Hebe's Diary January 2010
The furry, ferrety, fiend aptly named Spook is still here and life for me has become a case of 'off ground touch'. I move around the house on higher levels, a table, the back of the sofa, a cupboard or the ironing board, anywhere that I can scan around and see if the little beast is in the vicinity. It doesn't stop him of course, but gives me more chance of seeing him coming - a little Hebe-seeking missile. I have moved into secret places easier to defend, on top of the under-stairs filing cabinet, the back of the wardrobe, or squashed for hours in Arabella's knicker drawer - still he finds me. My one sanctuary, one respite from the constant annoyance of being 'Spooked' is the garden where he is not yet allowed. Snow put paid to that leaving us all stuck indoors cooped up together, stir crazy.
One ominous morning Arabella appeared with the cat basket and shoving the little monster in it said "Don't you worry Hebe, things are about to change..!"
Arabella's Diary January 2010
There was a little girl and she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good she was very very good
But when she was bad she was horrid!
My parents used to chant this to me although I was neither that good nor that bad as a child. The last two lines can be more pertinently applied to Spook. Let's start with the good..
In 'good' mode Spook can be totally adorable. He likes to join in with absolutely everything, ironing, dusting, vacuuming, each tedious household activity is a new game 'chase the duster', 'attack the vacuum', 'swing on the shirt sleeves whilst they are dangling over the ironing board', 'bat at the flowing tap water whilst you are trying to wash up'. Sudden soft paws on your shoulder and a kitten is perched there craning his neck to see into the fridge, to view the casserole stirring, or even simply to nuzzle you affectionately under your chin. He nuzzles a lot and likes to touch his wet nose to yours in eskimo greeting.
Spook's favourite game is 'fetch'. He will bring me a bottle top to be thrown and retrieved amidst much scampering and scuffling whilst I lie on the sofa trying in vain to concentrate on a TV program.
Or Spook's newest variation on this game where, whilst lying in bed reading, I was suddenly presented with a tampon (wrapped) and the demand that I spend the next half hour chucking it around the bedroom for him to return. Eventually, when he has played himself out, Spook will softly curl up on your shoulder, his head tucked under your chin or resting a velvet paw on your cheek he will purr loudly then sleep - and this is when he is very, very good.
But when he is bad he is horrid! January was an absolute nightmare marooned in the house with a manic kittten, a moping cat and the Bedsock stuck in Plymouth. Spook excelled himself with wickedness.
Hebe is a very gentle cat, she likes to take things slowly, has always been wary, suspicious and easily spooked. And that is how he got his name - jumping out of things and alarming her, leaping on her from heights, constantly chasing her around the house long after any semblance of a shared game has disappeared. Even sleeping curled up a bit too close to Hebe on the sofa leaving her in a permanent state of alert awaiting the next attack to inspire another bout of hissing and growling. He has no respect for her personal space. They are now both banned from the bedroom at night where Hebe would normally sleep, her comforting weight against the small of my back or at her happiest when she is cuddling my hand. Spook has somehow deemed the bed his territory and will not allow her on there making it impossible to have both in there at once. Sometimes I sneak Hebe in at night and lock him out where he will whine and whimper for ages and I will be sleepless wondering if Hebe needs to be let out.
And food!!!! Eat, eat, eat.. he will eat anything, no opening of a cupboard or clattering of a plate goes unheard by Spook who materializes next to you grabbing at some anticipated titbit. No bin is opened without a kitten dived in, head disappeared into the rubbish to be hauled out by his hindquarters emerging with perhaps a decaying vegetable or piece of orange peel clamped firmly in his teeth. Every meal cooked he appears on top of the stove peering into the pans, every meal eaten the Spook out of nowhere snatching at the food. Shouting, ejecting, door-slamming nothing will make Spook stray from his purpose. Now every room has a water spray at the ready - a mist in the mush seems the only way to push the message through to him.
Hebe and I have one hope. When the snow thaws enough to make the short journey to the vets Spook is bundled into a basket and off to be neutered. We are pinning our hopes on this affront to his maleness calming him down. My normal tears and fears induced by any visit to the vet are not there - I am out of sympathy with him but I am sure that my love will be re-ignited when he returns all needy, forlorn and wobbly from the operation. A few hours later the vet calls. "Lively little fellow isn't he? Came straight round from the anaesthetic wanting to play and has already wolfed down some food....."
Spook's diary January 2010