Tuesday 29 April 2008

Hairy Potty!

Despite his little pecadillos Austin's a very convivial companion, but much to the elderly maternal relative's disgust, he does not like being picked up and cuddled. It seems to be a bit beneath his dignity to allow himself to be squidged and squashed in this way. Could also have something to do with his wonky hip, but I'm not so sure, seeing what he gets up to (and "on"). Apart from that he is a very affectionate little fellow. So when he's not attacking my ankles, he actually likes to lie on them - or better still next to them with his paws proprietorially laid across as if he's the conquering hero who's finally subjugated his foe. Of course if I try to move even a millimetre, the claws are out quicker than a politicians excuse on polling day.

And then there is the chattering! I mean I'm a woman, I like to talk, it's what we do. But he does more talking than the UN, EU and NATO put together. And he knows how to get what he wants, from the pitiful pathetic I'm-just-an-orphan-left-starving-and-injured "mew" right up to the full blown I-will-get-through-this-door "yowl" that somehow manages to have me rigid with fear and tremulous with agitation all at the same time.

He is still suffering at the paws of Ginge Secundus as we heard last night - another symphony of sound from his vocal repertoire. Consequently, for him, "going outside" in the daylight is still fraught with danger, so if he feels he absolutely must venture out he first puts in a request, in triplicate, to myself as the most loyal member of his staff, that I should accompany him on his sojourn around the exterior - well I do need the exercise, it's really for my benefit to be brutally frank. I'm a bit on the paunchy side of lissom.

So while I am struggling into my fleece and shoes, he stands at the door muttering to himself about the inadequacies of the human insulation system. I mean, surely the evolutionary process could have come up with something a bit more efficient for the individual biped human than skin without built
in lagging. It was just grist to the mill for that first entrepreneur who saw the future and it was called the "retail clothing outlet". Just think of the money you could save if you didn't have to change your clothes!! There would be no need for washing machines, or dryers or worrying about colour co-ordinating, or M&S or Primark or, heaven forfend, Vivienne Westwood! In fact the term "retail therapy" would never have been coined, and there would be a queue outside the Samaritans as long as the M6. So let's just leave it shall we and count ourselves evolved. Anyway do I really want the kind of tongue that can exfoliate? Hmmmmm! But I digress.

We set off up the garden, Austin is in front just enough so he can leap to my defense should it be necessary. After an exhausting 30 second hike into the wild and untamed landscape, I pause to get my breath and perch on the stone steps by the summerhouse. He satisfies himself that I am comfortable and not likely to come to harm and then proceeds with the onerous task of stalking, trapping and subduing the resident flora, safe in the knowledge that the fauna can be left to muggins. He looks at me from time to time to check that my attention is not wandering and if it is he effects a rear guard action by employing the strategic pouncing manoeuver. If by some fluke I should turn round and catch him "in flagrante", without missing a step he executes the perfect u-turn, so the front end is retreating while, it appears, the rear end is still advancing.

Sunday 20 April 2008

It's not cricket!

I have taken to wearing thick denim jeans and shin guards of late! He, who must be appeased, has devised a new game. It's called "screeching like a banshee and hurling fur, tooth and claw, onto the leg of innocent passing human, who's just minding her own business".

I don’t know why he does it? It's not nice. It's not cricket. It hurts. I end up looking a bit like Quasimodo dragging his hunch back and misshapen leg around the Notre Dame! He thinks it's great fun and tries again from another angle - just to even out the damage I suppose. I put it down to too much protein in his diet, or possibly it's his TV viewing habits. He's gone off Fiona Bruce. He's discovered Extreme Furballing on Sky Sports. So I have had to restrict his channel hopping activities to CBBC and CeeBees (or whatever it's called) by utilising the parental control facility. It will only last as long as it takes for him to work out that the pin number (that's personal identification number number, so why do we say it? It's tautological) is three digits from my mobile number plus one other taken at random from the telephone directory (have to be careful you know!).

Austin is most likely to indulge in this antisocial behaviour when he's come in from his nightly rampage around the neighbourhood. So I have taken precautions when opening the door. Armed with a tea towel in one hand and brandishing a plastic water bottle in the other I approach with trepidation but proclaiming loudly that if one iota of my life blood is shed during this encounter then it's back to the car engine from whence he came:-

Open door, he shoots in, I scream, he screams, I step back, he advances, I retreat into corner holding tea towel like some neophyte matador first time in the ring. He edges round me, I start whimpering. He loses interest, sticks his leg in the air and starts cleaning his fundament with contrived indifference. I'm a gibbering wreck! He's king of the castle. We move on ...... ..

By the way is there anyone else out there in cybercatland who also has a cat that won't eat unless they're chaperoned?

Thursday 17 April 2008

Some more wittering .....

I knew that as soon as the neighbours turned up with their dog that it could get interesting. It's a holiday home next door (but don't tell the locals, unless you want me to be entertaining firemen for the next few weeks. .. ! Why they (the neighbours) only come every couple of months or so is beyond me. The view here is breathtaking, well it is when it isn't white with mist, or black from the Friday night drugfest fug drifting over from the mainland. The air is pure - well except for the fug, oh and the car exhaust fumes. It is quiet and peaceful - well except for the boy racers who use the road as a practice run for Silverstone. Oh and then there's the gentle melodious cacophony of the fighter jets from RAF Valley doing flips and wheelies over the Straits! Sits down slowly, takes deep breath. Where was I? Oh yes. So when the neighbours turned up for their bi-monthly 2 day visit, I didn't mention it to Austin, I just sat back and waited!

You see he'd got used to the empty house next door, he just assumed it as part of his territory, which he'd fought hard to acquire in the first place. It was land that had been under occupation for centuries, from the time of Rameses the Egyptian Mau through Eric the Norwegian Red, right down to Big Ginge and his rebel gang of feline hoodies of the present day. The conflicts and turf wars have been bloody and sometimes prolonged. That land is of vital strategic importance for the inhabitants of Catastrofia who are involved in the much larger conflict of the War of the Eleven (now Twelve) Spitting dogs.

Austin, who in the scheme of things is David to Ginge's Goliath, had achieved a massive military coup by disguising himself as a silhouette, lulled Ginge into thinking it was his shadow, then leapt onto his fat and overindulged back and toppled him off his seat of power.

No sooner has he dealt with one foe, but he has a new enemy to contend with! What to do? Standing uninvited, on his land were two alien (and probably unsubmissive) humans and one yapping Tibetan Terrier who answers to the name of Toby! Well! I ask you! What kind of name is that? Obviously a pampered and mollycoddled pooch, used to the easy life of cordon bleu cooking and mink mufflers. They glared at each other through the slats. Austin adopted his low slung cat posture, his head very still. He crept stealthily through the undergrowth, his legs half the usual length. It would have made the SAS proud. Toby? well he has no finesse or sense of occasion. He just barked his head off and ran crying to his mummy! Round one to our side I think.

Sunday 13 April 2008

Stumbled upon .........

.... ..... Austin playing with one of these ......

… it was absolutely massive! He had it holed up in the corner of the conservatory. It was, no doubt, planning its bid for freedom. My shrieks were heard throughout Wales and the west as I wrestled the cat to the floor and shooed the infiltrator out of the door. He (the cat) took my intervention as a personal criticism of his military tactics, came back with a counter attack (on my ankle) and finally retreated behind enemy lines to lick his wounds, while I took refuge in antiseptic and a plaster!!

Anyway this is where I found him... ....

that's my bed grrrrrrr ;)
He now officially has the 'ump and has put in a call to the feline defense league, specifically to the on call social worker in order to start proceedings to get me put on the register of cat offenders.  I guess my days are numbered.

*wonders if Relate could help?*

Wednesday 9 April 2008

They grow up so quick!

Had to break up Austin and one of the Ginge gang in a fight to the death last night - for about the third time! Sounded like a scene out of Stephen King. I dunno, one minute they're all smelly poos and kitten Whiskas and the next they're strutting around like Braveheart! As soon as I opened the front door (the one at the front!) with the obligatory bucket of water, all I was confronted with was silence! Peering into the gloom I made out Austin and Big Ginge's second in command, Ginge Secundus, obviously resting after round three, but still engaging in a good deal of posturing - arched back, hackles raised etc etc. Employing a bit of lateral thinking and mindful of what happens when one chucks buckets of water over cats, I decided to take the long term view and that a UN style approach might be more desirable.

I cleared my throat "Errrrhum?" They both looked at me:

A - Wot?

Me - Well I was thinking .....

A - Yes, well could you hurry up, I'm a bit occupied here!

Me - I was wondering if we should bring in the arbitration services ..

A - What for? A load of namby pamby overpaid conchies.

Me - Well there is obviously a need for some kind of negotiated settlement so that peace and harmony can be restored and the future of catkind is secure.

A - ********!

GS - OK Austin, I've gotta go anyway. My human gets a bit freaked if I'm in much after 10. Was fab, must do it again, how are you fixed for Thursday?

A - Great. Ciao mate.

That was it. It was just a typical teenage night out! Secundus sloped off into the night and Austin strolled in, oh so slowly, and flopped, as only kids that age can do, on his bed in front the telly! My fruitless attempts to engage him in further conversation were met with grunts and scowls. Oh dear, roll on the twenties!

Footnote. Caught Austin having a convivial tête-à-tête with Big Ginge this morning. I am thinking very carefully about moving to inner city Menai Bridge where there are more clubs, societies and initiatives to keep kids occupied and off the streets at night.

Monday 7 April 2008


What is it with cats and doors? I think Austin is a bright lad on the whole - after all he was valedictorian of his basic training class (2007). He knows where his food is kept and he knows what he likes. There's no messing about with the hard stuff that breaks your canines (or is that felines?), or chunks of decomposed rabbit or the ambiguously named "poultry"! It's the chicken he's after. So much so that when I sling a couple of breasts into the oven for dinner, he's there with his knife and fork and napkin tucked in ready. But doors? I think he definitely has areas of his brain which need jump starting?

There are three doors to the outside in this house - and I will just take a moment here to give some architectural detail. In this house the downstairs is upstairs and the upstairs is downstairs and the back garden is upstairs and the front garden is downstairs. The back door is at the side, the conservatory is upstairs behind the kitchen and the front door is, surprisingly, at the front! If you stand at the end of the back garden, you can look down over the top of the house. Are you keeping up? Yesss! we live on a hill. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Doors.

Like all cats he has to check every door when it's raining - fine. He has also decided that each door serves a different purpose. So if he wants to attend to his important little private matters it's the conservatory door. If he wants to play hide and seek with the eleven dogs that live within spitting distance, he goes out the back door (which is at the side). If he wants to play in the traffic he goes out the front door (which is at the front). As he has only just come to terms with the fact that I don't do mornings and the evenings are getting lighter - and I don't do them either, he has become very, very brave. He now goes out on his own in the daylight! Yeah!

Of course this conundrum of the doors puts him bang straight on the horns of a dilemma when he's nipped out the conservatory door for a pee and crafty fag to discover that he's needed round the front for a traffic update. Does he run the gauntlet of Big Ginge and the eleven spitting dogs by creeping round the side, or worse, the wrath of his human by demanding to be let in and out a dozen times? I must admit he's always very apologetic as he slinks through the kitchen.

Note to self. Put catflap feasibility study on the agenda.

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Exotic ancestry and playing tag?

There is no doubt that my mixed race moggie has exotic siamese somewhere in his lineage. His ability to run the whole gamut of feline vocalisation from friendly chirrup to frightening yowl is earsplittingly apparent and he makes it very clear what is meant by every little nuanced sound by employing a series of facial expressions just in case I've gone deaf over night. In this way we communicate quite successfully. It is a bit one sided though as my ability to speak cat is still only at the Enid Blyton stage, but my understanding has reached way beyond even Proust. So we have this agreement, he talks and tells me all about his problems and worries and I listen and make the appropriate responses. However, if all else fails he has discovered he can gain my undivided attention by clawing me in the foot. Clever boy!

So slowly, very slowly I got to comprehend, as having let him in and out at least six times through all the doors, that he wants, no, demands, that I go with him. It is not voluntary, it is mandatory. And this is how he does it. He leaps onto the fence and puts on an oscar winning performance for the neighbours. He sits there balancing as only a cat can do on about a millimetre of available fence and glares his laser glare and mews the most pitiful, pathetic, soul wrenching meow, so that I have to go out in a state of déshabillé at some ungodly hour and play a game with him just to stop the neighbours calling the RSPCA and reporting an incident of terrible cruelty to a small defenceless animal!

We then embark on a simple game of tag where he races up and taps me on the knee and rushes off over the fence to next door and sits grinning like the proverbial in the middle of the lawn. He then starts to groom himself with total disinterest. I pretend to be furious and stomp off indoors. The whole ritual takes about 30 seconds!

Am wondering by the way how long it will be before he learns that if it is raining outside one door, it is likely to be raining outside all of them! He is always so surprised and somewhat disgruntled as he picks his way delicately through the puddles to the outside privy in the fucshia bush.