Well, to say I was flummoxed is putting it mildly! I let him in and stomp upstairs to the conservatory in an extreme state of dishabille. (Yes the conservatory is upstairs, ok! I’m not in my dotage yet – well I am, but people are being very nice about it. There’s a description of the house geography somewhere in this blog, but can’t be faffed to go and look). With Austin hot on my heals I throw open the door and there he is, Tigger the young whippersnapper, laid out on the sofa looking every inch as if he was a direct descendent of Mafdet, the chief Egyptian feline deity, born to rule and now that close to being mummified if I could just remember where I’d put my embalming fluid. At this point Austin obviously felt the need to reassert his territorial authority and I felt the need to be embarrassed and cross, so there was a moment or two of confusion and mayhem as we all danced around huffing and puffing. Eventually Tigger was despatched (not without some difficulty), Austin regained control of his catdom, and I (after a cuppa and a sit down) recovered a semblance of composure.
There is also no doubt, as I’ve mentioned before, that Austin and Tigger are best buddies. They seek each other’s company. They do the buddy thing of huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ together. They have also managed somehow to see off the Ginge gang! At least now when one of the gang passes through the garden, Austin and/or Tigger either ignores them or chases them off with gleeful growls.
We still haven’t determined whether Tigger has adopted us as sole beneficiaries of his benign presence. He spends a few days with us sleeping in the conservatory and eating Austin’s food – which he doesn’t seem to mind, funnily enough. Maybe it's because he’s very picky and Tigger isn’t, so we can count on him to eat up the rubbish while Austin benefits from the titbits of fresh chicken leftover from last nights dinner. Sometimes Tigger is so ravenous he scoffs the food as if he’s not eaten for a week! But this could possibly be because he has an eating disorder, as he’s now huge and seems twice as heavy as Austin – anyway I digress. Oh yeah, he’s around for a few days and then he’s gone without a by-your-leave leaving a bemused Austin staring forlornly out the window. He don’t write, he don’t ring, he don’t even text! Typical bloke. Now Austin, who’s had all that removed down at the vets and has become a bit girly to tell you the truth, can’t understand the fickleness of these butch types, but is willing to persevere with his loyal friendship until such time as this laddish behaviour invites too much interest from the fuzz!
I couldn’t understand why it was that when it gets dark Austin would not go outside through the conservatory door? He’d do his customary urgent “me out” sound, but when I go to the door and open it, he suddenly freaks and changes his mind and scoots off to lie full length in the kitchen doorway where I subsequently tread on him whilst endeavouring to perfect my multitasking skills by drinking a mug of red bush and carrying on a conversation on the phone to India about my pitiful broadband connection and therefore will not be taking up their kind offer to “upgrade my package”. I mean what is the point of paying £4.99 a month more for the same terrible service? And anyway I don’t speak Gujarati. Duh!
Austin limps off down the stairs and when I follow some time later he’s sitting staring at the back door (which is at the side) with an intense look on his face and his back legs crossed. It dawns on me that “me out” has become “I-really-must-be-out” NOW! Having opened the door and almost feeling his relief as he shot off into the hebe bush, I start to reflect upon a few of life’s imponderables such as “what is wrong with the conservatory door that it freaks him out after dark?” Perhaps it’s Ginge related ghoulies and ghosties?
Then a few nights later I happened to glance out the conservatory door myself only to be absolutely terrified by the sight of a wild eyed, witchlike, maniacal, shambling wreck of a humanoid staring in at me. It was then I realised Austin had been frightened by his own reflection.