Saturday, 20 August 2011

Introducing Liquorice

There is a pecking order in my house and I am firmly entrenched at the bottom. Until last Tuesday I was fourth.

Now I am fifth.

We have a new cat, who has popped in to the pecking order chart ahead of me.

Here she is:

Why have we acquired a third cat?

Mrs PM has a friend in London who is moving to Abu Dhabi and she wanted her cat to go to a home where she would be loved and well looked after, preferably by somebody she knew.

Mrs PM was the obvious choice.

Regular readers will know that we already own two black cats called Jasper and Poppy, who are the undisputed masters of our home. In their eyes I am a mere servant (and a very poor one at that) and my place in the pecking order reflects the position that these two moggies have placed me.

To them, I am a mere slave; I feed them, I clean up after them, I pamper them, I groom them, I play with them and, when it takes their fancy, I am their prey.

I have learned my place over nine long arduous years and in that time I have suffered - here are some examples:

  • Jasper, a huge fat bloater of a moggy, leaping from a wardrobe while I was asleep, and landing on my stomach; it felt like I had been body-slammed by a crazed wrestler.
  • Walking, blind, to the toilet in the middle of the night and stepping into cat shit or vomit with my bare feet.
  • Having my bare feet attacked by both cats in the middle of the night.
  • Receiving “gifts” of dead mice, birds, frogs and even next door’s paintbrushes. My next door neighbour still thinks I am a weird pervert.
  • Dropping a live mouse on Mrs PM while she was asleep (I still think that is hilarious).
  • Having my finger bitten by Poppy as I tried to give her a pill and, when escaping, using my face as her chosen route to safety, leaving my already weird face now covered in scratches.

There are many more examples.

Nevertheless, I love cats and have tolerated their foibles and demands and accepted my place. The rewards are there for all to see.

Now what about this third cat?

I have met her a few times and each time, without fail, she has attacked me. She is nine years old, the same age as our cats, and also, like them she is black.

Her name is Liquorice.

When Mrs PM suggested that we inherit Liquorice, I said two things.

“That cat hates me.”

“We are changing her name.”

Mrs PM replied.

“Well she likes me”.

“We are NOT changing her name.”

I tried suggesting a few other names that reflect her violent personality, like Fang, Tank, Miss T, Chomper, Medusa, Shredder, Ripper, Raptor, Boudica, Claws and Piranha.


She arrived last Tuesday and since now we are in the middle of a period where Liquorice needs to settle. She is not allowed out of the house for two weeks, which means that we have to revert to using a litter tray for all three cats.

I hate litter trays – particularly full ones.

So how is Liquorice settling in?

It’s a difficult question to answer because I can’t communicate with cats. Even if I could they would probably ignore me. I can only give you the evidence and let you judge for yourself. Here’s what has happened since Liquorice moved in:

Liquorice has allowed me to stroke her. At first, I thought that perhaps she actually liked me. Sadly, she was lulling me into a false sense of security and has bitten me three times and scratched me twice.

Liquorice hates Jasper and Poppy. When they appear within her sight, Liquorice becomes a hissing, growling black ball of rage and attacks anything that enters her personal space – like me when I tried to comfort her by stroking her head. She seized my hand in her jaw and I only just managed to remove it in one piece.

Liquorice has explored our house and decided that our bedroom is her favourite room. Unfortunately, when Jasper or Poppy enter the room, she reverts to her Mrs Hyde state and becomes the hissing, growling ball of rage, usually at four o’clock in the morning and waking me up.

Liquorice can be very friendly and has fallen asleep on me in bed, allowing me to stroke her. I even managed to get a few purrs out of her.

Jasper and Poppy have allowed Liquorice to enter their kingdom with nothing more sinister than passing curiosity. Take today for example. Liquorice was sitting next to the settee when Jasper decided that he wanted to sniff her. He marched up to Liquorice and sat just two feet away staring at her. Liquorice responded with prolonged hissing and growling and then attacked my hand.

Poor Poppy doesn’t know what to make of Liquorice. She has tried to be friendly but so far been met with the same venomous growling and hissing.

How do we feel?

Mrs PM loves Liquorice and now has “a third baby”, despite Liquorice attacking her once or twice.

Me? I like her too. I like feisty cats and Liquorice has proved to be very feisty. She is also very agile and seeks sanctuary in the highest places in the house, like the top of the kitchen units or our wardrobes. She has also proven to be very friendly despite the trauma of now having to live with two other cats.

I think she will settle and in a couple of weeks we will try to introduce her to the cat flap so that she can explore the outside of the house.

And, of course, she will undoubtedly start to treat me like the lowly minion I am. In fact that has already started – she has just managed to fill the litter tray with an enormous turd.

I know my place.


Elephant's Child said...

There is something about black cats isn't there. And I do understand the bottom of the pecking order thing. This is my place too. Feeder yes, cleaner of kitty litter yes, stroker perhaps, prey far tooo often. And sadly (for what it says about me) it is worth it.

Hope she settles soon.

Pandora Behr said...

Lovely blog PM. Gorgeous. May Licquorice, or what every you call it, spend many happy days with you. Gorgeous mog. You might make you way up the pecking order one day.... one day....

River said...

Three cats now!
And I still don't have even one...
Think I'll go and hug a teddy bear.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Mrs PM loves black cats (that's why we have three).

It is fun owning cats - and she is settling. Today, for example, she was following me around the kitchen and trying to climb into cupboards. And she let me stroke her without even a hint of malice - perhaps she's leading me into a false sense of security.

She'll be okay.



Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I doubt that I can climb the pecking order.

And her name is Liquorice - Mrs PM is adamant about that.

See? I know my place.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

You should get a cat - they are great fun.




Mind Of Mine said...

How about Miss Kitty Fantastico?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi MoM,

I'll suggest it to Mrs PM.




drb said...

Licorice - great name for a black cat. Why do you want to change it?

Maybe I should go back to your blog and read between the lines...

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I wouldn't call a black cat Liquorice because it is too obvious. And there is such a thing as red liquorice.

Anyway, it's a moot point because Liquorice she has always been and Liquorice she will stay (at least when Mrs PM is around - I shall train her to respond to "Claws" when Mrs PM is out).




drb said...

Wouldn't 'Claws' be more obvious? More (all in fact) cats have them than being black. I'm with Mrs PM on this one.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Yes - all cats have them but few use them as often and as effectively (on human beings) as Liquorice.

In fact as I type this I am nursing a new wound. What did I do? I dared to stroke her - I guess I deserve my punishment.