Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Kitten Diaries Part 7 - The Unspeakable and the Inedible

It is possible that 'kitten' is now a misnomer for Spook, he is just over a year old now but he still seems very young and playful with his interminable games of 'fetch'.  Concentrating on the computer,  I was vaguely aware of him wandering in and out of the study but it wasn't until I saw him approaching with my  my new bra clenched in his teeth that I realised what he had been doing - rooting in my overnight bag and taking one by one, all the sterilised and neatly wrapped dressings, tape, and scissors that the hospital had provided for my post-op care, and piling them at my feet. When I began to admonish him he just struck an 'on starters marks' pose ready to fly after the object I was expected to throw for him.  What could I do but chuck my new bra down the stairs with a clattering cat in its wake, who seized it, killed it, then bought it back for me to throw again.

Yesterday I was treated to the sight of the Bedsock chasing Spook around the house to retrieve the raw sausage stolen from a momentarily unsupervised grill pan.   Even Spook's demonstrations of affection can be quite violent as he headbutts your nose, bites your chin, digs his needle claws into your shoulder and clings on like a crazed limpet squeezing his soft, silky body as close in as possible so the unlucky recipient of this 'cuddle' has to wrap their arms tightly around him to prevent the claws penetrating deeper in his attempt to anchor himself on.

Hebe is now four years old but rather than teach Spook a few lessons in dignified cat behaviour she has regressed into being nearly as naughty and wilful as him. Her latest trick is to climb along the gutter of the greenhouse and then onto the sloping glass roof where she vainly bats at the fluttering, flying, insects trapped on the other side of the pane.  Spook, uninivited, will immediately join in the game with her - "monkey see, monkey do" as my mother used to say when I copied my brother's bad habits.

Spook helping in neighbours garden

Over the summer Spook has made some new friends. Our elderly neighbour's dog died and Spook, in a fit of opportunism  bordering on coffin chasing, was in there like a shot. Racing around every time Doug went out into the garden and rolling around on his feet and purring around his legs was doubtless quite charming but I did warn Doug that Spook would be scavenging around his kitchen the moment he got a chance. "Oh no, I'll keep an eye on him" Doug reassured me, whilst even as he spoke Spook was  trotting  in through his back door and eyeing up the dining opportunities.  Spook's love affair with Doug lasted several weeks until the excitement of the new fence and a new sport of fox-bothering engaged his fancy.  One day Doug's plaintive face peered over the wall "Spook doesn't come and see me any more.." he accused. "Yes, I'm afraid he's not very loyal" I replied "perhaps he will be back when he has lost interest in the fox."

Sadly didn't have time to focus before both fox and cat cleared off

After the outcry of vicious foxes rampaging into people's houses looking for dining opportunities I have to admit to falling victim to a slight hysteria with regard to the resident fox making a meal of Spook. Over the last few years a family of foxes have taken over the territory and whilst originally sightings were occasional enough to engender some excitement, they are now an everyday part of our lives.  One often wanders down our garden, drinking at the pondlet and nosing around by the patio doors or joins the afternoon passegiata of felines parading up and down the back walls.  My fears that Spook will end up a fox feast are hopefully unfounded as Hebe sees the fox off, chasing him into next doors garden and standing her ground until the panicked fox scrabbles his way up and over the hedging.  Or both cats will sit on the wide top of the new fence and leer at the fox below ready to ambush him when he walks past. The young fox appears to have taken up residence in next door's overgrown garden and sunbathes in the same spot every afternoon where Spook often joins him curling up just a few feet away. My worry is that Spook will suddenly display the same penchant for attacking the sleeping fox's toes as he does with mine when I am trying in vain to have a snooze.  This could only end badly.


Plant Mad Nige said...

Gosh, hasn't he grown up! Henry, one of our cats, long deceased, chased a fox out of our garden when it tried to pinch the rabbit he had recently stolen from our other cat, also long deceased who was called Roger. Roger was vast, and incredibly strong - his philosophy in life was: if it's smaller than you, catch it and eat it; if bigger, make friends with it. But even he was slightly scared of Henry who wasn't big but had serious attitude.

Our current cats are two little black jobs, both female and rather demure.

Victoria said...

I see you have proper foxes, unlike the mangy creatures we have in south-west London. Spook is so cute, though. I think I could put up with a bit of "Spooky" love.

Denise said...

We see a chipmunk in our tree in So.Calif and speak in hushed, David Attenborough whispers of awe, nothing like having foxes romping through the garden. My cats would have a heart attack!

Yan said...

Now I have no wish to start any rumours, but I notice that both you and J A-S have been off line for a while and came back on the same day ...

VP said...

What is it with cats and underwear? Jess likes nothing better than a pair of my knickers...

Even WV disapproves - it says tsktu

Anonymous said...

Blimey charley, those foxes eh? Sneaky little devils, up to no good.

Do you think any of them stray onto old territory Rhoda?.. Surely some old hands might recognise them? Are there secure lines of communication round here?

B O O M S H A N K A !


Arabella Sock said...

I've just had to call Spook in as the fox was next door holding something 'interesting' in its mouth - possibly a dead pigeon - and Spook was edging closer to the fox to see if there was a share in it for him.
They are all such a worry to me!

Nigel, Henry and Roger sound like proper cats. Our first cat was a 'proper' cat - came and went as he pleased - but we have' babied these pedigrees so they are rather soft and unworldly. Spook has never been in a real fight and I very much doubt he is as tough as he thinks he is.

Victoria - this fox looks really quite healthy. Someone must be feeding him. I don't encourage them because there are now so many around here and if they all breed the area can't support them all. I would hate to see them culled but equally I don't want them fighting for food here. Spook is both cute and annoying in equal measure.

Denise - I have only ever seen one chipmunk and I thought that was incredibly exciting.

Yan - there are some rumours that nobody is going to believe!

VP - at least Spook isn't out stealing underwear from other people's washing lines... yet! He does bring a lot of strange small plastic objects home, bottle tops and suchlike.

Gartenmeister! Nice to see you - I was wondering whether you were still around. You are not teasing the old fogies on the boards again are you? Although it has to be said they could do with a bit of life injecting into them.

You can always email arabella.sock@googlemail.com to tell me all the gossip!

Roland Paterson said...

If that's your new fence in the photo above, I'd be asking for a refund! 'Retro chic'? Is that what they called it?

Arabella Sock said...

Roland Paterson! Cheek! That is NOT my new fence but at least that has faded to a nice silvery grey unlike my new yellowy gold one.

James A-S said...

I worry that Spook's collar is too tight.
Regard the bulging eyeballs and look of choked surprise in Picture One.

Arabella Sock said...

James, Spook always looks astonished. Astonished there is no more food in his bowl. Astonished he can't go out to play. Astonished that after half an hour we want to go to sleep and not play fetch any more.

Anyway I can tell you are very taken with him and for this reason, should anything happen to myself and the Bedsock we will leave Hebe and Spook to you. I'm sure they will be more than happy at Blackpitts and they will come with a list of needs, likes and dislikes and OCDs and nasty habits that you will have to put up with.