CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Thursday, 16 February 2006

Moggies a la Monologue

You'd have to be pretty old (like me) to remember Joyce Grenfell (1910-1979) and her monologues. She made me laugh as a child and I'm still reminded of her daily. For a start, being now mostly stuck indoors, my blinking cats are about as well behaved - and as much constant distraction - as the fictional children in her Free Activity Period. "We never bite our friends." Indeed. I beg to differ!

I have a distinct feeling that, as well as building the cat-proof screens for the windows, that it would be a jolly good idea to build them a play centre.

Or sew the little buggers straight jackets, maybe!

So, until March and the possible arrival of migrating birds from Africa and while we don't yet have those screens to let us all get a bit of fresh air, I've been letting the cats have a short walk each day.

Yesterday was funny, because they were only out for 5 minutes at most. It had been raining HARD the previous night and was still at it in the morning. Little fur people crowded on windowsills and I told them "No, you don't want to go out in this". Around mid-day, the sun peeped out, the excuse wore thin and the whining increased. I opened the front door so they could satisfy their curiosity and I could, hopefully, get a few minutes peace without one jumping on the desk or my lap.

No sooner than I had closed the door and sat down, the sky clouded over again and the heavens reopened for business. The cats probably hadn't got further than the car and most of them must have dashed under it for cover. Mico, was sent back to the front door to gain reentry. He has this habit of standing on his hind legs and rapidly pummelling the door with both front paws, while screaming, claws extended. It's a reinforced glass door, so it has that nails across a blackboard quality to it.

They are not daft. I think they all know he is not going to be ignored!

So, I get up to open the door again. He marches in. As soon as they hear the door open, three more dash up the path and scoot in, skidding on the tiled floor with their wet paws, as they arrive. Nobody asked to go out again.

Today, I awoke with Kitty resting on my right arm, Mico pinning down my left and Balu lying on my chest. (Dog, Betty and Khan were only inches away.) They were trying to wake me up, because, they claimed, they were starving to death.

Well, it was getting on towards 11 a.m., so they might have been right.

(My breakfast, I notice, has to wait until after all their needs are met.)

And, it was a fine morning, so, after feeding them all, they all crowded around the front door. Dog had to go for a walk anyway, so I thought, what the heck, they can have some exercise too. So all seven of us headed out and up the road.

I'm sure there was another Joyce Grenfell monologue where she took the children on an outing and I can distinctly hear her saying, "Now come along children ..."

Children, on outings, in public were supposed to walk in neat double file.

The worst, as cats straggle here, there and everywhere (well so does my dog, but that's a different problem), is that I hear my own voice saying something like it!

Going out with cats is one thing. Coming back with the same number, you would think, would be quite another, but miraculously, they followed like little ducklings.

With a little prompting, of course. "No, inside Betty, please" and "Don't do that Khan" or "Don't bite your sister, Balu", as I round them up and head 'em all back in the corral, but otherwise they filed back in almost as orderly as they had gone out.

It's certainly handy, if a little crazy. It's not even something you mean to do - talk to cats like as if they will understand - and I can't help wondering, as I hear this monologue, if maybe it's me who should be locked up and not the cats?

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