Thursday, 9 January 2014

Tooth and claw: the diary of Misty, mystery cat

All cat owners must ask themselves from time to time ‘what on Earth does the cat do on his own for so long?’

Our cat is Misty, a name I gave him because of his predominant colour. Or so I thought. I’ve since decided that if the name fits him, it
’s because he mystifies me. So it’s with great pleasure that I can announce I've been able to penetrate that mystery a little.

I’ve long known that his English was excellent. You should have seen the way he stalked off into the night one time, when Danielle and I commented that he was getting a little fat. He didn’t show up for twelve hours or more, and then only to eat.

Mastering the language is pretty good going, you know, for a cat who was born in France and we took to live in Germany. Before shipping him to England.

What I didn
’t realise was that he’d learned to write too. That’s what he’s been doing when he’s out there on his own – keeping a diary. And now I’ve found it. 

Don’t let him know, but here’s a first extract from it. 

Misty disguising his vocation as a writer

January 2014

Christmas went quite well. A full complement of domestic staff – not just the usual two, but also the two young ones who were around when I was a kitten. They don’t stay, though, they keep clearing off. What do they think? That I don’t mind? That it’s OK to behave like that?

Still, when they show up again, I just can’t help myself. The prospect of curling up on those laps just leaves me without the heart to show how irritated I am.

On the other hand, the freshness of reunion doesn’t last. A couple of days in and one of the young ones got very casual about stroking me. Watching TV or something. Absent-minded with his hand movements. I can’t abide that. So I bit him. Did he curse! That’ll teach him.

Things turned worse after Christmas. They all cleared off. Without even asking for my permission. Which I wouldn’t have granted anyway.

To be fair, they got the substitute in instead, and she’s OK. I’ve got her trained. She knows to open the front door when I ask, instead of sending me to the cat flap at the back. She lets me drink from the tap in the bathroom. And she checks that my food bowl’s kept full, without calling me fat.

What's to criticise?
A connoisseur likes his water fresh
New Year’s Eve was a wash out. A few loud noises and our dog, Janka, becomes a quivering wreck. A full firework display? She was like ‘is this Armageddon or what?’

I’m no fan of dogs. Quite honestly, once you’ve smelled one, you’ve smelled the lot. Some are too big and a tad intimidating, some are small and easily intimidated. Apart from that – well, I hate to sound racist but I just can’t tell them apart.

But our Janka’s different. Maybe not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Terrified of any sound louder than a door slamming. And so yappy! On and on. Whenever anyone turns up, even if it’s the domestics coming home. Bark, bark, bark. Tiresome. The chief domestic tries to do something about it, sometimes even spraying her with water, and she tries to get her sidekick to work on it too, but he’s hopeless. Doesn’t like the noise, but won’t make the effort.

Well, like I said, Janka was terrified on New Year’s Eve. So I went and lay down with her. Least I could do, I felt. After all she’s been around all my life, pretty much. That makes a bit of a bond, really. I owed her, I reckoned.

But, blow me down, as soon as the help got up to leave the room, Janka jumped down and went trotting after her. Completely ignoring me. As though I didn’t count for anything.

Well, I got her back. Sat on the stairs at bed time and wouldn’t let her up. She had to wait till I went mousing. Showed her who’s boss and who’s not to diss.

The domestic staff came back a couple of days ago. I was generous. Didn’t take it out of them. Didn’t show them my resentment. Came and lay on their laps as usual.

But the sidekick’s no good. I’d been lying on him barely ten when he complained about the weight. Weight? Me? With the exercise I get? He should take a look at his own waist line.

Heavy? What's heavy about this?
Anyway, he pushed me off. After nearly a week away, he does that to me?

Still, I didn’t do anything at once. I like him to know that he’s in for a punishment before I administer it. I like him to stew a while. I got him next day. He reached out to stroke me when we were both on the sofa. Got him with as neat a claw stroke as anyone might wish, if I say so myself. right across the back of his hand.

That’ll teach him. He seems pretty well untrainable but, hey, I’m not going to stop trying. After all, getting a little practice with tooth and claw? Does you good. Feels good too. And some day it might get through


Anonymous said...

Though as a rule I'm not a great fan of your cat & dog stories, this one was a little gem. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Will not greet your next one with a "oh, not another of his Misty & Janka thing!"


David Beeson said...

Delighted to hear it, San! Nothing better than to achieve a conversion, however small the issue at stake