Commentary, Culture, Philip Alderton
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A Catty Saga – Part 2

City Writers Room

So, what happened next?

By now the cats had each decided on their plans. There were the frontal assaults, the side sliders, the kitten curiosos, the stand-offs and plain disregarding types. Val soon had a friendly grey cat leap on her lap which swiped at any competition. Val liked the diva attitude but only to visit with. Still diva got to leave lots of hair on Val’s lap. Summer knows her stuff. She knows which cat hangs with who. Rivalries, siblings and kids of…

The cats are spotlessly groomed. Summer explains the “proper” neutering the cats get, not the back yard hack jobs. They discuss how neutering a cat after it had a litter seems better. A kitten is in my face, I lose the karmic plot of cat neutering. I’m fine with that.

The Siamese takes the cue as Summer discusses how easy they are to clip, and bats at the clippers on the end table. Summer says there must be a claw that needs a trim. The cat settles and in perfect pedicure paw drape demonstrates how easy she is to clip, then takes a propriety seat near Val, not too close, nothing pushy, not like the gray diva. So Malibu made-to-order.

They want for nothing but a loving home, although when Val asks if it’s hard to sleep with so many cats playing at night, Summer explains she goes to bed around 3am after getting them all tucked in. As I now see the cat toy box; pampered rich babies might feel deprived seeing this cause for serious cat ruckus. Most of the cats seem like they are so comfortable on the expensive furniture and rugs, that playing would be too much effort. “Lincoln” is the prime example of this. A black and white tuxedo cat that somehow looks like Lincoln, the president not the car. The loving home is a fast fading idea. I couldn’t expect them to accept my furniture. There’s lots of talk of the best cat food, how wet food helps urinary tracks, or was that only in the boys?

Val doesn’t want a boy. I worry about Val. What’s wrong with a boy?

Summer now produces the ultimate cat toy. A Zoom-O. We’ve all had versions of them. A plastic ringed rotor that spins and lifts off the stick and floats around? This is the deluxe 2016 version. A pair and there’s a catcher around it to snatch them from the other Zoom-O. The cats go nuts. There is pandemonium as orange rotor discs sail through the air up into the vaulted ceiling and off walls etc. Summer takes Val to see the cat she actually saw online – it’s in the front “foster room” with one other as they don’t jive with too many other cats. They need some space, dig it? Another has the back foster room – again this is known as private quartering. Not everyone wants to mingle.

It’s time I mastered the Zoom-O. The cats react first to the sight. They have their positions. Forwards, backs, grounders and flankers. Then there is command and control. Lincoln is steady in the back of the armchair perch surveying the room. Next comes the sound of the windup – whizzzzzzz – and it’s time for tactical action.

Jack, six months, white with brown and black and big confident eyes, full of spunk, lunges. He is the first line of play – the net guard type.

The plan is to get his paw into the rotor cup before lift-off and “sack” it. Round one – well two of them to him. A moving Zoom-O makes it harder and the rotor gets flight – a few inches – but Jack smacks it back into my face. Jack is pleased as if he got extra points for the team.

Finally, I get one passed Jack and now mid-field is in play. One cat, let’s call her the “Leaper”, does just that. From the ground she springs up to my head height and hangs there, like a long jumper caught in the take off stride. Her eyes intent, the rotor – smacked off to the flanking team that pounce bringing it down where the ground team smother it. A four cat play; pretty good. Rotor after rotor goes flying or gets sacked and smacked into my face by the very agile Jack.

Just when I think I’m running low on rotors one cat retrieves her catch just like a faithful retriever.

I haven’t seen cats do that before. Summer predicted this girl would. The 15 or so rotors are spent, so I go through the room collecting them until I’m at the far end. The cats watch. What will I do? I settle at that end and they charge into position. Jack is leaping other cats and back in my face. The backs retreat, the forwards advance. Leaper and flankers wait as the game pivots around them for the next session. It’s a well drilled team of cats.

—x—

(Final part to conclude next week)

Photo illustration by Sandra Teles

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