What is it with cats? Sure they’re cute to look at, little bundles of fluff, what’s the harm in that? Exactly it’s a defense mechanism, a way of throwing you off balance, a kind of cuddly armor, a soft feline chain-mail that makes you think twice about the possible dangers therein. Dogs of course see right through it, try as they might to warn us we take no notice what so ever; evil resides in the most unlikely places.
Cat lovers will tell us that they are affectionate and independent animals, that they are a loving, giving, essential part of the family. I have one word for them ‘Hoodwinked’ Yep that’s right ‘Hoodwinked’, after extensive research I have found a well of evidence to support this theory.
Before I recount the testimonies of the persecuted – and there are a lot – allow me to tell you my story. Twas it seems an age ago, another time, another place, another me, because you see I too had a cat once! Yes I’m sorry to say that I fell prey to the wily charms of a certain alley cat, whose name I have sworn never to utter again. He came to me disheveled and hungry, his tired and sunken eyes pleading, nay begging for food and shelter, a cat in need and I his last resort. I felt I had no choice but to take him in, to open my door, my home and my heart to this most bedraggled creature.
And so it was that –he who shall never be named – entered our home and our lives, becoming another member of the family. It pains me to think of how easy it was for him to deceive us, so playful, so friendly and oh so cunning. All was well to begin with; I had no reason to question him, no reason to doubt his sincerity, his fervor, his frolicking or indeed his little pointy ears and those green alien eyes always watching, always watching….
Then one evening as I was settling into my favorite threadbare armchair ready for a night of embroidery and soaps I realized my cat was nowhere to be seen. He never missed an episode of crossroads, it had become an unspoken custom, I in my threadbare chair him on my lap. Where could he be? Not too alarmed to begin with I searched the house, looked in the airing cupboard and on the window sill in the kitchen but he was in none of his regular haunts. Now puzzled and bordering on apprehension I extended my search to the garden, perhaps he was having a bit of play, a last frolic before soap time? He was there alright but not alone, no, he sat on the garden wall in what looked like a conniving manner with a gaggle of shabby, hippy like ally cats. I approached them with a friendly enough gait, hands open, forgiving smile, disarming manner and all that, but to no avail. He gave me a cold hard stare for my efforts and then turned abruptly to his fellow conspirators, words were obviously spoken and then the others scattered like leaves in the wind. I was I have to say ‘mystified’ with I’ll admit a molecule of jealousy but also a twinge of sorrow and a soupcon of regret.
After that episode in the garden we both knew things would never be the same again, we played the game for a while, he’d join me for crossroads but only when it suited him and I’d continue to make a fuss of him, in a way trying to win back his favor. You see the truth is and I’m still ashamed to admit it, I was scared of him, scared of what he was capable of, this feline saboteur, this demon of the night, this four legged Judas.
It all came to a head a week before Christmas, my wife had asked me to fetch the decorations from the cellar, which I was only too willing to do being of good faith and slightly inebriated on the festive spirit. As I approached the door that would lead me into the catacomb of my home I noticed it was ever so slightly ajar. A faint amber light could be seen glowing from within and so, with some trepidation on my part, I quietly, oh so quietly prized the door further ajar. I descended the stairs without a sound, my Garfield slippers barely making contact with each step until I stood bathed in that amber glow. And there they were, smoking catnip and sitting around schismatics of my house, indeed the whole street, so engrossed they were that a full minute had passed before they saw me, but it was too late. A minute was enough for me to realize what my cat and his associates were up to and they knew it too. I could abstain no more, for months we had played cat and mouse, pussyfooting around, well I’d had enough; ‘terrorists’ I shouted to one and all and with that they up and went.
Alas if only that was the end of it, perhaps life would have resumed to normal but no it was only the beginning of a terror campaign that would eventually exhaust everyone involved.
I’ll never forget that first attack, it arrived with such vengeance, such brutality that I was shaken to the core. A quiet Sunday morning, frost on the windows, paper in hand, just about to wipe when a blood curdling scream tore through the quietude and froze me to the seat, rendered terrified I dallied so. My wife burst through the door, my sanctuary had never been so violated, stunned, not knowing whether to finish the job at hand or not I questioned her intrusion. She agreed to grant me privacy and waited on the landing in what can only be described as an agitated state of anxiety. When I finally appeared on the landing a little bashful I have to say, she dragged me outside to our carefully manicured lawn with its herbaceous borders and Victorian folly. There amidst the bulb beds, the winter bedding and the lawn itself lay several very offensive cat turds! After further inspection we found others too, one even in a hanging basket and another floating in the carp pond! As I stood there amongst the devastation and the misery I knew two things one; that he was responsible and two; this was war. I sent my wife inside with a few words of comfort then fetched a fishing net from the shed. I only had myself to blame in all this, the fault –like the cat turd on my welcome home mat – lay solely at my feet. I decided then and there that I would fight to the death; I would not give my ancestors cause to denounce me, to mock me or be ashamed. Once in a generation destiny demands a leader, a man of strength and courage and I was that man. I would fight the fight so that future generations could live in peace.
After a year of war and of being under constant attack we went into hiding, I sold the house to young newlyweds, the garden a wasteland, it’s once buoyant charm razed to the ground. I took only the carp from the pond as I feared for their safety.
Every day since our withdrawal we live in constant fear, fear that he will find us and fear that the attacks will start again. But there is a certain comfort gained from others like me, whose lives have been destroyed by cats. Mr. White of Slackbottom Yorkshire tells of his cat skittles and how she embezzled half a million pounds from him. Mrs. Brown of Constantine Cornwall swears her cat twiddles masterminded the murder of a noble woman of some repute. Miss pink of Shitterton near Bere Regis in Dorset blames her tom cat ‘Puss willow the third’ for sabotaging her boyfriends scrotum while standing naked over a running bath. Not to mention Mme Noir of Bitche in France who has collected photographic evidence that proves her chat Minky sells catnip to kittens.
So cat lovers beware be very ware.