My little old man
I thought I would take a little time to introduce the other man in my life; Theo the cat. He is now affectionately known as Fifi, not sure how that happened, it just did. I had many ups and downs on my road to parenting. Back in 2008, I began to think that the end of the road was in sight and that babies were just not going to happen. I decided that a child substitute was needed in the form of a cat; I had always pictured myself, in later life, as a mad old lady surrounded by cats. So, I took a look through the local paper; old skool, I know. There was his ad, which I responded to and 9 ½ years later, here we are; 2 children, 2 rabbits, 6 fish (it was a different 2 fish that bred like rabbits, then there was an unfortunate boiling incident, so 6 new fish have just arrived), have all been added to the family, along with Fifi. There was briefly another cat but her taste for bats was more than we could bear; after removing countless bats from the bedrooms in the middle of the night, not to mention the remains of a billion small rodents from the carpets, we decided to wave the other cat off to our saviour, The Cats Protection League. So little man Fifi became a lone cat once again.
He was gorgeous, I even used his photo on my promo material for mad venture number 1; the pet sitting and dog walking business. That lasted all of 30 seconds, as I hadn’t exactly thought through the challenge of transporting dogs in a tiny Toyota Yaris.
He was playful and little bit bitey, but kittens are, aren’t they? He was timid, very nervous around strangers and wary of other cats. In the early years, I opened the door to find him pinned to the front step by the neighbour’s cat, after that he became victim to every local cat bully and has been hideously tormented, until, that is, the recent arrival of the marvellous invention, the microchip cat flap! No more uninvited feline visitors.
It was ‘radiator cover gate’ that gave us some cause for concern about his aggressive behaviour. We thought that covering the horrible old radiator in the hall was a cheap way of making things look better, but we didn’t get around to fixing it to the wall. We were fairly unaware of how precariously balanced it was until I heard a crash and Fifi came flying through the house, with blood dripping from his tail. Sadly, he had pulled the cover on top of him and cut his tail quite badly. Off to the vets we went for a quick operation and a lovely overnight stay in Hotel De Vet. The operation went well as general anaesthetic is an amazing thing; but the next day, I received a call telling me to collect Fifi immediately, he was a terrorist and was being expelled. He had apparently turned rogue on the vet’s nurse and was blacklisted for life. How could they say such a thing about our cute and gorgeous little Fifi?
He was still a little bitey sometimes, he liked a rough and tumble play with me; I think I might have been a surrogate sibling for him. That was all fine though. Along came baby number 1 and he was fine with it, he used to sit in her room meowing and rub himself on my legs, when I was holding her. Sadly, she wasn’t then, and isn’t now, a cat fan, she needs help to walk past him, over 8 years on. Baby number 2 was a step too far for him and he has ignored her since birth. She lets him into the cupboard under the stairs when he shuts himself out, so she has a purpose in his eyes. She, on the other hand, is not too sure of his purpose.
Still cute as an adolescent
I can’t remember when killer cat mode kicked in. It was definitely there all the time we lived in Wiltshire, and possibly even before then. After we moved 2 years ago, he seemed to chill out, until yesterday that is. Sometimes, he starts off all friendly, then suddenly the ears go back, the heckles (is that a word?) go up and he makes this sound like he is hissing under water. Then he attacks with claws and teeth, my ankle is his favourite, but if I fend him off with my arm, he goes all koala on me and completely wraps himself around my arm, using both teeth and claws. My husband has developed this technique of blowing in his face to get rid of him, but I’m not sure what that says about his breath as it doesn’t seem to work for me, in fact, it just makes him madder. All this came to head when we lived in a 3-storey town house for a while. One child was a nightly waker, so one of us had to go down a floor to collect her, this would often be me. Until, one night, Fifi decided that this was a reason to attack me, the attacks then continued most nights. I would be pinned against a wall, child in arms, with a grey furry thing physically attached to my ankle, calling out for help in a sort of happy style, so as not to scare the child. Only me, I might add, no one else. Does this mean he loves me most, or the opposite? Eventually, I had to stop the middle of the night child run, oh what a shame!
Things settled down and it was just the occasional over exuberant play session that led to killer cat re-emerging. But then yesterday, I was met with the usual squiring session that always greets me when I get up. I usually give him a quick stroke and then head down to the kitchen to feed him. But not yesterday, totally out of the blue and for no reason killer cat reared its ugly head; I had to be rescued, dripping blood from my arm and leg. After it all calms down, he is sorry and rubs himself on my legs, follows me around, turns up wherever I am for a head to head session, where he rubs his head against mine, if I am particularly lucky I might get hair chewed too. This went on for the whole of yesterday, until the evening, when he decided he had done enough grovelling and returned to his spot on the sofa next to the other man in my life.
One of the wounds
Why he does this remains a mystery, he never does it to anyone else. He is a lover, not a fighter and usually runs inside like Usain Bolt if approached by another cat. But I get to bear the brunt of his testosterone fuelled outbursts, lucky me. Isn’t being owned by a cat great?
Next time I will tell you all about how he loves his cuddly elephant, just a little too much and very regularly.