Cats and Books

Friday, 31 August 2018

Take Another Lap

We’re well into Autumn now, because it started in early August, but there are hints of better weather for September, which means the chance to sit outside and write. Of course, that brings its own challenges, especially at lunch time.
There are marauding chickens, they know what a plate is for, and with a little effort can manage the vertical-launch to swipe lunch. Having lost half a sandwich to chickens in the past, I am wary, I keep an eye on them, but there’s only one of me, twenty of them, and their hunting strategy evolves. I’m not sure if the latest trick is a diversionary tactic, or just wearing me down.


We have two cockerels, and the younger of them has taken to standing behind my chair and delivering his best, most deafening cock-a-doodle-ahhh! I know it’s supposed to be a ‘do’ on the end there, but he’s young and hasn’t had enough practice. Neo, the senior bird, does a serious cock-a-doodle-dooooooooooooooooo! The way he strains to get every last bit of breath into that finale makes it look like he’s the one laying the eggs, not the hens. Either way, it’s three strikes and then I throw something light enough to do no harm, but change the lyrics to cock-a-doodle-EEEEK.
Naturally, it’s a conspiracy, because the cats also get involved. It does happen that I get sat on when I’m working inside the house, but for some reason being out in the sun makes me a far more attractive target. My best explanation is that if I’m guarding my lunch from chickens, that improves the chances for a cat, specifically Piper, to swipe something tasty.

I'm not sure these are my size

The thing is, Oatmeal often hangs around his people when they are sitting outside. His preferred spot is under the chair, or on our feet, because whilst he has many fine and adorable qualities Oatmeal is not an agile or athletic cat. He can jump, but not very high and not reliably. The essential pain-avoidance activity is to watch him and, when he does make the lap-leap, give him a boost up because the alternative is to have claws latch into your leg as nearly seven kilos of cat finishes the jump with a climb.

Give it up, Two-legs - I can wait all day and this laptop is warm.

Piper, on the other lap, launches and almost floats up. I say almost, because little Ginge is the one who really floats up, but she’s not much of a one for stealing my lunch. Piper is. Piper arrives, plants his six and half kilos on my lap, or on the laptop, and then goes reaching for lunch. It doesn’t matter whether or not the plate carries anything that Piper actually likes – it’s the principle of the thing. Supposedly this is a case of mi comida es su comida, but since neither I nor the cat speak Spanish, it’s anyone’s guess.
The only solution is to show him the plate, make it clear that neither bread nor fruit is for cats, and hope he doesn’t notice the cheese. And hope he doesn’t sneeze.
I like sitting outside to write, but I have to be alert and remember the golden rule: the cat is like an Olympic runner in training – he can always take another lap.