Saturday, May 18, 2024

It’s Not That I Don’t Like Cats…

April 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Prose

It’s more like, well cats not liking me. I do like them and if they would

just tolerate me, I would love to do the same for them. Having said that I suppose cat lovers everywhere will be yelling for my blood! First please allow me to put my thoughts and fears into some sort of order, and I am sure that it would be justly unfair to someone who is continously being ignored by cats themselves.

I have been persecuted by cats for most of my life: true. in the early 1930s, attempting to rescue a wild cat from a poacher’s snare, I had a perfectly good jacket torn to

shreds when I threw it over its head in an effort to restrain it, and I had to have a series of injections to ward off all sorts of nasties from the bites and scratches I

received from this ungrateful creature. Well, all right it was terrified having been held captive for several hours.

Then again that cat on the cemetery wall in about 1949. I was a London policeman at the time, stationed at Wimbledon. In South Wimbledon the cemetery has a high wall with several smallish alcoves set in its length. Now, policeman are humans and on night duty when patrolling their beats, they have their favourite spots to conceal themselves and enjoy a cigarette, sometimes even a quick nap, well the alcoves in this particular wall was one of mine. So, about 3am I snuggled into my hidey-hole and lit my cigarette and puffed away, all was quiet. the cemetery still and silent. Then it happened; I felt something brush the back of my neck between my helmet and my collar, brushing gently first one way, then back again. Yes it did scare me, and it would have frightened anyone with a glimmer of imagination. What could it be? A twig swaying in the breeze perhaps? But there was no breeze and it was a cemetery wall And the slow backwards and forwards movement on my neck continued, but by no it felt more like the blade of some sort of instrument off torture. Then the purring started sounding like some large jungle beast abort to behead me. Turning abruptly with my hands held high to ward off marauding lions or tormented evil spirits, I was confronted by a mangy looking animal that glared at me in deep suspicion. The funny thing is that I was so relieved that I gave it the sausage which I usually gave to my friend the alsation watchdog just round the corner.

Night duty brought my next encounter with a night-time moggie. Now outside the station at Wimbledon the street has been built over the railway, and although there are shops either side it really is a bridge. Behind the shops there is a walkway with the backs of the shops on one side and a shoulder high wooden balustrade on the other. Night duty entailed walking down this ‘catwalk’ and making sure all the back doors of the shops were secure. On my first night duty patrol, I started the inspection of the doors on my left, no need to look right as it consisted of this rail then a 50ft drop to the rails below. I don’t know if you have ever experienced walking along in semi-darkness and having something jump and grab your shoulder in a vice-like grip. It is not pleasant! My predecessor on night duty had obviously been playing some silly game with the local cat, seeing who could give the other one the biggest surprise. Now you must begin to see that I am a martyr to cats.

Cats do treat me with contempt; there is no other word for it. Living in the Cotswolds in a comfortable warm bungalow in an idyllic setting gave me, my wife and her cat a comfortable, almost perfect home. When I got home from a hard day’s work, it was my custom to take off my shoes, settle in my favourite chair to read the paper, whilst my wife busied herself in the kitchen before bringing in a nice hot cup of tea. The cat of course would be stretched out in front of the log fire fast asleep. My usual ‘hello cat’ would be greeted by a disdainful stiffening of the body, followed by a stretch, a stiffened tail and a stiff-legged walk out of the room. Yes, having been treated to such arrogance I did say that as ‘cat’ walked out it did look remarkably like a fat navel orange on stiff legs, at least when viewed from the rear.

Success with cats, or should I say a cat, has to me rather late in life on a visit to my granddaughter’s; she has two cats. I was so delighted when her big black beautiful cat actually came up, greeted me with obvious pleasure and settled in my lap purring in sheer delight. At last I had found a cat that actually liked me, what a sensible fellow he is.

Not so the ginger one, obviously a cat of a lower intelligence and breeding, it simply walked away. On reaching the door it turned its ginger head, winked, glared at me, and I am sure it said, ‘You are the weakest link. Goodbye!’

My Nemesis - The Cat

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