CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Thursday, 18 August 2005

Fair Weather Friends

Everyone knows that cats don't like water, well, with odd exceptions. I happen to have one who will happily stand in a bath of warm water, purring his bloody head off and sensuously pushing into my hands as I massage the shampoo into his back.

(And yeah, he does come out looking a lot like Bert here.)

His brother, Khan, would stand armpit-deep in a metal dog-bowl of water on hot days when he was little and, one day he created great entertainment by doing a kinda triple-jump self-service sheep-dipping dance the length of a full horse-trough. He was dripping wet at the end of it, yet totally un-bothered by the experience.

But, when it's water falling out of the sky, think again! It's been raining here in Tenerife for about 24 hours now, on and off between drizzle and proper rain. Yes, this is newsworthy: it "should" not rain at all here in August.

During a couple of sunny intervals, I let the cats go outside and both times, within 10 minutes, the sky began to get dark. Please note, it only "looked like" it was going to rain again, it hadn't actually gotten around to doing it. And, both of those times, all FIVE cats (not just one or some of them) filed indoors of their own accord. Wimps!

I find this especially curious, because I have had to keep them in quite a lot recently for their safety. So you'd imagine, rain or shine, they'd be dying to go out.

Ah yes, our "wild tiger" - the chap with the bad cattitude.

Couple of days after the last episode, he picked a fight with poor Mico, who came in with his white shirtfront covered in blood. I don't like to see them hurt. I do worry what diseases wild cats might have and I felt especially sorry for Mico, because the blood was coming from a hole that had been ripped open under his chin.

The background to this is that Mico was kicked in the chin several years ago. His lost part of his lip, his jaw was broken and had to be wired and I had to hand-feed him soft food for weeks. He still prefers not to be touched there.

And this time, he felt really sorry for himself too. I've never heard him whine and moan and complain, as he did. After cleaning him up (to a nice rose pink shade), I lay him in my bed and he just stayed as he was put and hardly moved for 24 hours.

His "missus", Betty washed him back to white, then cuddled up with him. A couple of times, I had to shake him to wake him up - just to be sure he was still alive!

The next morning, he was right as rain, of course.

Typical man! They just can't take the pain, can they? :)

After I hadn't seen the pest for a couple of days, I thought we'd try and see if I could let them all out. I mean the poor animals need exercise and fresh air too. But within ONE HOUR, just one solitary hour of letting them out, that bastard was back.

Picking fights, caterwauling and making the dog bark.

So, they were locked up again, until either this nuisance got fed up and terrorizes someone else, gets chased off during the hunting season that began this month (no, I don't wish him anything worse), or I work out a way to catch him.

The hope being that with no-one to beat up and no way he can sneak in the house to scrounge a meal, he will eventually get the message and bugger off.

Five cats and one dog inside one, relatively small, house?

You'd be amazed at how well behaved they were - I was - amongst themselves.

No bickering between them - which was the worry and one of the main reasons for removing them from the problem, because they had started to do so (and had never done before) while they were getting picked on by the "tiger". Practicing, I guess?

With me, they were like little kids on the long school holiday.

"What can I do now mum?"

"I'm bored."

"I'm hungry." (again)

One after another, 24 hours a day and, if I wasn't paying full attention - like if I had the audacity to try to sleep or something - the "request" came accompanied by a thump on the nose by paw full of sharp talons! Ain't they just so sweet?

Last week - finally, touch wood - they were able to sneak out for a few hours in the morning without getting ambushed. And you would think, wouldn't you, that after several weeks of being shut up, that they would be off like lightening. Not so.

They go out, do what they have to do and come back, or they sit on windowsills by open windows until I push their bums out! Or, they come out with me and the dog - all in file like ducklings - and come back and indoors again at the end of the walk.

It's entertaining and I'm glad to have them all relatively close so I know they are safe, but on the level of "normal cat behavior", I just can't work 'em out. :)

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