For the Love of Litter

July 30, 2009

“Oh my Good God!”, shouts The Mushroom, “The Baby’s pooh is black!”

“No, it isn’t”, replies my Dad, “It’s green.”

“Look!”, says The Mushroom, “Black!”

“They’re cherries, love”, says my Dad, “And please move that nappy away from my face. Cheers.”

I understand this. I sniff my own pooh. Perfectly normal. Sniffing other creatures’ pooh, though, is grim. We’re not dogs. The Mushroom, however, does it all the time, proof to me that she is still a far way from normal. I don’t know if she sniffs everyone’s pooh, or just The Baby’s, but whenever The Baby does a pooh, she seems intent on getting her face very close to it. Maybe it’s like that tea leaf reading I saw a programme on a couple of years ago.

I have come to the conclusion that The Hippy is also obsessed with pooh. She is constantly referring to things as being ‘good shit’, and talks about people ‘getting their shit together’. Personally, I don’t go in for too much talk about bodily functions, but she seems to be fascinated by it. She also regularly says, ‘Shit, man!’, which I assume is some sort of command. I can’t pooh on demand. I’m fairly certain humans can’t either. I don’t understand. So far no one has, to my knowledge, poohed because she has told them to, but maybe they did it very quietly.

I have decided that the way to find out more about The Cave Troll is through The Hippy. It is clear that she is under some sort of spell. If I watch her for a day or so, perhaps I will find some clues. I spent the morning in the basement, but came out none the wiser. I was intent on spying on The Cave Troll, but, having tried it today, I have thought again about hanging around in the basement.

My Dad has moved my litter tray down to the basement. This I initially thought was a good thing, as it takes it away from the public thoroughfare that is the porch. Allow a cat some dignity. The final straw for me was the Cave Troll shouting, “Hey! Your kitty’s taking a dump!”.  There I was, poised, and the entire family come to look. I had no idea what they would do, knowing how both The Hippy and The Mushroom are obsessed with pooh. Eat it? Frame it? I was furious with him. I had planned then to leave a turdy deposit in one of his shoes, but he would know it was me and I am still not at the bottom of his magic, so I daren’t. In any case, after a bit of nagging from The Mushroom (which went along the lines of, ‘It’s unhygenic! It’s unhygenic! It’s unhygenic!” on a loop – what does she think I eat? Radioactive waste?), my Dad shifted it away from sensitive noses and prying eyes. The big advantage, though, is that it gave me an excuse to be in the basement. Watching. And listening.

And there was much to listen to today. Man With Missing Hair was back.

“IF YOU KNEW WHERE I COME FROM!”, he shouted, presumably at The Cave Troll, “MY LIFE IS HOES AND GUNS!”. Curious. See, we do know where he comes from. Krakow, in Poland. And why is his life a combination of gardening and shooting? And why is he shouting this at The Cave Troll? Is The Cave Troll torturing him to get information? Why? What’s in it for him? Does he think that by doing this he might get meatballs?

I sat, perched on the steps near my newly moved litter tray, listening for more clues, when I – and The Cave Troll – were disturbed by The Hippy, who, whilst meandering through on her way to something called the ‘Deep Freeze’,  alleged that the basement ‘smells of shit, man’, and at this, The Cave Troll growled, got up from where he was, and said if I left another gift near his ‘work’ I would get my ‘kitty ass kicked’.

Now, let me make this clear. I am a cat. Cats are hygenic – to a point. What a cat cannot do, not even bilingual, computer literate cats, is empty their own litter trays.  But even if  I could speak to tell him this, which I cannot, I was not about to hang around to be tortured like that poor Polish man.

So, my Smörgåsbord of missions remains. On top of this, I really must keep a closer eye on The Mushroom.

All was not lost. I caught a finch. I left it for my Dad on the porch.

I am beginning to become genuinely quite frighened of the Cave Troll. I think he might be torturing people. I do not know this for sure. I still haven’t figured out his magic.  But today, people were down there with him, making a lot of noise, and then he brought them upstairs, and one definitely looked in pain. His trousers were slightly pulled down and he couldn’t bend one of his knees, so he kind of dragged his left leg when he walked. He has also clearly had his head attacked, as there was hair missing from odd places. I know what it feels to have one’s fur pulled, so I pitied him, I really did.

They were all outside. The Hippy was sitting out on the patio, smiling benevolently to herself as she nibbled on wine gums, whilst telling each one that it was beautiful.

“Do you see this shade of purple?”, she asked as My Dad and The Mushroom joined her, “It’s amazing.”

Man With Missing Hair joined them with The Cave Troll. The Cave Troll said nothing.

“Hello!”, said The Mushroom.

“Yo, how hangs it”, said Man With Missing Hair in what sounded like an Eastern European accent.

“This is MC Hardcopy”, said The Hippy, “He’s amazing.”

“So”, asks my Dad, “What do you do?”

“I’m a rapper.”, says Man With Missing Hair.

“That’s your actual job title?”, asks my Dad.

“What?”, says Man With Missing Hair.

“Where are you from?”, asks the Mushroom, perhaps hoping that this question will not cause so much confusion.

“Poland”, replies Man With Missing Hair.

“And what do you rap about?”, asks my Dad.

“The Ghetto”, replies Man.

My Dad and The Mushroom stare. The Baby says, “Apoo”. I lick my tail. Man With Missing Hair continues to limp around the patio.

“Got any Peppermint tea?”, he asks.

So, I ask myself, what kind of torture had the Cave Troll inflicted that made this man, a) limp, b) have his clothes on crooked, c) have chunks missing out of his fur and d) shout a lot in the basement? I don’t know, is the answer. Nor do I know what a ‘rapper’ is. I do, however, suspect that there are no ghettos in Poland, but that is just a guess because I’ve never been.

The Cave Troll sat, brooding, mumbling about wanting meatballs and the fact that he apparently can’t have them as they have ‘too much sodium’. I don’t know what ‘sodium’ is either.

‘Meatballs are amazing’, said The Hippy.

So, I clearly have a mission. Or, indeed, a Smörgåsbord of missions. There are as follows:

1. Find out what is happening in the basement by way of spying on The Troll.

2. Find out what a ‘rapper’ is.

3. Find out what ‘sodium’ is.

4. Find out if ‘rapper’ and ‘sodium’ are in any way connected to The Troll’s magic.

5. Catch something bigger than a frigging spider.

It makes me tired just thinking about it. Best have a nap.

I want that Raccoon

July 28, 2009

There’s a roccoon that lives in the tree outside the front door. I want it. I’m sick of being mocked for my inability to catch anything. There was a time I could fell a seagull. I can still catch flies and that. But I really, really, want that raccoon.

If you’re wondering how a cat from Hull knows what a raccoon is, then it’s because I’ve watched a lot of nature programmes. And not just for the rude stuff. Remember, I have no testiclods.

I suspect, in any case, that the reason I can’t catch the raccoon (or, truth be told, have not even attempted to do so) is because of the proximity of the tree to the porch. Strange things happen on that porch. It makes me feel sleepy. And very, very hungry. The Hippy hangs around there lots, smoking. I know about smoking, but she gets all weird and giggly and I sit there and can’t be arsed to catch the racoon, and then I wander in and eat some biscuits and kick myself (in theory) for not having caught it. Odd. I wonder if it is in any way connected to the Cave Troll? Is it a spell? I know, also, about spells. I’ve seen Harry Potter.

This malaise seems to be gripping everyone except, oddly, The Mushroom. (Oh, and The Baby who just appears to have boundless energy levels, but that’s another story. She started saying a version of my name today. Everyone got so excited about this that they forgot that they are supposed to be stopping her from pulling my fur. In fact, in order to get her to say it again, The Mushroom picked me up, held my paws together in one hand and got me so close to The Baby that she was able to pull my ears. What kind of game is that? Is that even legal?). The Mushroom keeps disappearing for walks. She wraps a long bit of material round her middle, puts The Baby inside it and marches off. What’s that about? I distinctly remember in the days when The Mushroom didn’t look like a mushroom that she didn’t go out at all. In fact, she just kind of stared. It was very disconcerting. But then, so is this marching, especially as everyone else is simply meandering round, looking glazed and eating cookies. Is it because the Cave Troll is related to The Mushroom and The Baby, and thus excempt from his magic?

When I say ‘everyone’ is meandering round looking glazed and eating cookies, what I actually mean is everyone apart from The Mushroom, The Baby, The Cave Troll – who I only see once a day anyway – and my Dad. Although he’s not quite himself either. So really, just The Hippy then. And, er, me.

Sod that raccoon. Can cats eat kitkats?

What Lies Beneath

July 28, 2009

Allow me to explain the set-up here.

This is a big house, and we’re staying here for a while.  The house belongs to The Mushroom’s family. There are two of them. The Hippy. And the Cave Troll. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a little bit apprehensive of the latter, and deeply confused by the former. They both, incidentally, refer to me as ‘she’. I am a ‘he’. I may be minus my testiclods, but that does not a lady cat me make.

There was a question over whether or not I would be here now, as initially the plan was for me to stay in England whilst Dad, The Mushroom and The Baby sorted things out. That got right on my many redundant nipples. After having gone through the indignities involved in getting me travel ready and passported up, to shove me somewhere for twelve months seemed a little bit rude.

Anyway, here we are.

Still not ready to talk about the journey.

And I like it here. Although I do have some reservations.

Take this conversation, for example, overheard tonight.

Cave Troll: That cat of yours… I woke up at 5 this morning to find her opening the door of the basement…

Let’s just stop right there and even ignore the ‘she’. What were you doing up at five this morning, Mr Troll? And why were you down in the basement? I’ll tell you why. BECAUSE HE LIVES DOWN THERE. Now, I know enough about things to know when something odd is going on. He is down there ALL THE TIME. He reappears, eats, then goes back down. Big, loud, thumping noises come from down there. None of this is normal.

Cave Troll: It’s a clever cat, eh?

It? IT? Who am I, Pennywise the frigging clown? I’m a he! HE HE HE HE HE HE!

Sheesh.

So that is one reservation, the fact that they have a big bearded Cave Troll who, at best, thinks I’m a lady cat. And, of course, That Black Dog. Bastard ate my iams today. Everyone thinks that’s really funny. It frigging isn’t.

So I am watching this Cave Troll with a suspicious eye. And if you were wondering what I was doing in the basement at five o’clock in the morning, well, that’s none of your business.

Smokey Joe

July 27, 2009

I’m building up to being able to share my journey to Canada. I’m not there yet. I do, however, think it’s an extreme case of irony that after those 20 hours next to the frigging Alsation, I land up in a house that is home to some sort of Border Collie/Alsation mix and is clearly the size of a horse. ‘Oh, he’s ooold’, they say, ‘He wouldn’t hurt a fly!’. Yes he frigging would. I don’t care how old he is. Fools.

The weeks prior to my arrival here were not so good. My Dad went away to work for a while, after The Mushroom refused to go back to work after coming home with The Baby. Clearly those halcyon days when the two of them buggered off at seven in the morning and left me to watch daytime TV and meander round the house nibbling iams at my leisure were a thing of the past. They had this long conversation about it.

Dad: “We’re not coping well on the one wage, love.”

The Mushroom: “I know.”

Dad: “When do you think you might be going back to work?”

The Mushroom: “I’m not.”

Dad: “Oh.”

Anyhoo, he had to work somewhere called The Middle East for a bit and I stayed with The Mushroom and The Baby and then – and no bugger warned me about this – I went to stay for four weeks with Smokey Joe.

Smokey Joe is my Dad’s mother. I love her. She treats me very well. She buys me presents every Christmas. I was very well looked after when I stayed with her. And there is no one on this earth who smokes more cigarettes than her. I needed a spa day just to get rid of the smell.

All this before I even got in the wooden crate and got on that plane.

It took me a little while to work out what this smoking lark was. My Dad and The Mushroom used to do it. When I was a kitten it really threw me. ‘Shit, Dad’s on fire! Oh no he’s not. Oh, shit, he’s on fire again! Oh no he’s not. Shit, he’s – no he isn’t…’ – you get the idea. Then I realised folk did it for fun. Or when they were thinking. Or when they were upset. Or when they got up in the morning. Or when they woke in the middle of the night. Or when they had a coffee. Cripes, sometimes they just do it all the time. And when they’re drunk, they might as well just seal off the room and sit in a cloud of it.

So, when I arrived here, after 20 hours with that alsation and with fur stinking of Lambert and Butler, I also had to go cold turkey on a 30 a day passive cigarette habit. Unfair.

The Mushroom is called The Mushroom because of how she looks. She has lots of hair and is very little so, in particular in the mornings, she resembles a mushroom. I know what mushrooms look like. My Dad, in his bachelor days, went through a phase – especially when drunk – of experimenting with the food he gave me. There was the week when he kept giving me eggs in different formats. Eggs Benedict. A poached egg. One evening, a raw egg. I’m a cat. I don’t eat eggs. He also at one point gave me sauteed mushrooms which is how I know what they look like. And she, the woman who my Dad appears to like a lot, looks like one.

As I said, she stopped looking like a mushroom for a while but now does again. My Dad took this as a good sign. She is little again. She wears her hair down again. She is back to normal, thinks my Dad.

“She’s back to her old self, Zeebs!”, says my Dad as he combs my fur.

‘Not so fast there, Mister’, I want to say, but can’t, due to the physical formation of my larynx,  ‘I know what she says to herself when there’s no-one else around’. I pity his self delusion, but I see his point. I think everyone was thrown when The Mushroom stopped looking like a mushroom, and agree, at least, that this return to mushroom-resemblance is a good sign.

No-one knows that I can read. Or understand English. I also understand a little French, but only enough to get by. My Dad bought ages ago a print called, ‘Le Chat Noir’ because he claimed I looked like the cat in it, and since then I’ve had hankerings to be a little bit more French. I am, however, from Hull, and there’s nothing even a beret could do to change that.

I live in Canada now, and at some point I will tell you how I ended up here but frankly I’m not over the trauma of being cooped up in a wooden crate for nearly 20 hours next to a frigging German Shepard called Dolly, so it’ll have to wait. Suffice to say, I live near a forest with: my Dad; The Mushroom; The Baby;The Hippy; The Cave Troll and That Black Dog. I love my Dad. I am very fond of The Mushroom, although I liked her more before she got all fat for a while and then disappeared for a week and came back with The Baby (She also stopped looking like a mushroom for quite a while as a) her hair was permenantly tied back in what she called a ‘Croydon Facelift’, although I haven’t a baldy what that means and b) her body wasn’t small anymore. Nooooh. At one point I was worried she might eat me. I digress).  The Baby I have to like because my Dad seems inordinately fond of her, but it takes all my self control not to swipe at her when they let her pull my tail. The Hippy, The Cave Troll and That Black Dog? Well, I’m still getting to know them. But I am not very fond of That Black Dog. Not very fond at all. Bastard.