CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Mr Fluffy's Progress

Mr Fluffy the squirrel

Once upon a time, Mr Fluffy (the pussycat, a.k.a Balu), his sister Ms Kitty and myself all set out for a leisurely stroll around the garden. We try to do so most mornings, so there's nothing terribly strange about it. Well, you may think differently of two cats on leads, but it works fine, as long as they both want to go in the same direction.

Alright, just once or twice they have walked along neatly together, like obedient little dogs and thanks to the "magic" of reflective glass doors, I too was able to see how bloody ridiculous we looked collectively! :)

Usually, it's a turmoil of tangled leads and half-escaping cats - because, unlike dogs, you can't pull the lead to make them fall into step - and the simplest way to cope with it, involves picking up and shoving one under my arm. Not taking cats out on leads at all would be better for my "street cred", but if one must do it, let me tell you that taking cats out one at a time is much easier.

Balu always finishes eating his breakfast first every morning. He then goes and waits by the door, so I used to take him out while Kitty was still eating ... Then it began to disturb Kitty so much that she would follow us, yowling through various windows, or sitting by the back door crying loudly.

At first I thought it was because Kitty didn't want to be separated from her dahling brother and was crying for him. She would start licking him as soon as he came back in through the door ... Until a couple of times when I took her out first and Balu afterwards, which did not seem to perturb her at all. As long as Ms Kitty is put first, she's a happy bunny, I mean Kitteh.

So she's just a jealous little self-centred prima donna in a fur coat then.

(Manipulative little minx was supposed to be my mother's cat too! :)

Now Kitty has it sussed and rushes to the door, eager not to be left out as soon as I get Balu's harness, so to keep the peace, I take them both.

But Balu, who is certainly "mummy's boy", I cannot deny, would make Garfield look hyperactive by comparison. Recently, he's gone back to that stage of cat walking, where said animal does a fair, if completely useless, impression of a "legless" floor mop. Previously, he was strutting his stuff all round the neighbourhood, now he often just lies down and doesn't budge.

Not even with a strategically placed foot (gently, but firmly) up his tail end.

The fuzzy yellow bushSo, maybe it was fortunate that I was carrying Balu (who also does a good impression of a sack of potatoes with fur on when you pick him up), that day when we got round the other side of the garden, just in time to watch a grey squirrel dancing around at the back of the yellowy, fuzzy bush.

Kitty spotted the tantalizing display though, as the squirrel exited, stage right, making off quickly in the direction of the garden wall, which it was up and over in a trice ...

... and Kitty forgot she was on a lead, as she tried to take off in pursuit of it.

So much for all the nocturnal squirrel watching from windowsills, because lazy Balu made no move to get out of my arms as we ran after it. I mean, as I ran behind Kitty, comically. Because, had I not done so, the strain on the lead might have been enough for her to escape out of that.

Cats don't forget though. The next times I took Kitty out (sometimes I take her out on her own while Balu is under the covers, snoring), she was straight up the particular bit of the wall where Squirrel Nutkin had gone.

home_sweet_homeBoth kitty cats keep sniffing up the back of that bush. I've looked, but can't find any squirrelly Home-Sweet-Home signs inside.

The bank of holly Yesterday, when I was out with Kitty and she was poking her nose up under the holly bank, there was a sudden noise of scuttling as something inside was disturbed by our presence.

Clearly, the squirrels live very close as they dart back and forth inches from the house, every day. Do they know what danger they could be in?

Nevertheless, the squirrel population is safe for the foreseeable, because the signs of normality (well, we don't really do "normal") and confidence are still not frequent enough to trust either of the cats to go out on their own.

Balu's regression to timidness seems to be because visiting neighbourhood cats (including one from next door), sit on our back step looking in through the glass door and the poor little wimp cries his eyes out and trembles!

His howling isn't particularly funny at 2 a.m. either, but it's been since these visits have become more frequent that Balu has started to become reluctant to go out for walks. Not just his refusal to move his arse once he's outside, but sometimes he quivers or runs away and hides when he sees the harness.

Even when they appear perfectly happy to go out, both cats are still very jumpy and easily spooked by any strange movements or noises and indoors, both still spend most of their days hiding under the bedcovers. Actually, this hardly seems like we've made any progress at all.

Mr Fluffy the squirrel photo by haloocyn

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