Thursday 30 July 2009

10 Things My Cats Have Disdained Recently

1. Mismatched dustpan and brush neglectfully and quite frankly hurtfully left, "like some kind of sh***ing hint", near notorious cat dust collection spot behind back door.
2. Mint (or at least it was mint) original radio play promo copy of 'Naked And Warm', the seventh album by Bill Withers (1976, Columbia).
3. All laptops but particularly those with their big nasty plastic mouths open.
4. Use of the phrase "See what I did there?" in stand-up comedy routines or casual banter.
5. The formerly cherished, now catnipless giant catnip mouse in the above photograph.
6. Stringy gribbly bits at the bottom of a bowl of Felix As Good As It Looks - aka As Bad As It Smells - cat food (second fortnight running).
7. The resemblance of Silica tablets to Vidalta hyperthyroid pills.
8. My dad's use of the phrase "DO YOU MIND IF I INTERRUPT?" seventeen times in one afternoon, during his recent visit.
9. The decision of the massively underrated 1970s power pop band Artful Dodger to film this masterful song in 1980, as a promo, four years after it originally came out, in a last ditch attempt for the commercial success their New Wave take on Stonesy rock surely deserved.
10. Human hygiene products. Particularly those that write wacky things on their labels, in an attempt to "be your friend".

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Cat Rides Bus

Someone recently sent me a photograph of a cat riding a bus, via my Twitter page. To be honest, I couldn't see any real evidence that it was a bus, and not, say, just a really roomy camper van with a unusually inoffensive colour scheme, so I was a bit sceptical, but this story about Casper, a Devon cat who is known to frequently ride his local bus, suggests such scepticism was misplaced. Casper's owner, Susan, describes him as a "free spirit", which leads me to believe that her experience of cats is not hugely extensive. I would argue that any animal who expresses his "freedom" by queuing up for the Number 3 from Plymouth is, if anything, a commuter drone in disguise, dissatisfied with his natural, liberated feline lifestyle and keen to join the straitlaced human rat race. A cat with a true unshackled hippie outlook would have learned to hitchhike instead. In fact, I am sure, judging by the rate that these eyewitness news reports of cat evolution are flooding in, that a feline is learning to do exactly that right now, and I will be posting a news story about it here in around a week's time.

Dog On A Swing (Do Not Try At Home With Felines)

Wednesday 22 July 2009

I Am Genuinely Scared By This

World's Happiest Cat?

Obviously, this is completely beatific, but, when you really think about it, you have to conclude that this deer has some kind of psychological problem. Nonetheless: heartwarming to see a nature park whose aim is to "rescue rehabilitate and return" tabby cats "to their natural habitat"...

Henry The Sock Thief

Yesterday, I did some gardening and found the latest "presents" from Janet: a mini gems packet, a soggy Somerfield bag and a Rizlas packet. I moan about it, but I'm actually quite proud of his weirdness. That said, I think, given the choice, for the novelty value, I'd probably prefer a cat who had a habit of collecting socks instead.

Thursday 16 July 2009

Maru: His Biggest Challenge Yet?

Hall And Oates vs Keyboard Cat

Just the other day, I I blogged about my cats' disapproval of my enjoyment of my current favourite Hall And Oates track, 'You Make My Dreams'. Spookily - if anything involving Hall and Oates can ever really be spooky - I subsequently discover this collaboration, which proves all felines are not so immune to the irresistible rhythms of the best blue-eyed soul duo of the seventies and eighties.

Monday 13 July 2009

Cats "Exploit" Humans By Purring

And this is news HOW exactly?

Things My Cats Have Disapproved Of Recently (A New Fortnightly Under The Paw List)

1. The particularly stringy Gribbly Bits (see here if you don't know what these are) that get welded to the bottom of a bowl of Felix As Good As It Looks (aka As Bad As It Smells) cat food.
2. The concept of Predestination.
3. Pontoon, the 16th book by the humorous novelist Garrison Keillor.
4. Ducklings.
5. Having matted fur bobbles being cut off their chests very carefully and lovingly with a pair of nail scissors.
6. My special backwards shuffledance to Hall And Oates' 'You Make My Dreams'.
7. The absence of Eduardo Romero - aka El Gato - from the Barclays Scottish Open.
8. Nextdoor-but-one's new power strimmer.
9. The anonymous, malevolent kitten on the cover of the Under The Paw paperback.
10. Chinese five-spice.

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Kitten Survives 30 Degree Spin Cycle

Okay, confession time: even though all my cats apart from Bootsy are giant heffalumps, and none have shown any inclination to get into the washing machine, I almost always do a double-check inside for feline presence before I switch it on, just in case something like this happens.

Cats In The West End Again (But Not In A TS Eliot Kind Of Way)

"Equity is to launch a campaign to reintroduce theatre cats into London’s historic theatres, as part of the union’s ongoing bid to improve actors’ working conditions in the West End," says The Stage...

Sunday 5 July 2009

I Can Has Paté... But For How Long?

Latest development in the ongoing saga of Janet and his hyperthyroid pills (Janet is a boy, btw, for newcomers to Under The Paw): it has been decided that submerging the pill in paté is a reliable Trojan device. This seems to be working so far, but I've thought the same with various other tactics that I've used to make him take the pill, and been proved wrong. First there was the Submerging The Pill In Reconstituted Meat method, then the Putting The Pill In A Pat Of Butter method, followed by the truly icky Cutting Open A Chunk Of Meaty Goodness And Putting The Pill Inside That Then Resealing It method. Of course, these have all been usurped at times by the Grabbing Him And Wrapping Him In A Towel And Shoving It Into His Mouth method, but I would, if possible, like to think I'm not the kind of person who would drive one of his pets to leave home for good and tell tales of cruelty to random strangers. Moreover, I wear a lot of t-shirts at the moment, and I don't relish having to repeatedly explain to friends that the state of my lower arm is not the result of self-harming. I have a pea shooter waiting in reserve, recommended to me by my Siamese-owning former neighbour, Bob, which I've used once on Janet and found quite effective (the expression on his face was possibly the most shocked I've seen since the time 8 years ago that he forgot he could fly and decided to jump out of a second storey window in pursuit of a wood pigeon). I hope things don't come to that, but they almost certainly will.

In the meantime, my main problem is a) how much paté actually costs and b) trying to explain to my other cats that, despite what some of my enemies and very good friends might claim, I cannot produce spreadable paste on demand. The latter is proving particularly difficult in the case of Pablo (see below, looking eager and unusually sane), who is currently stalking me on a near-24 hour basis and has taken his fondness for headbutting to new extremes. I mean: I like a friendly nudge from a cat as much as the next ailurophile, but I'm sure there's something wrong when an animal a tenth of your size nuts you so hard he almost sends you sprawling across your kitchen floor.

I Can't Has Telesales

Friday 3 July 2009

Guest Cat Of The Month For July: Mogliavelli (She Had Her Staff At "Meow")

Mogliavelli 'Mog' Lickorish

Mog, Mogs, Mogli, Moggles, The Moggle, Madam are the ones I like Staff to use. Male Staff often calls me his 'Good Girlie' - I really like that.
Ones I'm not so keen on are: Pest, Pestly, Baby Beastly and the Tummy-rub Whore.

How impolite to ask. Staff aren't sure. The vet says between 5 and 8 - well, that's helpful isn't it? - and I'm not telling.

As a cat, I don't buy in to the concept of ownership. I have Staff - they are called Female Staff and Male Staff.

"You're fired".

Favourite habits?
Hunting rabbit, closely followed by (hopefully) eating rabbit. Sitting on my look-out platform, surveying my territory and supervising Staff in their garden endeavours. (Male Staff made my platform from lots of "ropey old pieces of wood", as he wasn't sure I would like it. Now he can't remake it with nice new wood as I'm never off it for long enough). Oh and I love climbing, but not getting down again. Sometimes Staff have to get the ladder (which is a bit embarrassing).

What constitutes a perfect evening for you?
To start, a supper of Morrison's tuna chunks in spring water, followed by some Applaws dry food. After that, I like to 'help' Staff when they water their vegetable garden. I often have a little dig in the raised beds and leave a small deposit of 'fertilizer' to help them out. Then, it's down to my proper work of vermin control. I've got an acre of garden to patrol so it can take some time. If I catch something, I take it indoors so Staff can see what a productive member of the household I am. If the weather is good, I might have to spend the whole night on patrol. However, if it's raining, it's straight upstairs, on to Staff's bed for treats and at least half an hour of tummy rubs. All very exhausting.

Favourite food?
Things I can catch myself, but especially rabbit & vole (bank or field, I'm not fussy). I'm also quite partial to Morrison's tuna in spring water.

Defining moment of your life?
Female Staff finding out that I hadn't been fed for 2 weeks by the new neighbours who were supposed to be looking after me. Within 2 hours I had a new home, a new bed and Female Staff's friend had fitted the cat flap so I could come and go as I pleased. Or possibly, Female Staff telling the vet on our first visit that she didn't know how to look after a cat as she was "a dog person", and him replying "Not any more". His reply might, just might, have something to do with the fact I had buried myself into her jacket and was gazing up into her eyes at the time. I had her at "Meow".

Any enemies?
Sooty the tomcat from next door. We used to live together, but now he's my nemesis. He waits until I've caught something when I'm out hunting and then tries to steal it from me when I'm on my way back to the house to show Staff. Staff say he's acting like a 'mogger' and chase him off. Also the ginger and white tom who keeps coming in my garden at night and singing to me. When will he get the message that I'm not interested. I just have to face it, I'm a 'tomcat magnet'.

If you could do one thing to make the world a better place for felines, what would it be?
Better Staff training.

If you could meet a celebrity who would it be and why?
Sir Alan 'Suralun' Sugar - we've both had lots of experience in firing Staff.

Which one of the cats in Under The Paw would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
Most probably Bootsy. She and I could discuss our mutual interest in world domination and I just have to know, how does she stand living in a house with 6 males (that includes you, Tom)? I can't stand a tom within 20 feet of me.

I wasn't happy with my first set of Staff, so I fired them - don't ask about them, I don't talk about it. Suffice to say, one Saturday night in Spring 2003 (not sure when, I don't worry too much about dates), I turned up on the doorstep of Female Staff and Male Staff and cried all night to be let in. They couldn't look after me because they were off to London for work the next morning, and hoped that I'd just wandered away from my home and would make my way back there if I wasn't encouraged to stay. Before they left, Staff gave me some milk to drink because they were worried I might be hungry and thirsty. I NEVER forgot this act of kindness.

When Staff arrived home the next weekend, they discovered that their neighbours Amy & Tom*, animal lovers both, had taken me in and christened me 'Lucky'. They were my second set of Staff and I lived with them and their menagerie of dogs, a horse and 2 other cats - Sooty (my nemesis) and Beckles (the recluse). However, if Female Staff and Male Staff were at home, I was with them - hunting in their garden, 'helping' them manage their orchard, scrounging cheese from their sandwiches, etc. This lasted until Summer 2007 when Amy and Tom had to move out for family reasons. They couldn't take us cats with them as they were moving to a house next to a road, so they asked the new owners of their house if they would continue to look after us. The new neighbours want us and didn't look after us - they didn't feed us for 2 weeks, so Sooty and Beckles disappeared. And me, I just fired them and moved next door.

And how did I get my name? Well after 4 years spent convincing Staff to take me in, I am the Mistress of Manipulation.

*names have been changed to protect the innocent.

New Blue Petah Cat: Ur Doin It Wrong

A cat. Missing in summer. Then found in an intellectual environment. Finally a clue, perhaps, to where The Bear goes on his wanders...