I have three cats.
I don’t give them as much blog attention as Rosie the stupid Labrador. Predominantly because we don’t really get along as well, and I don’t really want to pander to their already inflated egos. They live under the misguided opinion that the house is theirs and we merely rent space from them. They also believe I exist to serve them, feed them, and bury their dead.
I got the cats when the husband moved out. He wasn’t really a fan of felines, and I thought the cats could somehow substitute for a father in the house for the kids.
In hindsight – I realise that was stupid.
But the cats have been co habiting with us for four years.
Three cats, one for each child.
Tiger, Mittens and Jeff.
(If you cared to know their names.)
Their usual routine is to lay on a bed throughout most of the day, to occasionally wander to a much loved piece of furniture and give it a decent scratching. Jeff, who is endowed with more than average fur, likes to shed all over the kids bed, and at breakfast, dinner and tea all three like to miaow loudly until food is presented into their bowls.
They drive the Labrador mad with their complete disinterest in balls, bones, and her.
Their main advantage is when we go away, they house sit for me. A friend pops in to fill up their bowls, but in the main, they look after themselves and keep the house tidy.
Unlike Rosie the Labrador, who costs me £20 a night at the dog sitters.
Sometimes, when we return from a holiday, Mittens, my prettiest cat, often hides away from us. I think he thinks he is punishing us in some form. Honestly, I am quite happy to have one less body in the house for a while. He usually waits until I am hitting print on the posters screaming missing cat, and then he walks through the front door and scratches a chunk out of my new sofa.
Last summer, after we went to Cornwall, Mittens stayed away for a week before sauntering back in the door after I was convinced he had met his make.
However, he ate his food and buggered off, ignoring his usual spot on my eldest childs’ bed.
The next day was the same.
And the day after that.
In fact as time continued, Mittens became as frequent as the postman, and stayed just as long.
My eldest daughter, who is quite fond of her feline friend, started to despair.
She was out at school when Mittens popped in for his daily Whiskers, and consequently never saw her kitten.
I usually saw him daily, and after a while began to notice….
…..there is no kind way to say this.
Mittens was stacking on the pounds. Like a fat lass whose gastric band had snapped, Mittens was moving from slim cat size zero, to a bit of a beastly bugger.
I started to suspect someone else was feeding him, or he was partnering up with the Pied Piper during the day and ridding the town of rats.
I confirmed my suspicions to my daughter.
She was flabbergasted that anyone could do such a thing.
The weeks turned into months, Christmas came and went, Mittens strode into January twice as wide, and looked not to care. I thought about replacing his meals with shakes, but the little beggar showed no sign of wanting to shift the pounds.
Then one day, my daughter came flying into the house. Screeching like she had stood on a rake and then had it inserted in her backside.
“Mum,” she cried, “Mum, I have just seen Mittens sit on a neighbours doorstep, then they opened the door and he went inside!”
Silently I apologised to the Pied Piper for thinking he was using my cat as an unpaid accomplish.
Then I pulled on my shoes and went to meet a new neighbour.
It is a really awkward conversation trying to ask someone politely if they have nicked your cat.
But I did it anyway.
Turns out the nice lady up the road thought Mittens was both a girl and a stray.
So had helpfully fed him.
Readers: please note – don’t feed stray cats, check to see if they are microchipped, or prepare to accept that you may need to pay their monthly subscription to Weightwatchers if you accidentally fatten up someone elses family pet.
On the doorstep, I both clarified the cats gender and residential status, and politely requested they didn’t let him in their home again.
The nice lady asked if I was sure it was my cat in her house.
So I suggested I come in and check, and remove the cat if he was indeed one of my trio.
I went in the house.
Through the hall, and into the lounge.
To see the following.
Mittens, my now quite overweight pussy, was laid on the floor, feet in the air, casually swatting a fabric fish on a piece of string that was being held by a teenage child. To his right was a cat bed that was more sophisticated than what my seven year old sleeps in. To his left was a scratching post with several levels. A food bowl piled high with treats was in front of the fire, and a five star litter tray was tucked discreetly behind the door.
The cat took one look at me and his expression said it all.
In cat language, I am pretty sure he said,
I confirmed the fat layabout Garfield wannabe on the floor was indeed my once petite little pussy cat. The teenage child sadly put down the toy and Mittens glared at me with perfect cat disdain.
I scooped him up and he fought me with the strength of Tyson. His reluctance to leave cat heaven to return to my home of chaos and bedlam was intense.
It was like he had never seen me before, despite eating my food and sleeping in my house for almost four years.
I had to run out of the house and down the street before he clawed my shoulder to threads.
He has been on house arrest ever since.
Once again – I have three cats.
One of them has a weight problem.
It is more expensive than ever before.
Moral of the story: if you think someone is feeding your cats – just let them and save the pennies!
Thanks for reading….