Tuesday, 15 March 2011
This Cat Food Will Bankrupt Me
It's now over a month since my cat Janet died. In that time, there have been three main developments for my remaining felines, Ralph, Shipley and The Bear. Shipley has gone from calling me a "f*&$%%£%£ &@****^£" 48 times a day to calling me one 76 times a day. A mangy stray has been coming around, talking trash at the three of them, and pissing on my blackboard while I'm asleep. Thirdly, all four of them - I'm including the stray here, as it seems to turn up whenever it's feeding time - have become addicted to Applaws (also known as Encore in some supermarkets), a cat food apparently so similar to human food that, when I first saw it, whilst writing a piece on the 1997 Supreme Cat Show for the Daily Telegraph, its chef demonstrated how good it was by eating some himself.
The problem is perhaps that these new occurrences in my cats' daily lives are feeding off one another, inexorably. When Shipley swears, I feel bad that he has lost his old fluffy playmate, and give him more Applaws. When I give him more Applaws, he swears more, because he knows it gets him more Applaws. When I give him more Applaws, the stray cat turns up, thinking it might get some Applaws, then pissing on my blackboard, talking its street slang at my cats and passing on its conjunctivitis to them out of dissatisfaction. When the stray cat pisses on my blackboard, talks its street slang at my cats and passes on its conjunctivitis to them, I feed them more Applaws, to make them feel better. It's a vicious circle, and I can only see it ending one way: with me selling my body in one of Norwich's less salubrious night spots, in order for all five of us to carry on like this. It sounds grim, sure, but it's important to put things in perspective: everyone's struggling in the current economic climate, and needs must. Besides, I once had to do a pole dancing class for an article in a women's magazine, and it's about time I put what I learned to good use.
I suppose the other option is that I try a bit of tough love: ration The Bear, Shipley and Ralph to two or three tins of Applaws between them a day. But it's easier said than done. If I ignore Shipley calling me a "w*** p***et" at the top of his voice, I then also have to ignore Ralph doing that beaming "I'm so pleased to be me - revel in my glory, now!" face on the other side of the kitchen, and The Bear nodding in the direction of the food cupboard whilst looking soulfully into my eyes in the way only he can. I currently have a large puncture wound in my ankle, merely from delaying breakfast until 10am this morning. But if Shipley can do that to a digit, why can't he keep the stray away? I like to think it's because he's still adjusting to a reshifting of roles since Janet - always the defender of the realm against alien cats - passed away, or that he's worried about what he might catch from the stray in a potential battle, but recent evidence suggests otherwise. The stray turned up last night, and, as Shipley stayed inside, presumably because he needed to sort out his side-parting, I got a first proper glimpse of the phantom beast which I'd imagined as huge, and peppered with festering body sores, and which, in the past, I'd only seen as a flash of retreating ginger. It was the size of a small cushion, and looked like it had just got back from a weekend away at a high class spa overseen by a gay ferret.