Saturday, 25 October 2008

My big friend is bigger than your big friend

There are times when being able to call on a large friend is a tremendous boon. Our cat Misty demonstrated as much yesterday.

Generally, he enjoys his life over here in Stafford. The only problem is the other cats – they’re not proving cool at all. There hasn’t been a cat living here for a long time and the others have come to regard what is now our garden as an extension of their own territory. Yesterday, Misty was out there enjoying the sun (you have to be quick, before the clouds come back over, but when it’s out it’s pleasant, reminiscent of places where the temperature sometimes gets into the twenties). All was apparently going well until, suddenly, he was at the back door mewing piteously to be let in (this is not our place and so we haven’t put in cat flaps).

It was Janka our dog who heard him and alerted Danielle. They dashed down to see the neighbour’s cat in the garden, behaving in a proprietorial and threatening manner towards Misty, who was scrabbling at the door to get back inside. Danielle opened the door, but before Misty could get in, the black, furry, barking bundle that was Janka was out after the interloper. The latter took one look at the noisy black mass bearing down on him and, not realising that Janka has the killer instinct of a rag doll, decamped.

Misty had got indoors but turned to watch the scene. To his astonishment his tormentor was being put to ignominious flight. Slowly he came back to the door and peered out. The garden was undoubtedly his again. The sun had returned. He went back out, found himself a patch of sunny grass and started to lick himself down again. ‘This place is mine, for my enjoyment,’ he was clearly saying. ‘Come back here and my big, black, noisy friend will sort you out.’ His demeanour radiated calm self-satisfaction.

Of course, when I was at school I could never say ‘my big brother is bigger than your big brother’ because I didn’t have one. ‘My kid brother is bigger than your kid brother’ doesn’t have the same ring of reassurance to it. But I’ve always had a hankering after the joy of having a big, powerful friend to leap to my assistance.

Or at least I did until Bush and Cheney took over the White House. When I suddenly realised that one’s friends can sometimes be just as worrying as one’s enemies.

Still, at least the old arrangement still works for Misty.

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