I’m talking about a cat, of course.
Our neighbourhood has hundreds of them and you can’t move far without being under surveillance from the feline CCTV network.
We have two. Sleek and beautiful brothers, with surprisingly different personalities. A is large, chilled out, likes his food and is very clean. P, on the other hand, is small, lacks grooming skills and is very feisty. However, both agree on one thing, the need to chase and catch anything smaller than themselves.
Our house and garden are bounded along one side by a fairly deep and wide waterway, which is fringed by reeds. This provides a rich, well stocked, hunting ground for the family felines.
Sometime ago, we fitted a cat flap. This went through various upgrades as we discovered that we were feeding half the neighbourhood’s cats and we now have a state-of-the-art electronic model. Whilst this has proved very effective at keeping other cats out, it has failed to stop other wildlife coming in.
How is this possible?, you ask. Have all the water voles been given a toolkit for Christmas? Is there a brainy hedgehog out there who fancies a quick, cat food snack or a mouse that’s fed up with the rain? No, no and no.
The cats, tired of littering the garden with the remains of their victims, have decided that it’s far more fun to bring them inside.
This practise has turned the house into a zoo and I’m starting to understand the Durrell family’s problems when Gerry constantly hid animals in the house (*).
It all started with “Basil”. A large water rat, who escaped their clutches and set up home behind the cupboard and in the wall of our utility room. That one took six weeks of fruit and nut bars to solve. Subsequently, we’ve had a frog in a wardrobe, a large starling in the shower and rats. Lots of rats.
I have to say that the call of “Mum, ….., there’s a rat in the kitchen” has become less surprising than you’d think. Putting bells on the cats collars, has slowed up the flow a little, but as my husband says, “Only we could live next to a colony of deaf water rats”.
(*) See My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.