If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Friday, 28 May 2010

Cats, eh?

I have always been a dog person, and never got on well with cats. Too self-contained, can't train them to do anything, selfish, vicious, waste of space. My feelings were summarised by the old saying: "Dogs have owners; cats have staff".

Until I met Smokey. Smokey was a stray who 'adopted' a colleague of mine and moved into her flat. Sadly the colleague couldn't keep her and offered her to me. She knew that both our cats (inherited with Anna and a Springer Spaniel as part of a buy-one-get-three-free deal) had died last year, and she thought I would appreciate the offer. I was dubious - not all that keen on cats, but we do need something to keep the mouse population under control - but as soon as Anna saw a photo we were commited. She moved in with us last year.

She was about 6 months old when we got her, thin and frightened. She liked to go into hiding, and the bed was the favourite place:



She was also pregnant with six kittens, as we found when we took her to the vets for all the usual cat stuff. We had her spayed, and that was the end of that. She took a while to settle in, but soon she was stretching out in front of the stove with the dog and bringing several mice a day for our inspection - usually dead ones, but not always.

She's turning out to be a bit of a hooligan. There are several cats in the area (a big ginger tom, and a fat white monstrosity that would not be out of place on Blofeld's lap, eating goldfish), and they have a reputation for beating up any cat that strays onto their patch. We didn't let Smokey out of the house for ages, for fear that she would be ripped apart by the gang. It's a nice, quiet area for humans, but in the cat world it's the equivalent of a sink estate. We needn't have worried - she can take care of herself very well. There's the sound of a cat-fight outside, with screams like someone is being murdered, and then Smokey slips in through the window, hackles up but otherwise unconcerned, shrugs her shoulders, flicks her hair back, and grabs a snack before tormenting the dog. She's a character, and I have fallen for her totally.

All of which was brought to mind by this article, seen at Wrinkled Weasel's place.

Kitten survives washing machine cycle

A Persian kitten gave her owners the shock of their lives when she emerged from the washing machine, dizzy and bedraggled after surviving a full cycle.

Brendon Rogers, from Manly Vale, Sydney, said four-month-old Kimba, a white, fluffy kitten, must have climbed into the front-loader machine when the door was open and curled up on the dirty clothes - unbeknownst to his father Lyndsay who turned the machine on for a cold wash.

They were both amazed when the cycle - including a high level spin - finished and they opened the door to pull out the clothes to find Kimba in the machine.

The cat was not well, understandably, but survived.

Smokey would have punched a hole in the washing machine door, climbed out, and gone looking for whichever damnfool human had pushed the button without checking with her first.

8 comments:

  1. I was of course, having a little joke. It just shows how careful you have to be. I managed to lock a chicken in a shed overnight. They love to hide. We have a next door cat who wants to be my friend. I have so far resisted, which is all you can really do.

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  2. Your 'little joke' was appreciated, especially as Smokey has taken to ripping up any important piece of paper that I have lying around and eating just enough to make it impossible to resurrect the original message. Apparently I have to call someone on 01 3 57 54 1 on a very urgent matter. I also now possess a P 5 form from my previous employer.

    Bastards is right. But charming bastards, nonetheless.

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  3. WW is a tease, isn't he? My cat has perfected the look which she gives to my Other Half when he is sitting on her favourite spot on the sofa. It requires him to move, he can't stand more than a minute of being stared it in a determined way. I really must work harder on my Determined Look...

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  4. Smokey doesn't have That Look - she's a bit too aloof for communicating with mere humans. As for her favourite spot, well, she won't find me in the utility room sitting on the boiler :)

    Her best trick is the Wall Of Death - three high-speed circuits of the living room without touching the floor. She does it every morning after breakfast. I'd pay good money to know why.

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  5. Richard
    While mine doesn't do the wall of death, she does do a race round the house at least once a day - it has to do with bodily functions, need I say more? If it was particularly satisfying, she races round the house twice...

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  6. Aha. And aha again.

    Smokey learned to 'go' outside as soon as we started letting her out of the house, but often she will come back in specifically to use the tray that is still there. I understood this to be sheer unco-operativeness on her part, but in fact she does her zooming around at the same sort of time.

    Perhaps she is just jet-propelled.

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  7. endemoniada_8829 May 2010 at 02:03

    Cats are just excellent, in so many ways. Never understood how people couldn't appreciate them - but, there again, I've been around them all my life (not in a Jungle Book kind of way, obviously). We have four at the moment, which is just about right, although it does limit the places where I'm allowed to sit...

    Lots of cats do the post-poo running-around thing, never completely explained. One school of thought is that, having created a very olfactory territorial mark, it's all about then checking the territory to see if everyone's well aware who the top cat is. Personally, I suspect that, given the sensitivity of the average cat's nose and the rankness of the average cat shit, it's an attempt to get as far away from the bad smell as quickly as possible.

    A slight non sequitur - but one of my more favourite Mark Twain quotes (for he had lots to say about cats): "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."

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  8. Thank you for the insight. I suspect the second of your explanations (referencing the rankness of said faecal product) is the right one.

    She shits, she zooms. I would.

    As always, Mark Twain is very good value.

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