It’s a Cat’s Life

Princess Peanut – The Royal Portrait

“What do you mean it’s only five o’clock in the morning? Yes, I know you want to go back to sleep, but I’m hungry and want my breakfast. I will jump on your face until you get up and give me some food. You’re being unreasonable.” Honestly, I don’t know; you just can’t get the staff these days! Doesn’t my human realise I’m in charge of this house? I’m royalty, and she’s only the servant.

Finally, I’ve got my breakfast! I’m starving, and all I get is chicken and fish. It’s not good enough! It wouldn’t hurt to invest in a succulent piece of sirloin steak or some caviar for a change. I don’t want this biscuit rubbish either! I know; I’ll sneak out of the cat flap when Mum’s not looking and find my own food.

This is food fit for royalty, is it? I think not!

Thirty minutes later. Ah, ha … I spy a juicy mouse. I’ll creep up behind it and take it by surprise. I do wish it wouldn’t squeak so much! I’ll take it home and show her how brilliant my hunting prowess is. Mum will be so proud of me. Now, if I can just squeeze through the cat flap with it … Damn, I’ve dropped the little critter! I’ll chase after it. Oh, no, it’s run under the fridge. Why is Mum scowling? Isn’t she glad I’ve bought her a gift? “What d’you say? You’d rather have your presents wrapped in pretty paper with a ribbon and a bow?” There’s no pleasing some humans.

Cat and mouse games

The new vet is coming today – I hope she’s nicer than the one I usually have to see. That’s the doorbell; I’ll greet her – that’ll make a good impression. I hope she’s not going to stick one of those needles in me. That’s nice; she’s making a fuss of me. I think I like her apart from her smelling of dog. Meooow! She got me with that needle! That was a nasty trick. Now, she’s trying to clip my claws. Doesn’t she know I need them for climbing the trees out the back? How else would I catch the birds? This is totally unfair. She’s got a fight on her hands now. She called me a little madam – the cheek of it! “If you think I’m staying still on that table, you’ve got another think coming!” I’m out of here.

Two hours later. All that running around in the garden has worn me out. I think I’ll nip home for some rest. I’ll tiptoe up the stairs when Mum’s not looking. Uh ha, she’s left her bedroom door open. I know I’m not supposed to sleep on the bed, but I don’t care. It’s fit for a princess, and I’m just that. I don’t know what the confusion is. I deserve a sumptuous bed, not a cardboard box next to the radiator with a fluffy blanket. She can sleep in my box for a change. She won’t mind one bit, I’m sure.

Four hours later. That was a lovely snooze … yawn … stretch … Look at me. Aren’t I adorable? I’m feeling lazy after all that sleep. I think I’ll go downstairs and chill out with a bit of TV. My favourite programme, Tom & Jerry, is on this afternoon. I like an action movie …

Where’s Tom & Jerry gone?

“Mum … Mum … this isn’t Tom & Jerry! Come here! Quick! Change the TV station, would you? I’m missing my programme! How dare you tell me you’ve just sat down with a coffee! How could you do that to the Royal Princess?” I don’t know; what do you have to do to get the slaves to work in this place? It’s just not good enough. “Right! No more presents for you! No mice, no slow worms, no birds, no nothing! That’ll teach you! Why are you grinning from one ear to the other? How dare you disrespect me! Right … that’s it! You’re fired!

Who’s the Boss?

Peanut (aka the boss) at home

Establishing who’s the boss in my house is a tough one. You may have heard the saying, “A dog has masters, a cat has slaves”. It’s certainly true in my home!

I have a much-loved, adorable, tortoiseshell moggy called Peanut. I named her Peanut because when I rescued her, she was a tiny kitten the colour of a dry roasted peanut! What better reason. She’s the first pet I’ve had since living alone (quite happily, too). Although she’s now two-and-a-half years old, she’s still quite petite and looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. But … don’t be fooled by her angelic looks. She’s no angel. She’s feisty, doesn’t like being picked up or held and is picky about her food, only eating the expensive stuff. She doesn’t like the beef or lamb cat food, only chicken, turkey or fish, fussy little madam. It’s just as well that I’m vegan with the cost of meat these days! To begin with, I found it challenging to buy poultry or fish cat food, but cats are carnivorous, and it wouldn’t be fair to expect her to be anything else. It was my choice to take her in; therefore, it’s only reasonable that she is fed naturally and responsibly. 

She also does what comes naturally to cats – she’s a hunter (unfortunately for me and her prey, of course). I’ve lost count of the number of mice I’ve had to chase around the kitchen floor after. Not the easiest of tasks in a wheelchair. Some have survived to tell another tale (pun not intended), but others, sadly, have met their demise.

She did catch a baby bird the Spring before last. I managed to rescue it from Peanut’s jaws; it appeared uninjured but was definitely in shock and hardly moving. I wrapped it in soft tissue for warmth and protection and popped it into a relatively small empty box. I then had the slowest of journeys up to the vets an hour away while trying to shield the little mite from the wind and the broken paving beneath my wheels. Once I arrived, the vet examined it and declared it to be uninjured, as I’d thought. That was a relief. They took it in to care for it and were going to send it to the local wildlife rescue centre until it had grown enough to be released safely. It turned out to be a baby Great Tit. Unfortunately, the butterflies she catches fare less well. Last week, she caught a slow worm (rather lovely creatures and much-needed for the garden, as are all worms). Fortunately, this one did survive completely unscathed and got put back in the garden, whereas Peanut got put in the living room with me to give the slow worm time to make a quick getaway. They can move pretty fast.

The one that got away!

Going to bed is another matter. She doesn’t like being shut-in, but I couldn’t have her bringing in all and sundry while I sleep upstairs. Firstly, I’d be none the wiser when I got up, and secondly, I wouldn’t stand a chance of finding her live prey in the morning if it had run under the fridge or washing machine. She’s got her biscuit, water, and litter tray, so is quite comfortable. But the fuss she makes when I go to bed is only to be seen. I’ve tried taking her up to bed with me in case she’s lonely; she then decides to shin up the curtains and plays leapfrog from the chest of drawers to the dressing table, knocking off everything on them. I wouldn’t mind if she quietly settled down next to me, but I swear she thinks she was an Olympic athlete in one of her previous lives. But, for all that, I love her dearly and couldn’t imagine being without her. She’s become a good companion … when it suits her!

Peanut asleep on my sister’s lap – Day One
“You can’t see me”

DOWN BY THE RIVERBANK

swan with cygnets

I often go for a stroll (or wheel, in my case) along by the river that, if you follow it far enough, will bring you out to Tescos and the High Street. I love that walk. I get to see the wild rabbits and often the baby ones, the grey squirrels (we have lost nearly all of the red squirrels in my neck of the woods), the wild birds like the collared dove, the common thrush and even occasionally a blue-tit or rarer still, a wren.

The riverbank itself is somewhat inaccessible due to the thick growth of nettles, some of which can give you a nasty sting if they happen to brush against your skin. Nearer the water are the tall reeds where, if we are lucky, we may see a graceful white swan patiently sitting on her clutch of eggs with her mate nearby, protecting their brood. Soon, the cygnets will hatch out and then we can see the whole swan family, mum first being followed by all the babies and the dad bringing up the rear and making sure that none of his precious family are lost. They are beautiful to watch.

I especially enjoy that walk, early on a Sunday when I’m on my way to church as there are fewer people and more wildlife – not that I am adverse to human beings, on the whole, that is apart from the ones who cause harm or damage to others, but that’s another story completely.

I often pass the dog-walkers with their pets running around on the grass amongst the old trees that are also there by the river. They’re nearly always kind  (that is both the owners and their dogs). I smile and say good morning as I pass or often stop for a quick chat and to pat the dogs on the back who often seem quite intrigued that I have wheels to sniff at as opposed to legs.

There are a few cyclists that go by, most of whom these days, wear safety helmets, thank goodness (a much more attractive look, I think, than squashed brains on the road!). They tend to whizz past as they’re usually on their way to somewhere in a hurry.

Then, there are the occasional joggers, out for their early morning run, kitted out in their vests, shorts and the most amazing, bright and luminous trainers. I wish they’d been around when I was running – I think they’re great and brighten up the town, no end.

It seems that joggers and cyclists can co-exist quite happily that time in the morning as they are less likely to collide with each other, although both being in their own little worlds. I have nothing against joggers at all expect that they rarely say hello or good morning due to the headphones stuck in their ears which often makes them oblivious of my friendly greetings or much else, come to that.

Lastly, there a just a few people on their way to their churches and more commonly, individuals making their way down to the town to reach the shops before the crowds venture down and to be first at the market to catch a bargain or two. However, Tesco doesn’t open until 11 am on a Sunday so if they’ve gone to buy the Sunday joint or the vegetables to go with it, they’ll be out of luck that early!

 

 

 

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