Monday, 23 August 2010

Excerpts From A Cat Slave's Diary

Cat with extremely messed up meow was meowing outside the back door today. Felt glad for not having cat with meow like that. Went outside. Was my one of my cats, meowing like that.

The Bear ate the last tin of his special Applaws catfood today. He meeooped all the way through it, as if to confirm just how mandatory it is that I reorder some of it at the earliest opportunity. I have known cats to meow for food before, but he is the first I've known to meow during it.

When I see my cats smelling one another's noses, I can't help wondering: “What exactly is it you think might have changed, since last time?”

Lots of bands "work on a new sound" late in their career. What is more surprising is when your cat starts doing the same thing.

In her column in the Mail On Sunday's You Magazine, the infamously divorced, infamously childless, infamously cat-loving Liz Jones observes that her old English sheepdog has begun to misbehave. "He jumps at me all the time," she complains, "even when I am wearing my Dries van Noten jacket, which I have just had dry-cleaned." This is an intriguing sentence on a couple of levels, but in the end it's the use of the word "even" that really does it for me. One would have thought dogs would know a top designer jacket from normal daywear, but no. Cultural cretins! It's a bit bitchy to say it, but between you and me I wouldn't be surprised if that sheepdog hadn't even read the September issue of Vogue.

I'm still not sure I can believe it myself, but I really did just use the term "flailing paws" in a warning note to my cleaner.

Signs that another market town summer is ending: 1. The air is suddenly fresh. 2. Apples are falling. 3. The Bear is not wandering so far from home. 4. Summer Pablo is beginning to bulk up. 5. Nobody kicked my car in last night.

2 cats now "working on new sound". House starting to resemble Iggy Pop and David Bowie's 70s Berlin, but with less clawing.

I note with some interest that The Bear is now cultivating his own special "piss meow". I'm not necessarily looking on it as a bad thing, as it serves as more of a warning system than anything. I suppose it's a bit like a smoke alarm - except with piss, instead of smoke, obviously.

Given the reputed commonness of the activity, it is surprising more celebrities don't reference their Daily Cat Puke Cleaning Session in The Sunday Times Magazine's A Life In The Day column.

I love my cats, and I guess they think I’m okay. But I do sometimes get a very strong sense that they are purring at me, not with me.

Received missing parakeet missive through letterbox. Immediately went to check cats’ muzzles for feathers. Seemed clean. Parakeet in question answers to the name Charlie, talks and is "very tame". Religious flyers sticking out of my letterbox I can cope with of a morning. This level of emotional turmoil I cannot.

Starting to regret jeering at Janet for falling off the banister earlier. Just spotted him walking towards golf bag, with distinct "wee face".

You know your cat's got a lot of Facebook friends when he knows four cats called Chairman Meow.

Have been smelling the downstairs of my house and checking for dead things for last few days. Has been a bit of a mystery. Ended up thinking "only explanation is that there's a dead fish, being eaten by maggots, in the catflap tunnel." Turned out there was a dead fish, being eaten by maggots, in the catflap tunnel.

Favourite cat name of the month: F Cat Fitzgerald (from Garrison Keillor's novel, Pontoon).

Walked across kitchen. Accidentally knocked pillowcase off radiator. Pillowcase fell onto most dignified cat, giving appearance of superheroesque "bumcape". Most dignified cat walked across kitchen, visibly less dignified. Confession: did not rush to retrieve pillowcase.

Earlier today, I stroked my beard. Not the most riveting anecdote, I grant you. What does make it marginally more interesting is that the beard in question was false, sitting on my bedroom floor, where I'd discarded it after he previous night's fancy dress party, and at the time I had mistaken it for one of my cats.

They say that some days you eat The Bear, and some days The Bear eats you. What they fail to add is that some days all that happens is that The Bear eats a tray of Sheba Rabbit And Chicken Tender Terrine, while you sit nearby, attempting to eat a jam sandwich without choking on mechanically recovered meat fumes.

Friend of a friend at the Latitude music festival, in Suffolk, today: "Oh you're the cat bloke!". Me (hurt): "Well, not JUST that." Logo on umbrella above my head at the time: "PURINA ONE - FOR FELINE NUTRITION!".

Have bought job lot of Felix As Good As It Looks - aka As Bad As It Smells - cat food by mistake. In bulk. Cats looking like they might call the RSPCA.

To manufacturers of Felix As Good As It Looks – aka As Bad As It Smells - cat food: I sense you tell no word of a lie (and not in a good way).

Think I have just invented new foodstuff: the scromelette. Like most culinary revelations, it’s hard to think why it hasn't been invented before. NB: I will not accept "because it's just like rubbish burned scrambled eggs with one single cat hair in them" as valid reason.

Odd: Could swear I set a Google alert for "cat" but it seems I must have actually set one for "all the bad news about cats imaginable".


Ralph bit me quite hard today, when I made the unforgivable error of only using the pet mitt on him for seven minutes, instead of the twenty presumably stated as required in The Big Book Of Spoilt Oversensitive Feline Idiot Therapy. More effective than a brush, the pet mitt elicits very different responses from all my cats, but each has the common factor of being extreme. Janet mewls helplessly at its merest touch, before lying on his back and trying to bite it. The Bear runs away from it in a manner that, even for him, is notable for its campness. Bootsy and Pablo seem to simultaneously like and hate it, scarpering from it but also returning to ask for more of its sweet embrace. Ralph and Shipley just want to be mauled by it on a round-the-clock basis. I haven't tried it on myself, since I'm a bit worried about the results. In every way aside from the fact that it cost more, this current pet-mitt is a cheap imitation of my original one, which was two-sided (one side tough and dimpled, the other soft and felty) and which Dee made me throw away because it had got "too skanky". I can see that it's effective, but I could live without the puncture wounds. When I looked down at the two small but surprisingly deep holes in my finger, I pictured a couple of furry ears and a small-twitching nose above them, and was able to feel new empathy with the wretched hand that the south Norfolk vole is so often dealt in life.

Many people might think it impossible for a grown feline to burst into tears. None of these people, uncoincidentally, have met my cats.

Have received message from my uncle Paul and auntie Jayne, who woke up yesterday to find their bath-loving black demon cat Eddie sitting upright in the bed between them, his head on the pillow and the duvet pulled up to his shoulders, “like a little bloke”. This is perhaps as impressive as the time Paul was gardening and got a face full of nextdoor’s hose spray, only to realise the liquid in question came from Eddie, who was on the other side of the bush Paul was weeding around, marking his territory. It is, however, arguably not as impressive as the time Paul woke up to find the family hamster had escaped from its cage, crawled into bed with him and gone to sleep in his armpit.

Tomorrow's Times newspaper includes a piece by me on corrupt ex-Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian. Actually, that's not true. It's about cats.

Watched Whistle Down The Wind. Saw scene with kittens in a box. Missed next 3 scenes as was pondering fact that kitten actors now dead.

I remember those heady, footloose times, 13 to 14 minutes ago, when my kitchen floor wasn't completely caked in cat puke.

Received letter from Italy, where my book Under The Paw has just been published. "I buy your book THE MAN WITH 24 PAWS... come soon in Italy... Thank you to love all cats like us". I think I would like to move to Italy.


The Bear just got absolutely battered by a dog in his dream. Hard to tell, but I’m sensing Yorkshire Terrier.

Woke up to find a damp, halfheartedly chewed dead mouse outside my bedroom door this morning. From this, I can deduce that today is a day of the week.

Bought cats wholesome, “natural-looking” catnip mouse. Cats rejected wholeseome, “natural-looking” catnip mouse. Echoes of mum trying to convince me halva "as nice as chocolate" but with tables turned.

Dear my cats: Purring? Good. Padding? Also kind of okay, in the right circumstances. Getting all up in my face and shit when I'm trying to watch the red-haired one off of Mad Men? Not so good.

Think there has been a significant household misunderstanding in my house today. When I said "cats can be gits sometimes" I wasn't granting official permission.

Cats have been leaving perfectly severed vole faces and entrails outside the spare room again. Have warned my forthcoming houseguests to wear slippers. Houseguests: “Why’s that then?” Me: “It’s just very cold and I worry about you.”

Noting the scenes inside and directly outside my house today, I cannot help but be reminded of that well-known Nordic proverb "Show me a dusting of snow, and I will show you a bunch of cats acting like complete and utter tools."

Saw ornamental egg on living room carpet. Thought, “Those bloody cats have knocked that ornamental egg off the shelf again.” Picked egg up. Was real egg. Washed egg off hands.

Found a note in my cat notebook which says, "Mouse. Local Conservative Club. Second wang!" Have absolutely no idea what it means.

Just rescued a duckling. I say "rescued". I actually lifted it off the carpet away from 4 bored, hot cats. It then fly-waddled into a bush.

Buy Under The Paw at amazon with 40% off!

Buy Talk To The Tail with 43% off!


Natalie Lyndon said...

OH GOD I love this so much. I am actually crying from laughing, and I'm even trying to laugh quietly so as not to wake other house occupants, including sleeping lap furbag, currently employing UberCute program.

The umbrella. The umbrella! LOL LOL LOL.

Aaand the cat's gone. Jiggly lap not satisfactory.

Lyn said...


Nic's Notebook said...

Phew, what a read! Very funny :) PS - My cats love As Good As It Looks (1 of them refuses to eat anything else lol..)!

Julie said...

It's so reassuring to read that other people do a similar Scottish sword dance manoevre round the cat puke on the floor in the mornings.
My six cats will only eat Felix: As Good As it Looks -though I'm not sure why as it's mostly just the jelly they eat anyway.
They all have individual preferences for flavour though (for 'preference' read 'I'm not touching THAT, I don't like the pink ones').

jmuhj said...

14.09.08: I should say so.

jmuhj said...

21.10.08: This has bothered me as well.

jmuhj said...

...and finally, for 14.5.09: I respectfully submit "HIGH COTTON" and "ORRIS D. PURRDING", both very fine contestants in our dear friend and trendsetter Kate's Big Kitties Contest over at ;)

Teri and her Stylish Cats ~ Coco the Couture Cat, FurryDance Brighton, and Disco NoFurNo said...

...It's not that we don't try and understand these kitties...we should get an A+ for effort, even when we fail!

Kate Johnson said...

Best cat name for me was Precious. No wait: she belonged to a very large, shaven-headed man wearing biking leathers and crawling with tattoos. Marvellous.

Adding book to stuff-I'll-buy-when-I-get-my-Kindle list.