The cat sits, ears a point, disdainful of his subjects, on a laundry basket throne or next to the TV. All eyes upon him, (of course) he gazes at nothing in particular, waiting to be served. I have never questioned this — I am a cat-person, in his thrall, trained since birth, a hand maiden of the mighty Mog.
‘Don’t get up and feed him the instant he meows!’
‘But he’s hungry.’
‘He’s just a damned cat!’
My husband is not a cat-person — here’s the dilemma — the main cause of tension in our household.
Guinness, The Fat Cat, epitomises the power of self-confidence. He strutted into our house three years ago, stood his ground when the dog rushed up to him. Their noses touched for an instant, the dog was transfixed, then wham, the paw of steel, the dog was dismissed, blooded, dominated.
Guinness moved in with his own household — his man, Midnight. Cat psychologists say domestic cats are solitary, that is nonsense — Guinness has a butler, his own Jeeves, someone to see to his personal grooming, to suffer fur balls on his behalf, to hunt for him, to taste his food, to intercede with the other servants (me and the dog) and to do his meowing.
Midnight, (‘now he’s a proper cat!’ says Alan) is The Fat Cat’s batman, they met in a previous life, not in the army, but in prison — prisoner of war camp — Stalag 46, in Brighton, in the war on the Feral Feline Freedom Forces. The Fat Cat was in charge of escape and very good at it, but so confident was he that he would present himself every morning outside the prison, at the camp commandant’s bungalow for breakfast. After breakfast he was marched back to the pound where the other prisoners greeted him as a hero ( the Steve McQueen of the Cat Rescue). He would eat again and sleep all day, Midnight, The Proper Cat, watching his back.
He, The Fat Cat and his side kick, were released on licence to live under house arrest in Worthing, that pit of iniquity (I was chased by a mugger once in that East Sussex town fallen from glory). Once respectable, it is now a forest of parking meters roamed by drug addicts, prostitutes and cats. Still uncontainable, it was here that he forged links with the underworld — colluding with local foxes, pimps and mini-cab drivers, wandering the streets at night, his were the green eyes under every illegally parked car, his DNA was on every discarded take-away carton.
He came to Wales, under cover — he’s a sleeper, don’t tell anyone. Urban gangster lying low — some say he worked for a Russian bank, no one knows the full story. Now he’s free to come and go he mainly does what he does best — he’s a sleeper after all and. Under his protection, Midnight (his faithful lieutenant and proper cat) does the rest — Farm Cats Inc. (Non-exec. Chairman: Guinness, ‘The Fat Cat’)