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
2. Doors
3. Short-Haired, Muscular Black Cats With Yappy Voices Who Scratch The Carpet A Lot.

to

1. Dust Busters
2. Doors
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.

Shipley:


The Bear:


N.B. That is not a black cat behind Pablo in the picture at the top; it is a cushion.

6 comments:

Quasi said...

HiTom,
Your book sounds great... I can't wait to read it! It's nice to know of another cat author... the more the better, I say!

Your Friend,
Quasi
Author, The World Is Your Litter Box

George Online Cat said...

Do all black cats look alike? I am not sure they do. We cats identify friend and foe as much by scent as looks - thus we attack companions who come back from the vet smelling wrong. Perhaps the Bear smells of the other cats - particularly if they groom each other or sleep together.
George, cat agony aunt.

dinahmow said...

I think George is right.
We have an old (17 years!) ginger neuter and 2 x 6 month old spays. Mostly, the ginger one ignores the youngsters, except at meal times when they eat together!
Yesterday, a neighbour's boisterous Labrador "gave me a cuddle" and all 3 cats took umbrage when I came home.

Karen Jo said...

I feel for poor Pablo. Maybe he just gets a startle effect when he first sees Bear.

William said...

I'm sorry to tell you, but I think Pablo may have lost his little cat mind. All black cats in the universe! (I am whistling and making a circular motion with my paw next to my head.) I think it's a ginger thing.

Quasi said...

Thanks so much for the link! My human's female is going to show us how to add links to my blog. Please don't hesitate to remind me if you don't see it up there soon and I'll put a bitey on her.