In my experience, the feelings of cats are usually ‘expressed’ from their nether regions (see what I did there?)
In years gone by, I and certain members of my family-stroke-social-circle (another pun) owned pets of the feline variety. Now, I wonder what we were all thinking. There are so many reasons to keep cats safely at scratching distance; not least, their ‘expressions’. If you are tempted by a cute, fluffy little kitty, read on before you take the plunge.
On a visit to Horace a few years ago, we could find nobody to look after Milo the dog, so we took him with us. Horace had two cats at the time They, on seeing our large, black, enthusiastic canine, left – mostly. I didn’t realise quite how much they disapproved of Milo until we were on our way home and the cat urine in my trainer began to respond to the heat of my foot by filling the car with its stink. It’s quite a weapon, cat pee.
Shoes are attractive to cats, as are small secret places such as cupboards and drawers. I recently heard of a person cat-sitting for friends, but when she arrived at their house, the cat was nowhere to be found. Days went by before she opened a drawer and discovered the poor creature – along with its ‘expressions’, trapped inside. Much de-fumigating and guilt ensued. Once Ben, one of our cats, made a very stinky deposit in my empty left boot. I couldn’t work out where the smell was coming from until I poked my head into the bottom of the wardrobe.
The act of a male cat urinating is euphemistically called ‘spraying’. They do it to mark their territories. When I lived in sheep country, an intact male would regularly enter through my cat flap. This was quite impressive because Ben would fold himself into a U shape if we tried to post him through it. He would stand outside mewing pitifully and no matter how long we left him there, he would not use the cat flap. Anyway, this tom cat was more self-assured and after beating up Ben for the privilege, would rocket in and ‘spray’ everything in sight. Because the cat flap gave access to the garage my car smelled perpetually of piss, a fact oft remarked upon by work colleagues who were recipients of lifts to social events. They would gingerly open the car door to see what pollution might be contained within. Normally there were Horace’s discarded chocolate and crumbs on the seat (chocolate is a bugger to get out of suit trousers I’m told) then there was the further worry of that stink that managed to permeate the inside of the car, even though no cat had ever gained access to its interior.
Even more years before, LH and I had friends who were very keen on cats. One drunken night, I plonked myself onto their loo, face flushed with too much wine, and tried to focus on something in the bath. On closer examination, it was revealed to be a dollop of poo carefully planted into the plug hole.
Fast forward to my Pebbleditch life: I have mentioned before the parlous state of our family sense of humour. This is also linked with an interest in words. Both Whizz and I notice phrases that remind us of double-barrelled names or sometimes, of Cotswold towns – Whizz started it; honestly. So, for example, during the hurricane that wrenched up so many beautiful old trees in Sussex in1987, the conifers at the end of my parents’ garden in Brighton were bent to the ground in an alarming way until they were practically horizontal. When I told Whizz this he observed that Horizontal-Conifers was a perfect double barrelled surname: The Sussex Horizontal-Conifers.
You may wonder where this is leading…
It’s leading to the Cotswold town called Pooping in the Plughole. Blame Whizz!
Of the following two anecdotes, the second is the best and the punchline to this post.
The first came in a WhatsApp message from my sister, Bookiful. Bookiful is a huge fan of cats. Cats are her babies.
Because she and I are busy people, we find it hard to make time to talk on the phone. Recently though, we have moved Mum into a home and are selling her house, so we had much to catch up on. We finally managed an actual conversation and were on the phone for TWO HOURS. Towards the end of this time, one of her cats was demanding her attention and eventually, she closed the call to deal with him. Shortly afterwards I received this:
But this last story, which I really hope I’m not repeating, happened when Horace and Kerching were newly cohabiting. I think it was the first time Horace had left Kerching alone to look after the cats.
He got home from work. In the living room, a picture of himself in cap and gown had been proudly standing on a shelf. Today though, it was on the floor. He took a photo of it and sent it to Horace, who, with her girlfriends, was already up to her eyes in bubbles of the Prosecco variety. His message read, ‘I don’t think the cats like me.’
Horace and her friends laughed for an hour…