Now I don’t know about you, but none of the cats I have encountered seem to know the rules regarding their existence, or indeed their place within a modern household. In fact, to be brutally honest, they are without doubt the most idle, self-serving, and arrogant of creatures and should be dismissed out of hand.
O.K. I know that this is not the kind of thing to say when Da Boss is around, well actually when our current cat, Indy, is around either, but dammit someone has to get the truth out there and it may as well be me.
Now we have had cats for the past four decades and they have brought us lots of laughter and been good company when one or other of the family has been unwell, but our most recent cat doesn’t seem to think that she has any role to play in particular.
We have had an interesting array of felines over the years, from strays to pedigrees, from friendly charming cats to arrogant bastards, who see us merely as the most convenient meal ticket in town. But overall, they have invariably had certain redeeming features, well that was until the arrival of Indy.
I probably should have read up much more before opting to find a Bengal cat for Da Boss. As you can see she looked so innocent when I got her, but oh boy were we in for a surprise! If I had done a more diligent job we would have known that we were letting ourselves in for a bit of a challenge. Well to be more precise, I was letting myself in for the challenge because Indy and Da Boss go out of their way to gang up on me.
But going back to cats in general, why did we even start to keep them? The myth I heard was that they were used to keep down the rats and mice. In which case would someone please speak to the various moggies we have had. Only one of them ever set about this kind of task in an efficient way.
In fact, that cat, our first, spent an entire summer near a rockery waiting patiently until she had wiped out an entire family of mice. The only downside of this was that she then proceeded to bring them to the back door where she laid them out for us to marvel at her talent and ability.
However, the remainder of cats have all taken a different approach. They have indeed caught mice and voles and all kinds of wildlife, but then have carefully brought them back to the house and let the damned things go – still very much alive!
Maybe there has been some kind of feline movement suggesting that wildlife should be released into captivity so that they can frighten the bejasus out of women. It has however meant that I have come home numerous times to find rooms shut off “because there’s a mouse in there!” And yes, you guessed it, it was my duty to find and then remove the blasted beasties.
Things have got progressively worse over time. Our Burmese not only loved to bring little trophies back home for his mistress, but then smirked in a way that only an oriental cat can whilst we rushed around trying to catch the little blighters.
Worse still, he absolutely adored being up high, and so would perch himself out of eyesight and snigger as we scuttled around trying to find the missing mice. And then, just as the hunt was getting particularly intense, he would launch himself onto our unsuspecting backs and shoulders. How in God’s name we never had a heart attack I do not know, but somehow, he always managed to make up for this with his fierce loyalty, especially when Da Boss was not feeling well.
Our latest furry friend has taken things to a new level however. In the three years we have had her she has progressed from the usual assortment of mice and shrews and voles all laid out carefully at the back door. The second stage was when she started bringing in the occasional feathered friend. Not content with burdening me with endless trips to the bottom of the garden where I flung the damned bodies, she then upped the stakes.
Instead of small feathered offerings, in various states of undress; she now began to bring them in still very much alive. But worse was to come, her treasures grew in size until one day I came into the kitchen to discover her battling with a bloody magpie that was a size or two bigger than herself.
Fortunately, that one happened to have given up the ghost and so was disposed of relatively easily, but it became clear that it was only a matter of time before we had an eagle or condor dragged in as a gift. And that was something I was definitely not going to be a party to!
Over the years the local birds have got their act together and so it is now just fledglings we get brought as gifts, the older ones have worked out that life in our garden is particularly hazardous and so only use the trees for nesting.
But now things have taken a turn for the worse. You see, Indy has now decided that rats should also be added to the menu. Even worse, we recently installed one of those super microchip activated cat flaps. This now means that our cat can go out hunting whenever she feels like it.
Fortunately, I remembered to keep my mouth shut when this thought struck me, and Da Boss has not yet been burdened with this new threat. But now each night I drift off to sleep fitfully wondering whether I will be facing some new and gruesome sight the following morning.
Hopefully the recent cold snap will deter our current cat from being too wild or adventurous in the dead of night. As for spring, well by then she may simply have got into the habit of doing what any sensible person or cat does – sleep in; and await a pleasant morning greeting at an acceptable hour. That at least would mean that my early morning coffee making would not be carried out amidst some dreadful scene of carnage and mayhem!