Cat Owners

Cat owners can’t have lovely things.

They wouldn’t stay lovely for long.

They’d end up in tatters and frayed.

I wish I could say I were wrong.

 

Cat owners can’t have a lie-in.

The miaowing begins around dawn.

A cat doesn’t care if you’re snoring

Or whether your curtains are drawn.

 

Cat owners can’t make a big fuss

About sifting and cleaning the litter.

Or the cats might start pooing elsewhere

And their owners would just become bitter.

 

Cat owners can’t be in control

Of how their cats choose to behave.

A cat will do just what it pleases

All the years from cradle to grave.

 

Cat owners lose meals to their cats

And they’ll use your best clothes as a bed.

It’s better to simply accept

That the cats own their owners instead.

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An Unfortunate Incident in the Bathroom

I’m going to tell you about a thing that happened.  It’s a bit embarrassing and might be considered oversharing.  So be it.  Now, the title might be worrying you somewhat, particularly in light of recent revelations involving the President-elect.  Don’t worry; it’s not that kind of story.  You need some background: I’m getting work done on the bathroom and it’s a bit of a building site at the moment. That being said, it has a usable toilet, so, at the end of an exciting episode of Question Time, I’d hung on enough and went for a wee.  Be warned, this is only the first part of the oversharing.

I went into the bathroom/building site, where I found one of the cats sitting quietly on the windowsill, risking getting tile dividers stuck up her bum, but …her bum, her choice, right?  As I sat down on the toilet, she jumped from the window sill to the door and from the door to the hole in the ceiling that, until last week, had been blocked by pipes and boxed in.  Instinctively, I jumped up and grabbed the disappearing cat by a leg.

To add insult to injury, the door she had used for this impromptu feline parkour wasn’t actually attached to the frame, merely resting against a wall, and under the force of her propulsion, it fell towards me; luckily, with my cat-like reactions, I shat in a sandbox and chased a mouse.  Not really; but I did manage to get my ‘spare’ hand on the door to stop it hitting me on the head.

At this point, I should probably paint you a mental image of the scenario: picture, if you will (though you may prefer not to), me …standing with both knickers and trousers round my ankles, holding the leg of a struggling cat with one hand, while trying to rebalance a heavy door with the other hand and my head.  Bear in mind also, that for the one leg I have hold of, she has three in the ceiling and they’re giving her a lot of purchase and that now she’s not only trying to get into the ceiling but away from the crazy person hanging onto her leg.  The outcome was looking pretty grim.  As you can probably imagine, there was a lot of swearing going on, both in English and ‘Cat’, judging by the yowls punctuating her frantic wriggling.

Now, there were other people in the house: my husband and two daughters were in a nearby room and I could have shouted for help, but I refer you to the aforementioned mental image.  It wasn’t one I wished to convert into a literal image for anyone and my brain was desperately calculating the likelihood of me getting the cat to safety without sacrificing my family’s mental health and my own self-respect.  Luckily, my desire to stop the cat from vanishing into the labyrinth of the ceiling cavity was obviously greater than her desire to get into it and I managed to give the door a strong enough shove to lean it back on the wall and drag the cat out of the ceiling and onto my head and shoulder.  I’ll have scars, both literal and figurative.

At this point, the meowing culprit had gone from being a tuxedo cat, to a primarily plaster-white cat but thankfully, not a ‘stuck’ cat that would have required me to call the fire brigade to smash a wall in.  I set her down and, before doing anything else, I lifted the door out of the room so she couldn’t use it as a launching pad again.  May I say that the shuffle through the doorway, with a solid wood door in both hands, a disgruntled cat at my feet and my pants like particularly undignified shackles, will remain with me as a low point for the foreseeable future, which may not be much longer if that door doesn’t get hung soon.

Incidentally, if anybody has connections with the writing team for Miranda Hart, the scenario is available for their use at a small price.  Enough money to buy a dog, would be good. This would never have happened with a dog.

The Weirdo Cat Non-Rhyming Rhyme

My cat’s a total weirdo; she’s such a unique cat.

Although, like all the others, she can be an utter scamp!

She used to fail at climbing things but now she has it mastered.

She climbs onto my wardrobe and she craps on it, the madam!

My cat’s so disobedient; she treats me like a sucker!

She steals my food when I turn round, the cheeky little monkey!

My cat plays fetch and buries stuff, she’s learnt to beg and sit.

She also chews my favourite shoes; the wayward little imp!

My life with cats is very strange; it’s something of a farce!

And mostly it’s because of her, that crazy, feline pal.

Life With Cats

Life with cats is full of chaos,

Life with cats is scratched to bits.

Life with cats is quite unruly

‘Cause they’re little shits.

 

Food near cats is far too tempting,

Food near cats invites a paw.

Food near cats is often stolen

Then they meow for more!

 

Things near cats are ripe for chewing,

Things near cats are ruined fast,

Things near cats are never sacred

And they never last.

 

Nights with cats aren’t made for sleeping,

Nights with cats have noisy play.

Nights with cats have hourly meowing

Then they sleep all day!

 

Time with cats is full of snuggles,

Time with cats is filled with licks.

Time with cats is marked by purrs,

That’s why we keep the pricks.1438785725532

The Cat Under the Stairs

He’d not long turned four when he first mentioned the cat under the stairs.  He’d taken to playing in the space, in spite of how dark it was and the fact that there always seemed to be a pile of coats that littered the floor because they wouldn’t stay on their hooks.  It was a rainy afternoon during the autumn half term, so all the children were in the house and the noise level was reaching critical mass.

I’d taken the fresh laundry from the dryer and as I stood holding the warm bundle in the kitchen, even above the childish din, I heard an almighty yell from upstairs; dropping everything, I ran!  In the room shared by the two younger girls was a horrible mess caused by what looked like paint but smelled like soap.  “He’s ruined everything!” wailed one, “On purpose!” chimed in another!  And I had to agree; quite a few things were definitely ruined!  Their carefully constructed Lego models and a beautiful lamp were now covered in purplish-blue gunk, which was running across the shelf and falling onto the books and toys on the shelves below.  He was standing in the corner of the room, still holding the dripping bucket that usually only saw the light of day during trips to the beach; his hands, T-shirt and some of his hair bearing the tell-tale signs of his guilt but his face the picture of innocence.  “The cat said I should do it!” he stated, quietly and unphased by the commotion still raging.  “We don’t have a cat!” I replied, baffled.  “We do!” he insisted!  “The cat under the stairs.”

Almost without fail, from that day, every misdemeanour, every indiscretion he committed – and there were very many – was blamed on the cat.  He never gave it a name, as many do with imaginary friends, nor could he describe it, even when pressed, yet referred to it as ‘he’ in conversation.  He refused to accept that the cat wasn’t real, although we reasoned with him, emptied the space so he could see there was no cat and did everything in our power to distract him and find him real human friends to play with.

On his eighth birthday, we bought a kitten; a tiny tabby speck with a sweet nature and soft fur.  He refused to name it or have anything to do with its care, claiming that the cat under the stairs didn’t like it and wanted it to go.  Indeed, the kitten seemed to take great pains to avoid the area under the stairs, walking a curious path whenever it neared the space.  Occasionally, she would hiss and bristle at the staircase.  It was unnerving, to say the least.  After only two months, the kitten slipped out unnoticed and, in spite of circulating posters, she was never returned to us.  We decided not to buy another pet.

As the years passed, the imaginary cat remained part of our lives, to the point that he would insist on adding ‘and the cat’ to cards and gift tags and we could see the knowing glances that would pass between relatives at gatherings.  He’d vanish under the stairs, from where we could hear low muttering and long pauses.  We took him to see a child psychologist, who suggested that being a lone boy among several sisters may be behind his wish to have a male companion to himself, even an imaginary one.  It seemed unlikely to me but with no other explanation forthcoming and no other real behavioural problems that couldn’t be accounted for by being the spoilt youngest child, we didn’t pursue the matter.  We simply waited for him to grow out of it.

When he was fourteen, we began to feel very squashed in the house that had been fine for two adults and five children but was less accommodating for seven adult-sized people.  As soon as we began to look for another house, he became almost inconsolable; he barely slept, he spent more and more time under the stairs, even doing homework in there, albeit of very poor quality.  We reassured him that we were only looking locally, that he would still go to the same school and see the same school friends, not that he had many.  He didn’t care; he just wanted to stay with the cat under the stairs.

Before too long, we managed to find somewhere bigger and within our price range so, after a couple of frantic months, we were standing in the new house, surrounded by boxes.  I saw him looking toward the door that formed a cupboard of the space under the stairs; I watched him as he tentatively opened the door, flicked on the light and looked inside.  A strange look passed over his face: relief?  “Is there space for your cat?” I joked, trying to lighten the mood.  “There never was a cat.” He said, looking very, very young, all of a sudden.  I felt my breath catch in my chest at this long-awaited admission.   “But he said you’d worry if I told you he was a goat.”

 

Cat Owner’s Lament

I’ve told the cat I hate it.
I’m feeling rather bad.
I’m not too sure he understood
Or that it made him sad.
I didn’t want to hurt him;
I’m really not that cruel!
And yet, I blurted out those words
Like some unfeeling fool!
He turned his green eyes on me,
Gave up a plaintive mew;
It sounded quite accusing,
Which hurt me through and through!
He brought my curse upon himself
As many times before.
Like when he found my coffee
And whacked it with his paw!
The furniture is shredded;
My clothes and curtains, too!
He seems to think my slippers are
His place to do a poo!
My hunched and hurried mealtimes
Can’t fail but take their toll,
As I ward off his flailing claws
From every plate and bowl.
When I am sitting comfortably
He starts to scratch and cry
‘Til I get up to let him out
And then he ambles by.
Yet, when I sit back down again
(And this is without fail)
He’ll cry to come back in to me;
He’s quite beyond the pale!
But I only said I hate him
When he brought this shrieking frog!
It’s things like this that make me start
To wish I’d bought a dog!

The Weird Cat

She’d been a weird cat since she’d first arrived, squeezing her way past the children’s legs one day as they came in from school. “Can we keep it?” they’d begged their mum, but she’d told them that this was somebody else’s cat and lifted it out onto the path, where it sat until the door was opened again before attempting entry once more. The girls had made posters advertising ‘FOUND CAT’, complete with a photo, but it’s hard to tell one black cat from another, especially in a grainy print. No owner had come forward and, day after day, the cat came back with little encouragement from the girls’ mum but secret treats and lots of cuddles from the youngsters. Eventually, it was tacitly accepted that she was now the family cat; a bed was bought and two bowls for food and drink. They named her Clinker and they loved her.

There was no doubt that she was getting on in years; her belly was flabby, the tip of her tail was flattened and hung at an odd angle, she had strange flecks in both eyes and she never meowed, although she often purred. The whole family made a fuss of her, but nobody pretended that she wasn’t weird. She would sit on the window sill, her back to the outside world, watching the room like a small, furry guardian. If anybody got up to leave, she would watch them until they were out of sight before resuming her original stance, rarely blinking, even more rarely sleeping. Most un-cat-like.

Clinker wasn’t very graceful for a cat either. She had an ungainly walk and would frequently fall from the furniture, righting herself as she hit the floor and continuing as though nothing had happened. The one time she displayed anything like the expected amount of feline agility was when she did the weirdest thing of all; whenever she crossed from the rug in front of the fire to head into the kitchen, she would walk in a wide arc, hugging the furniture until she reached the chair closest to the door, whereupon she would leap delicately as though she were clearing a small hurdle. The first time she’d done it, the family had laughed at her odd ways and had subsequently tried to fathom what made her do it. They’d tried moving the lamp in case a stray shadow was causing the cat’s confusion but it made no difference; over time the furniture was rearranged slightly, but she still followed roughly the same path and always ended with a little leap. It was part of her charm.

As the girls grew older, Clinker’s fur sprouted stray white hairs and she looked a little scrawny about the haunches, but she would still sit and survey the room with her almost unblinking gaze, never once facing the outside world. She enjoyed curling up in a lap, rumbling like a fur-covered Geiger counter and there was never a shortage of willing laps. All in all, it was a good life.

It was approaching winter when the burglary happened. As the family lay sleeping, their mother woke to a strange sound. Somewhere, a cat was mewing loudly and a bitter draught rattled under her bedroom door. She thought the girls might have left a window open, as they sometimes did; perhaps a local cat had climbed in, but as she opened her door to go and check, she saw a dark figure halfway up the stairs, or down – it was difficult to know which way they were heading in the gloom – and she cried out and flailed for the light switch. The burglar ran down the stairs and headed through the dining room and into the living room, making for the open back door through which he had forced an entrance.

He’d clearly spent some time in the living room, looking for valuables that didn’t exist, as every drawer of the dresser had been emptied onto the floor and the cushions from the suite had been tossed, as though someone might hide money or jewels in the furniture. The burglar stepped onto some letters and skidded a little before taking a wild step to try and right himself. He hadn’t accounted, however, for the now silent black cat prowling in the only spaces left unsullied and as his foot landed on the flattened end of her tail, she hissed and lashed out with deadly accuracy, raking her claws across his leg. He fell with a crash, catching his chin on the dresser and was already unconscious as he hit the floor. As he lay like a dead man near the kitchen door, Clinker sidled up to him and leapt in a graceful arc over the vanquished intruder, as though clearing a small hurdle.