I can imagine cat lovers everywhere saying “Aww! How cute!”. And I say this – those cats have taken over my home and want to alienate me from Mrs PM’s affections. If I dare to say a word against them I incur the wrath of Mrs PM, which is not a pleasant experience, especially when it involves “her babies”. The cats use her to get to me.

Mrs PM insists that we sleep with the bedroom door open so that they can keep me awake. Jasper is so heavy that when he spreads his fat body across your legs the circulation quite literally stops. Poppy runs across the bed in sheer terror whenever I turn over and Spike is so demanding that the instant he requires food, he literally walks over my head, plants his bum on my face and then dribbles all over me whilst miaowing so loudly that neighbours consider calling the police. When I try to eject them, they hide in the shadows so that if I need to answer a call of nature in the middle of the night, they can walk in front of me and trip me up as I pass the stairs.

Now if I were paranoid I would swear that they were trying to kill me. I have evidence. When Jasper was younger he leapt from the wardrobe in the middle of the night and landed on my stomach. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was concentrating on getting my breath back, I might have died of fright.

I wouldn’t mind but I do actually look after them. I am not cruel to them in any way. I feed them when I can; I allow them to walk all over me; I protect them from other cats; I brush them; I pamper them; I give them titbits. What more could a loving owner do? Last week for example, I stood outside the house in the pouring rain holding a dish full of cat foot up to a six foot wall so that Poppy could eat – she was too scared to come in the house because there was a shadow in there.

And what do they do in return? They keep me awake; they bring me dead animals; they cough up fur balls on our carpets; they howl at night; they scratch the floor; they scratch the furniture; they make Mrs PM panic when they disappear for a day or so and I suffer as a result.

Still, they are cute when they behave themselves and all three are usually mooching around the house when we’re home.

I do occasionally get the chance to impose my authority and tomorrow is one such day. It is time for their check up at the vet.

I fully expect a campaign of revenge from them – starting tomorrow night I guess when I am asleep; I expect a close encounter with Spike’s bum.


Kim said...

That was classic! I was laughing through the whole thing. I have two cats as well, so I know how they can be your friends as well as your enemies.
(The Mister requires that they are out of the bedroom at night and although I sometimes miss sleeping with them, it actually is quite nice.)

Anonymous said...

Cats a just cool and are full of personality for sure. We just had our 14 year old cat die in the theater room. All stretched out and hard as a rock but the time I found him. Do you know how hard it is to bury a stretched out cat? Very. But from my own experience the ultimate cat weapon is a simple squirt gun or spray bottle. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have a cat than a dog, theyre more independent and surely knows what they want. Ive been nagging my husband to let me get one but then i think hes fearful of the unknown and maybe somewhat jealous that the new kitty will hog all the attention :)

Anonymous said...

thats funny!