Thursday, 27 March 2008
Seen One Black Cat, Seen Them All...
This has been an unusually long winter, and I can tell my cats are feeling it even more than I am. Baffled by why, four weeks after they gamboled around me while I mowed the lawn in a t-shirt, they are now stymied from outdoor pursuits by snow, hail and Arctic winds, they've been taking their frustration out on each other indoors.
The biggest victim of this (mostly) harmless tomfoolery is usually Pablo. Ralph and Shipley have never been huge supporters of their feral step-brother's naive anecdotes and reductive life philosophy, but Shipley is currently making Pablo's existence unusually difficult, jumping out on him from behind a variety of chairs, plant pots and cardboard boxes. In an attempt to keep Shipley at bay, Pablo has even developed a new war cry: a primal terror squawk straight out of one of Suffolk's deepest rain forests. This noise actually has nothing to do with war at all on his part (he's a rubber, not a fighter) but at least alerts me to Shipley's advances and gives me chance to banish the more confident (i.e. spoilt and obnoxious) cat to the garden for a three and a half minutes, until I feel guilty and let him back in and start massaging his scruff and telling him that I love him really.
Pablo generally gets on peaceably with the his step-siblings - including Ralph, so long as Pablo doesn't nick his seat, or the pair of them don't round a corner and come suddenly face to face - but there has been another innocent victim in all the recent maelstrom and that is The Bear. I am sure The Bear has never voluntarily attacked anybody, yet Pablo has recently become unnaturally afraid of him. This morning Pablo even let out his war cry when he bounded up the stairs at the sound of me opening the food drawer and was confronted with The Bear casually cleaning himself. The Bear's response to this was to lift a paw in slow-motion and offer a kind of "Eh?" expression. Shipley and The Bear don't look all that alike, so the only conclusion I can draw is that, hounded by Shipley (who, come to think of it, is very houndlike in many ways), Pablo has now modified his Scary Things I Must Avoid list from
1. Dust Busters
3. Short-Haired, Muscular Black Cats With Yappy Voices Who Scratch The Carpet A Lot.
1. Dust Busters
3. Every Short-Haired Black Cat In The Universe.
Pablo has come a long way since spring, 2005, when we picked him up from the local rescue centre, but his development has been physical and emotional, rather than intellectual. One only has to look at the picture above (circa summer 2005) or the cover of the book in the post below to realise that he is no feline Phd candidate. But is Pablo really so stupid that he believes Shipley and The Bear are the same cat? And does this make him the feline equivalent of a racist? Or is the battle between gingers and their darker-furred contemporaries an ideological one that stretches further and wider and longer than the mere confines of my house? This would suggest so.
Still, you've got to feel for the black cats in their historical plight. How many gingers do you hear of getting dismissed with witchy stereotyping, or being written off and consigned to a life of fading hope at the back of the rescue centre holding pens? Orange may be a colour that makes Shipley see red, but it has never been the colour of feline hardship.
N.B. That is not a black cat behind Pablo in the picture at the top; it is a cushion.