Thursday, 23 April 2009

Slinky Cat Is Using Ur Stairs

A Sign That Might Have Come In Useful During Pablo and Janet's Childhoods

My mum took this photo in a village in Oxfordshire. It's sweet and everything, but I have to admit that my initial reaction was, "What about the poor cats?!!" and to wonder if the village had a kind of Logan's Run attitude to feline life: youth is sacred, but once you've reached full maturity, who cares if you're run over, since you're worthless anyway? Or maybe I'm reading a little too much into it....

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Do Not Try This At Home

Britain's First Vegetarian Cat

This story about Dante, who lives just up the road from me, provides more evidence that Shipley's tomato soup fetish and The Bear's broccoli habit are not so odd after all. Hard to read this and stop myself fantasising about the day when all cat food is made out of cauliflower and carrots and I no longer have bits of mechanically recovered meat stuck to my kitchen floor.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Ills, Pills And Bellyaches

The other day, a man came round to my house to give me a quote for some garden work: the kind of heavy duty stuff that I like to kid myself I'll get around to, either side of some lawn mowing, but invariably eventually realise I'll make just about any excuse not to do (is anyone else addicted to those top fives on Facebook?). James was one of those taciturn-yet-friendly Norfolk men in late middle-age who almost invariably own a dog, so was somewhat perturbed to find a small, demanding grey she-cat repeated hurling herself in front of his feet as he walked up the steep slope of my lawn. I like to think I could see the mental battle behind his eyes between his two selves: "Go on! Stroke her! You know you want to!" "No. Don't be so preposterous! You are a man in his sixties from Norfolk with a German Shepherd and an extensive collection of trowels! Think what this would do to your image!".

As James slowly and carefully studied a rotten reclaimed timber path and Bootsy followed him round like one of the hopeful stars of a Cats With Low Self-Esteem video, I strolled around the garden, picking up litter, some of it dating from as far back as 1981. This is a normal daily activity for me, but probably seems strange to those who don't own a brain-damaged moggy with a cellophane fetish. I've written before about Janet's habit of fishing ancient crisp, bread and sweet wrappers out of the lake at the bottom of my garden and since then little has changed. Sometimes, the litter will get no further than the lawn. Other times, I'll show some guests into my house to find a fluffy black animal spread out on the floor, mewling mournfully at an empty Golden Virginia packet.

Perhaps most worrying of all was the moment four or five weeks ago when I arrived upstairs in the morning (my house is upside down, largely because I'm awkward like that) to empty the dishwasher, and almost stepped on a used condom of what appeared to be impressive vintage. Closer inspection, carried out with the aid of some rubber gloves and a facemask, revealed it to actually be a more innocent item: a wet, tubular bit of plastic of indeterminate heritage. However, I couldn't help viewing it as a warning sign. After all, combine the fact that Janet doesn't seem hugely discerning about what he brings into the house and the mating calls I hear on a Friday night from the park across the other side of the lake, and it is fair to say that it's not impossible that one day the worst could happen: I might step bleary-eyed past the catflap, feel an unpleasant squelchy sensation, and realise that, through no real fault of my own, I have a prophylactic attached to my big toe.

One pattern I can discern in Janet's wombling is that, the greener, soggier and more anonymous the litter, the more it seems to appeal to him. This probably explains how he got struck down with blue-green algae poisoning the week before last. At least, I think it was algae poisoning. The algae in the lake has been doing terrible things to the town's goose and duck population recently, and, though I have no evidence that the stuff can also damage a cat's insides, the vet nor I could not come up with any other reason why a feline waste disposal system such as Janet went four and a half days without eating a morsel of food. By the end of this period, he looked less like a cat and more like something you might recycle and use to buff the outside of your car to a high sheen. Only a ravenous, last minute, tuna-based rally (his, not mine) allowed me to depart on a long-looked-forward-to mini break in Devon.

He's far better now, but he's also recently been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, so it's been a tough couple of months for him, not to mention for my bank account. This week, I've wondered if, the next time I visit the vet, it might not be practical to pack not only my cat, but a toothbrush and pair of pyjama bottoms. The last visit involved a second blood test, and an upping of Janet's pill dosage, which has left him wandering around with a neck that could pass for a trendy experimental feline facial hair experiment - as you can see above, he does still like it scratched, though I now have to pick my moment - and me trying to cleverly insert his pills into the middle of his Felix Salmon pouch meals. Overlooking a couple of encounters with insalubrious indie rock musicians fallen on hard times, the last time I washed my hands this frequently my primary source of income came from sitting in a factory and gluing things.

My pill-secreted-in-meaty-gunk tactic works sometimes. On other occasions, Janet spits it out, and I begin to think fondly of the pea shooter that my old neighbour, Bob, deployed to insert similar medication into his recalcitrant siamese, Boris.

Actually, i've just had a brainwave: maybe next time I'll just put the pill inside an old, empty Hula Hoop packet.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Is It Just Me Or Do French Pylons Look Like Cats?

Guest Cat Of The Month For April: Mr Love

Mr Love

The Monsieur. Senor Amour. Love Bucket.



Please can I have some more?

Favourite habit?
Watching the hummingbirds and making kill noises. sleeping on the blue chair

What constitutes a perfect evening for you?
Ordering in - some sashimi involving crab, shrimp and cucumber, followed by hummingbird watch followed by purring on velvet and falling asleep to either Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin or Close To You by The Carpenters.

Favourite food?
For breakfast a croissant heftily buttered followed by Fancy Feast. Lunch Alaskan smoked salmon or shrimp, broccoli, cucumber, asparagus lightly steamed with a bit of butter. Snacks parma ham, cheese crackers.

Defining moment of your life?
I was out playing in the garden chasing a bird or perhaps it was a squirrel. My mind became blank in one cat-astrophic moment. My world became panoramic and small. I wanted to move but I couldn't. I heard screams and I heard my owner saying, "Was he hit by a car, has he had a stroke. What's wrong with him?" They took me to hospital, shaved my fur. They discussed terrible things, but I looked up and said no, I will survive, but I could only say it with my eyes, I'd lost my meow. For a month I was fed through a tube. Terrible for a gourmand like me. I learnt to walk again, but with a limp. I lost a lot of weight and I was no longer the largest cat in California, but the vet said I am the tallest cat in Los Angeles and campaigner for disabled cat rights.

Any enemies?
My sister Hollywood, I hate her. I made her chew fur from her thighs and hide in a cupboard and now she lives in Boston. Le midget - can't even talk about it and really don't like that squashed faced looking thing that lives five houses down.

If you could do one thing to make the world a better place for felines, what would it be?
Special cat dining areas in restaurants. World ban on hoover, hairdryer and cat carrier and car.

If you could meet a celebrity who would it be and why?
I have met many celebrities including Renee Zellweger when I was a kitten. She came with a big dog. She chose my sister because I hid. I didn't like the dog or Texas accents. I love Paul McKenna. I have had personal therapy from him where he tries to stop me from screaming like an African woman when I am put into my carrying cage. Meeting him had a lovely soporific effect. I like men. Big macho men who do their own stunts. I think I would get on very well with Jason Statham and Piers Brosnan. Both look good in a tuxedo like me. I also have a soft spot for Andrew Lloyd Webber because he speaks cat.

Which one of the cats in Under The Paw would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
The Bear, because he like me is triumph over tragedy. I think I would have an understanding

I was born in West Hollywood, California on a round bed with mirrors and velvet that once lived on a film set. My mother Slut was a young mother and didn't realise she was meant to open my birth sack. She didn't. My godmother Alison Hay had to birth me. I've always liked her for that. I had three sisters and one brother. One by one they left leaving just me and my mother. We lived in a big house with a big garden and then I had my accident, so I don't go out much now. We moved to a smaller house in West Hollywood where there are hummingbirds in the garden. I am writing my autobiography - To Kill A Hummingbird. More an instruction manual than a memoir.