Our neighbours have a new cat. After trying to keep him as a house cat they’ve now given up and allowed him to explore the Great Wide World. He’s very sweet, but not very brave, and follows me round the garden jumping at the slightest thing.
My cat Sparky is a geriatric, arthritic, twenty year old ball of matted fur. We’ve had her for ten years, after the RSPCA despaired of rehoming her and convinced me to foster her.
Sparky was a house cat before we got her, but we failed to keep her inside for even one week – something in her cat instinct and torty temperament made the Outdoors irrestistable for her, even though she had no climbing, hunting or exploring skills whatsoever (and still doesn’t).
To say she has a sweet nature would be to say that rain isn’t wet. Our vets will confirm this – one of their nurses has scars up both her arms. She is basically a demon cat. But she is also old, decrepid, and arthritic. So it was a bit of a shock to find that she’s been terrorising the lithe, agile, young tom cat from next door.
The first time they met, she had him pinned behind the wheelbarrow with a tuft of orange fur in her mouth within five minutes. He looked pretty scared and intent on running away. But he’s finding his feet, and getting braver. And my cat in turn is getting wilder.
This morning we heard a cacophony from the wheat field behind the house. The sparrows were happily chirping in the blackthorn bushes, so I was surprised to see that a small patch of wheat was dancing in the field as if the local faeries were having a rave party. This is where the sound of cat warfare was coming from.
Following the trail of destruction through the wheat field I found two puffed up fur balls. My Taller Half had to fetch me a towel so I could pick the monster-that-my-cat-had-become up. Even with a towel, it was only her arthritis that stopped her from wrapping herself around my arm. Next door’s sweet little kitten looked more like an enraged wild thing.
Back indoors, Sparky quickly returned to her favourite activity – sitting in her water bowl/food bowl (depending on her mood) hoping for her perfectly edible food to be replaced with something better. Only her enhanced limp and new moustache of ginger fur hinted at the little monster she had been earlier…