Previously I alluded to the fact that we've been introducing Austin slowly to “outside”. His first attempt ended abruptly when a big scary blackbird made specist threats. The second time he was obviously feeling rather more brave as I had to intervene to save a huge ginger tom (who still had all his bits!) from furry annihilation. Austin was impossible after that, strutting around the place like he owned it (well he does!), but then he decided that for the time being "outside" was not really his cup of tea!
Then, all of a sudden he decided he must perform his ablutions and have his private moments al fresco! Perhaps he's got fed up with listening to me huffing and puffing as I cleaned out the litter tray every day. I must say he is a bit overly fastidious regarding his personal habits - and that's fine by me. Anyway now he ventures outside in the morning (for about 5 minutes) and evening (after dark), but only after checking the area for huge ginger toms and other gangs of marauding hordes. He won't touch the litter tray now as he considers it's for kids and the incontinent. So even if it's been 10 hours and his legs are crossed and it's raining up a storm outside, he minces off into the fuchsia where relief ensues.
He might be a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to Big Ginge and his gang, but obviously this fear does not extend to heights. Wonky hip not withstanding, he can certainly get around. The other evening the security light came on outside. I casually glanced out of the window to see him prancing along the ridge of the neighbour’s roof! I made the mistake of calling him, and there followed a cartoon moment as he looked up, made as if to come to me and slipped. The ensuing claw on tile scrabbling sound gave me a moment of extreme emotion as his life flashed before my eyes. I made a tactical withdrawal and when he eventually returned I told him he would have his disability benefits stopped if the department of works and pensions ever found out.