Four extra feet…

This may come as a surprise to you dear reader but I am not the constantly grumpy, rage filled ranter that most people think I am. I know, it’s shocking isn’t it?! Truth be told I don’t even know where that reputation came from. Oh alright yes I do. I created it. Created it, nurtured it, revelled in it and will probably continue to do so for many years to come, revealing my true squishy inner me only to those I choose to… But only in small doses, we don’t want to confuse people after all.

One aspect of this ogre persona has been the constant and (sometimes quite vehement) aversion to animals… Not all animals of course, I’ve always had a soft spot for wolves and bears for instance… And sloths can be quite endearing when they are not covered in crap…

Actually I don’t really have a problem with animals… At least not when they are in their natural habitat.. It’s the domesticated and semi-domesticated ones that cause my cognitive dissonance… Previous victims of this spam-filter evader will remember the encounter of the bovine kind during our hero’s epic Wall adventure… and if you have had the dubious pleasure of meeting my despicable self in the world beyond the screen then you may have heard a number of “humorous” anecdotes I have recounted over the years regarding sheep, goats, cats and on one occasion swans…

But why am I rambling? [We were wondering.]

It’s this cognitive dissonance thing… You see I quite like animals but I feel bad about “owning” them… This has been brought home to me this past week… All because of this lovely specimen…

 

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Say Hello Millie

Millie came into our home about two weeks ago… Suffice to say that Lone Support Angel and myself are very happy sharing our home with her but here is where that weird thinking comes in…

You see, Millie is a rescue cat… An eight year old rescue cat… An eight year old rescue cat that spent most of her life with one person… We are her third home since her previous “owner” passed… Her first stop along the way to us was in a home with young children and she was not happy… The second was with a foster family and while I believe she was happy there she was forced to share the space with more than one representative of more than one species and that wasn’t entirely to her taste… and so we “adopted” her… She is now in her forever home… But does she know this? How’s that for a question to keep you awake at night… Does your animal companion know that they are with you forever?

But here’s the thought that has been trying to rob me of sleep for the past week or more… Imagine you are between 45 and 50, you have spent most of your life living with a being that doesn’t speak your language… It may not be ideal but over time you have adapted (and so have they) to a greater or lesser degree… You have developed coping mechanisms and routines that allow you to function… You may even be happy (for a given value of happy)… And then your world ends… Overnight, the only life you have ever known is cruelly ripped away from you… You are forcibly removed from your home and dropped into an entirely new environment… and then it happens again… and again… So now you find yourself in an alien world, with more beings that don’t speak your language… don’t really know anything about you… They don’t really know what you like to eat (though they do the best they can)… They don’t know your habits, or your fears, your preferred way of expressing affection or your favourite toy… You are lost, probably grieving, and completely at the mercy of these aliens…

Oh they do try to make you feel welcome… They feed you, they provide hygiene facilities and they try not to overwhelm you with new smells, noises, physical contact but they cannot help it…

Now I realise I am anthropomorphising slightly here but c’mon it’s a cat… You can’t tell me that all cats are the same… They’ve all got their own personalities… They could pass for human… Well, almost… If they wanted to lower themselves to…

So maybe it’s not so strange that I’m having these thoughts… Cats get under your skin… they get into your head… They certainly inveigle their way into your heart… You have no choice but to worry about them…

Lone Support Angel has mentioned a couple of times that having Millie here is like having a flatmate rather than a pet… and I have to agree with her… Millie isn’t a lap cat… And so far she is still apprehensive around us…  Part of the problem, I think, is that we don’t know how she likes to be fussed and she doesn’t feel secure enough in her situation here to fully open up (I’m anthropomorphising again aren’t I?)… We don’t really know what she wants when she comes screaming/singing into the bedroom at 4.15 AM… Nor do we fully understand the rules of the paper ball game; are we supposed to flick it away when she fetches the scrunched-up envelope back to our feet, are we supposed to congratulate/fuss her? We’ve tried both and her responses have been ambivalent to say the least…

And another thing… Why do we infantilise our quadruped companions? I’ve found myself talking to this cat as if she’s a baby… We have started to refer to each other as Mummy and Daddy (only when we are talking to her of course, it’s not like we have gone completely gaga)… It may have something to do with her being tiny… Mind you I have heard  Entertainments Officer treat his feline (who is at least twice the size of our Millie) with the same attitude and tone of voice…

[Is this actually going anywhere, or should I get ready to ship this off on the Waffle to Lower Rambling train?)

{Erm… Ah… Er… Actually, D’ya know what… I’d check the timetable on that line…}

[So this is another of those pointless train of thought things then? You didn’t actually have a point to make? You are just wasting your readers’ precious time, making them sit through this, you do know that don’t you?]

{Why are you being so stroppy? I did start out with a vague idea but it kinda… well… it just kinda drifted away from me…}

[Did you learn nothing after seven years of university? Did you do a plan?]

{A plan? This isn’t an essay. It’s a puff piece about a cat}

[A rescue cat. A cat with her own history. A tiny bundle of emotions and demands; idiosyncrasies and tastes, that has changed your life in subtle but quite profound ways. You can’t just let it fizzle out.]

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[Where did you go? Hey, you’ve left your tea… What’s going on? Did I miss something?]

..

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[Oh, OK… I’ll Just… ah… I’ll turn the lights of then shall I?]

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[Well goodnight then folks, he’s down there flicking a ball of scrunched up paper about the floor for Millie to chase. I need a drink.]

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[Oh, By the way, he got his degree. He won’t mention  it but he got quite a good one. We’re all rather proud of him around here, but don’t tell him. He gets all grumpy and dismissive if people bring it up. Night then.]

 

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