It’s Me – Chapter 14

Someone or something, I thought, and you are very astute, Angela.

“Ok, Ang, I tell you what, I’ll ask the repairman to come tomorrow, it’ll be too late for today, and see whether he can find anything wrong with the door and the photocopier. OK?”

“Yes, thank you Kirstie, I’ll keep these to show him. But that one there, is definitely a cat’s arse, so I am not sure what kind of book we have that would contain a picture of a cat’s arse. Can you think of any? Or even a magazine?”

“No, I can’t think of any, but there might be a special restricted section where they might keep books on cat anatomy or something similar. Would any of the cat magazines contain such pictures?”

“I doubt it, there’s no caption underneath, and why did they go and use my photocopier? I know, I bet it was that bastard Roger up to his tricks again, he’s probably behind this, wait until I see him.”

“But he wouldn’t bring his cat in with him would he, Ang?” replied Kirstie, “we’d notice if there was a cat in the library. It wouldn’t keep quiet would it, they’re always yowling and miaowing.”

Well, actually, you haven’t noticed there’s a quiet cat in the library have you? I thought.

“I’m going to have it out with Roger, you can’t leave representations of a cat’s backside on library property when the image will discomfort a colleague.” With that Angela turned around and headed back to her office. I made a quick decision to follow her no matter what, because I believed that the Roger she was going ‘to have it out with’ worked down the corridor and that she would have left her door open as she was grasping my oeuvre in her hand when she came to talk to Kirstie. I could then make my escape via the window.

My paws scampered towards the closing door. Cats can run faster than human beings if they’re motivated, it’s just that the motivation is lacking most of the time. I squeezed through the gap and then I ran to the door of Angela’s office. She was not there. Then I heard her haranguing someone on the other side of the wall. I leapt on to a box, clambered up to the window and made my escape to the outside. However, I was intrigued as to what might happen next. I decided to lurk. And observe with my ears. Cats exhibit both these behaviours a lot and it’s one of the ways we learn about humankind and life in general. I also needed to calm down a bit as I’d felt nervous in the main section of the library. I could have been trapped in there all night and my new owners might have thought I’d left for good and found a replacement who would eat all my food. My thoughts and self-doubts were interrupted by a conversation in the office:

“I never use your photocopier, I have a photocopier of my own, why would I use yours, when I have mine?” said a small man wearing glasses, who was presumably the Roger spoken about earlier.

“You have a cat at home and I am willing to bet that this is your cat’s arse,” said Angela pointing at my masterpiece of light and shadow, of fur and skin, of texture and baldness..

“My cat is black all over, her head’s black, her body’s black, her legs are black, her tail’s black, and amazingly enough, given all the information I have provided you with, her  backside is black too.” Roger folded his arms and looked annoyed, “this is not Pixie Frou’s bum.”

Pixie Frou sounded a lot nicer than Gemma although most animals sounded nicer than Gemma including spiders, rats, T-Rexs and the toads my mum had told me never to lick because they tasted obnoxious. The leaves of the vine started to become impatient with my lurking. The sky looked grey as though it was going to wet everything with its tears.

“Well, where did these come from?” asked Angela, “who put these images here, if not you?”            

“Angela, it was nothing to do with me. Perhaps it was some schoolboys in the library. They found a cat magazine and decided to play a prank on you.”

“These images are not from a magazine, there are no page numbers, we do not keep magazines of cat bums in the library, in fact there’s no magazine called Cat Bum Weekly or Playcat, the equivalent of Penthouse or Playboy, but meant for people who like felines. It wouldn’t sell very well and the only people who would buy it would be perverts. This is an image from a real cat, either that or the photocopier has thrown a wobbler and printed off the results of its own nightmares.”

“We don’t have a cat in the library, someone would spot the animal, and why would it head up here? There are photocopiers on the main floor and one on this floor for the public to use.”

“The only other possibility is that there’s a phantom cat in the library which we’re only able to see when it takes a photocopy of itself.” Angela looked rather earnest when she said this and I couldn’t help thinking that with her imagination she should write books for a living.

“Yes, well I will leave you alone with that thought,” said Roger, “I think we’re not going to resolve this conundrum. Perhaps the repairman might have a better idea?” With that he walked backwards out of the office and then made a dash down the corridor to his own office and locked the door.

Angela placed the images on her desk and after examining them again, she placed them in her inbox, a two-storey construction made from blue plastic, situated on a filing cabinet by the door. She then sat at her desk and started to weep into her hankie. I felt sorry for her, it was all my fault because I had become overzealous in my desire to produce a masterpiece of cat anatomy to rival those that Rubens had done for humans. Actually, not just Rubens, but Velazquez too. Those were the only two painters I knew because my old lady owner only had two books of paintings, so my learning was limited. I decided to make a tactical withdrawal as the sky had seen Angela crying and had decided to do the same. I slithered down the vine and trotted around to my house, where I knew a seething Gemma would have been practising Sneer Level 6 all day in preparation for my return from the outside world. I followed Sid’s advice and scampered over the roof, before balancing on the still open window and sliding onto the kitchen countertop in an ungainly heap, though my paws were still at 10 to 2.

It’s Me – Chapter 13

I left the dictionary at the letter ‘T’, but moved the pages from those featuring ‘Thuggery’ to a double page featuring the words ‘Tome’, ‘Topic’, and ‘Treatise’, which I thought was more appropriate for a librarian, as I have never heard of thuggish librarians. I decided to inspect this small area, which I believe is referred to as an office. I nose around the desk and imagine my surprise when I see a green bulbous thing in a small brown pot. The green bulbous thing is similar to the five in my first litter tray and is filling most of the area available. My mind is working quickly because I’m wondering how a human would use such a litter tray without receiving a spike in a sensitive place. The lady librarian must enjoy a challenge, that’s all I can say. I can’t open any of the drawers in the desk, because I believe they are locked. There are lots of boxes containing reams of paper piled against the wall at one end. The other three walls contain accounts and internal communications according to the writing on the folders. Some empty boxes are wedged in a recycling bag. This is more of a store room than an office, but the lady has made it homely. There is no picture of the dog, but then she probably doesn’t want to remind anyone of who created the stains on the floor. The only other item of note is a large metal basket with a narrow slit on top as an entrance. There are narrow strips of paper inside and I believe this is called a shredder for shredding sensitive information. I should place the pictures of my rear end in this contraption, but I forget to do so, because I am distracted by the door into the rest of the library. This lay before me and I decide, in the spirit of adventure, to head out and see what is available. Before I do however, I work out my escape route should I be in a hurry when I vacate the premises.

The door leads into a corridor at the end of which is an even larger door. It is closed. There is a noise and I withdraw my head as a male human heads down the corridor to the large door. He pushes a large silver disk on the wall and the door open towards him. I wait until the door closes. I pad down the corridor and jump up at the silver disk with my front paws. There is a slight whirring sound and the door opens towards me. In the room beyond are a few people sitting at brown desks reading books and typing things into their computers. The same dark-blue floor tiles are on the floor. Some abstract art is on display. The door starts to close until I jump up and touch the silver dish again and the door stops. I go to the threshold and look out, deciding where I can run to. Unfortunately, the door closes behind me and pushes me out into the room. I locate the silver dish on the outside and jump up to hit it. The door starts to open but there’s a human coming towards me down the corridor, so I run and hide under a shelf containing some books. The human male looks at the door and then heads towards a female member of staff. They have a quiet conversation involving much pointing at the door. As the man leaves I hear him saying “Well I will report it, it’s definitely faulty again’ before he disappears down a flight of stairs.

I have a good spot for observation. It’s a gift I think that all cats have. They go to the right place to see things. I see the middle-aged man asleep in a chair with a book called ‘Bleak House’ clasped to his chest. A young couple of about 15 are watching a video in Spanish. An earnest student is reading a book on The Russian Revolution and typing some phrases into his laptop. A married couple are reading magazines sitting in chairs next to each other, but don’t acknowledge the other in any way.

The lift doors open and out steps the blue-haired librarian. Her lunch time over, she’s heading back for an afternoon’s work. I remember my works of art are still on the birthing contraption and decide to stay put because things might become interesting. Sure enough a minute later there’s a muffled yell from behind the door and the blue-haired lady is back clutching my oeuvre in her hand and shaking the works around like a fan in a hot room.

She heads over to the other female member of staff.

“These were on the photocopier, and they weren’t there before I went to lunch.”

“Let’s have a look, Angela…..well those are unusual, are these the sort of things it produces when it’s doing a test print, to highlight light and darkness, because they’re all different like it’s doing a test.”

“Well, I don’t think so, this one looks like a cat’s arse, but the other two I’m not sure about, they’re all different like someone, or something was experimenting.”

Yes, I thought, it is a cat’s arse, it’s my arse thank you very much, and you shouldn’t be dismissing it so readily. Those papers could be valuable to someone with an eye for art.

“Wait,” said the other librarian, “you don’t think we’re haunted do you? Tim was saying a few minutes ago that the door suddenly opened when he was coming down the corridor, but no one came through the door.”

“I don’t feel anything cold and clammy when I’m in there on my own,” said Angela, “I don’t feel any presence although I did feel as though I was being watched earlier on, just before lunch, you know that feeling you get when you think someone is observing you.”

It’s Me – Chapter 12

After doing my best for 15 minutes I managed to find the best route to the top of the vine. There were a few false starts and some routes upward led me away from the window, but by a combination of athleticism, luck, and perseverance I reached the window ledge. My paws were sore as the wire from the staircase in my own garden had bitten into the pads and almost penetrated the skin. As I rested on the ledge, I wondered how the rose climbed so successfully without hurting its paws, or whatever rose feet were called. The vine was luckier. It had a whole wall to use and its suckers were attached in many places, allowing the load-bearing to be undertaken at a large number of points.

              When I had regained my breath and stopped panting, I cast a nervous look through the gap in the open window. I saw a blue-haired person typing on a keyboard. The room was lined with items that weren’t books, but instead looked like black files with white labels containing pieces of paper. These files all had red writing on their labels, usually from the first to the last of a month, going way back to over 5 years before I was born. This must be the Ancient History section.

There were some books on the lady’s desk, including a dictionary. I could look up some of the words Gemma had used earlier in the day, so I could obtain their precise meaning, although Sid had seemed to understand what I meant, so perhaps I was doing myself a disservice. There were some other books too: Memoirs of a Geisha, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, and MacBeth. I would just look at the dictionary on my first visit to this library, as it looked large and I would have to find the best way to open it before I could read it.

In the corner of the room stood a large machine. The blue-haired lady, whom I guessed must be called Angela, from Sid’s description of her, stood up and walked over to the machine, adjusting her brown jumper and smoothing down her skirt, as she proceeded. She opened the lid of the machine and placed a piece of paper on top. She pressed a red button and there was a whoosshing sound as the machine worked. It must have all been internal as presently the machine gave birth to another piece of paper. Angela seemed pleased with the baby. She looked at it closely and then pressed mother and baby together. She put them into a smaller contraption and went ‘Yihaahahaha yah’ and hit the top of the contraption with the side of her hand in what I believe is referred to as a karate chop. There was a sharp click and mother and baby were stapled together. Angela went back to her desk and opened a pink pen. She touched certain areas of the mother paper with the pen and then placed both items into a plastic tray, which had the name ‘Out’.

All of a sudden an alarm sounded from her phone – it sounded like the Saint Saens Organ Symphony to my untrained ears. “Feeding time and walkies for Miss Poppy” said Angela, presumably to herself as I felt sure she was unaware of me lurking outside. I had no idea what she was talking about, other than that perhaps Miss Poppy was the name of a dog in her home that had to be exercised in that dependent way dogs have. Remembering what Sid had said, I knew I had 30 minutes perhaps longer. Angela left the door open as she left to feed and walk her dog.

I clambered into the room and dropped gently onto the blue felt tiles, most of which seemed to have been stained by leaks from the roof. Unless that was the reason she wasn’t allowed to bring Miss Poppy into work? I was intrigued by the machine in the corner. I sat on the warm top and looked at the buttons – where was the red one? I pressed the red one with my paw and the machine convulsed before birthing a representation of my rear end. It looked horrible. I had never seen my rear end before not even in a mirror. It looked squashed up, so lifted up my hips and pressed the red button again. This representation was more of an abstract and less identifiable as the hind quarters of a cat somewhere between the ages of 1 and 3. I decided to press my backside into the top quite hard and pressed the red button. This one was a work of art and would have made me some money if I’d been able to sign it and flog it as an original artwork. La derriere de Freddie le chat would have made me a star in Paris I think. Anyway, the time for play was over and now it was time to learn.

I jumped onto the desk and approached the dictionary. It was open at the letter A where I could find out all about archery, architecture, archetypes and more. I pawed through until D for Diarrhoea, yuk how horrible, F for Fascist, that sounds like Gemma, J for Jackboot – but Jackboot wasn’t there, but Jackfruit was, a type of large, Oriental fruit. Perhaps I’d misheard her. Finally, T for Thuggery, acts committed by a violent person or group of people. Right, well, what does this mean? Gemma was warning me that the humans would commit violence using large fruit and shouting Nazi propaganda. Well, what kind of house have I become a part of? I think the key indicator for me would be the large fruit, because there didn’t appear to be any room in the fridge for the fruit, so I deduced the violence would only start once the humans had consumed some food from the fridge and replaced it with large fruit. I should be keeping an eye on the fridge. That would be my task for the coming days, though not when they were out at work writing technical and analysing business. My job title for the next few days would be large fruit analyst.

It’s Me – Chapter 11

“To our left, is the house of Holly the Hamster. You can see her in her wheel at that window,” said Sid, pointing his wing towards an upper window, where Holly was looking out while exercising. Holly stopped and waved her paw at Sid.

“On the other side of Holly’s house, is a 4-lane road that you must never even think of crossing Freddie, because you will get squashed by the humans and their large vehicles. Not even Rufus risks running across roads as wide as that one.”

“I won’t,” I replied, “and who’s Rufus?”

“Rufus is the clever squirrel who lives in the tree straight in front of us.” Sid nodded his head towards a Scots Pine, “Rufus crosses the road straight ahead, which is only 2-lane, every morning at 10 o’clock and returns at noon. He visits his friends in the park. If you want to cross the road to visit the park, I would advise you to go with Rufus, as he is an expert at crossing this road.”

“Good for Rufus,” I replied, “I will accompany him tomorrow morning, how will I recognise him?”

“He descends from his tree at 9:55am on the dot and then assesses the traffic before heading over to the other side. Some days the traffic is heavier than others, young Freddie, so make sure you’re there on time and don’t ever go on your own. Promise me.”

“I promise,” I said, “I don’t want to get squashed by a car.”

“And now I am sure this will thrill a learned cat like yourself, there’s a library on the other side of your house. The entrance is on the far side from here and there’s a car park on the far side too. If you want to enter the library, I would suggest using the window you can see up there. You should be able to climb up the vine and then make an entrance that way as the assistant librarian always opens the window at 8:55am and closes it at 4:55pm, just before she leaves for the evening. Her name is Angela and she has blue hair. She has two dogs, which she doesn’t bring to work, so she goes home at lunch time to walk them for 30 minutes. That would be a good time to read some books if you wish, or to find the dictionary which Angela normally leaves open on her desk, as she wants to make sure she spells words correctly and is using them in the correct context.”

“Wow, you’re an encyclopedia of local knowledge, Sid,” I said, “how do you know so much?”

“We crows share knowledge for the common good, there’s always a sentinel crow at the highest point in the area, we take that job in turns, who monitors what’s happening and reports to everyone else in the crow family. Our squawks may sound a bit mindless, but they’re not, they’re providing updates on what’s happening – gardeners, lawn-mowers, dogs, other potential enemies, some cats I’m sorry to say, all are reported by the sentinel crow. Your master, bless his heart, feeds the birds in the park before going for his morning run, so that’s always squawked about as you can imagine. It’s usually peanuts, no complaints from me, but they do contain lectins that aren’t supposed to be good for you.”

“Lectins? I will have to remember that, lectins.”

“Yes, they’re a protein found in most foods, as you can imagine we eat everything raw, so we digest quite a lot of lectins. They give us gas and bloating, but we’re not fussy eaters at all and we don’t want to starve.”

“What’s on that side?” I asked, pointing my back paw behind me in rather a balletic way.

“There’s a back-alley, Freddie, which should be safe. There are people’s garages and the back entrances to their houses. The alley is a dead-end to your left, just the other side of Holly’s House. In other words, if you are in a car, you can’t turn out of the alley into the major road, it’s too dangerous.”

“Well, that’s an excellent introduction to the area, Sid, thank you so much and if you need any help, let me know.”

“I will do, young Freddie, and look after yourself, we don’t want to be pecking your entrails off the road at any time, don’t forget that. Take care.” With that Sid flew to the kitchen window where he tapped on the glass. I saw a movement in the window and moved four feet to my left to get a better view. Sid was tormenting Gemma, who was swiping her paw against the glass, but Sid knew he was safe. Gemma may refer to the humans as jackboot fascists, but she certainly knows how to eat their fascist feline food in large quantities. Being a svelte feline, I had squeezed through the gap without a problem, but Gemma was too fat and would get stuck in the gap, if she even tried to exit the kitchen by that route. She’s what I believe is called a Champagne Socialist and would undoubtedly smoke cigars if she could strike a match or operate a lighter. I laughed to myself as I think Gemma fancies herself as a feline Lenin, who was one of The Beatles if my memory serves me correctly. With that thought, I determined to make my acquaintance with the vine leading up to the library window. There was a thick branch leading up the wall, which I should be able to use to effect an entrance through the window. I pinned my ears back and remembered my mum’s words to always try and do my best on all occasions.

It’s Me – Chapter 10

“That’s a chain link fence, and you will find it difficult. Have a go now and see how you get on.”

“I will,” I said and stood on my back paws before gripping the wire with my front ones. I attempted to climb but only gained about two feet in height before I had to let go and fall back onto the grass.

“My muscles are aching,” I said, “I can’t get up any further.”

“Well, memo to self, young Freddie, physical exercise is just as important as mental exercise. I want to see you using this fence as your gym routine every three days, until you can climb to the top and reach the window. Will you do that for yourself?”

“I will,” I said, “but until that point, how do I get back into the house today?”

“You will jump on to the shallow roof covering the entrance door from the handrail, you will climb on to the apex of that roof, from where you can jump onto the roof of the house, you will then mosey over to just above the window, where you can hang by your front paws as you place your back paws onto the ledge. You can then sinuously insert yourself into the house through the gap you created in the window by use of your chin.”

“That sounds straightforward,” I replied, “anyway what is that chain link fence for?”

“They train roses up it,” said Sid, “they like gardening which suits us because they disturb lots of grubs and insects and worms and we eat them.”

“Train roses?” I said, “I didn’t know roses went to the gym. Do they get to the top?”

“They do, eventually,” said Sid, “and very nice they look too, very aesthetically pleasing, even if I do say so myself. It takes time but they make it – they show the value of persistence, young Freddie, they know there’s something to be done and they do it.”

“Yes, persistence, you have to keep going, but you also have to know where you’re going. At the moment, I don’t know anywhere else in the vicinity, so where are all these places?”

“Good attitude,” said Sid, “I like that, let’s head towards the front of our garden and show you.” 

Sid walked with a rolling gait like a sailor on a storm-tossed ship and it was unnerving for me to walk beside him. I found myself rolling my gait too – not easy when you have four paws – so that we didn’t bump into each other.

There was a squawking from a tree ahead and Sid stopped to listen.

“Apparently, your cat companion is observing us from the window to your right.”

I looked up and was dismayed to see Gemma looking at me with what appeared to be a Sneer Level 6. It was a kind of Death Stare and meant she thought I was being an Enemy to Cat Kind. I smiled my nicest smile and then ignored her. There appeared to be voices in my head for a few seconds, emitting yowls and hisses, but I blocked them out with some considerable effort by thinking happy thoughts about my mum, about Archimedes and his levers, and about a fridge with its door propped open by a cleverly placed spoon.

After a minute of peaceful meandering whilst heading in a straight line, Sid stopped near the front door and said “This is a good place for your tour of the area.”

“Right,” I said, “this is a perfect spot.” Any place where I couldn’t make eye contact with Gemma was a good place right now, although she was somehow in my thoughts even though I didn’t want her to be.

It’s Me – Chapter 9

I am woken from my slumbers by a tapping on the window. I open half an eye and see a black bird on the window ledge staring at me. I jump down onto the floor and pad across to the kitchen counter and jump into the window, moving aside a primrose in a pot in the process. I apologise to the plant for waking it up.

The bird on the other side of the glass looks straight at me.

“Open the window,” it says, “and come outside, I want to welcome you to the neighbourhood.”

“Who are you?” I ask.

“How do? I’m Sid the crow,” said Sid the Crow, “and I live in your garden and trees. Who are you?”

“I’m Freddie the Cat and it’s very nice to meet you,” I said.

“My family’s down there in the grass,” said Sid.

I see four more crows that look like ducks on a green pond as they meander through the blades of grass with a carefree air.

“How do I open the window?”

“Stand on your hind legs and push down on the handle, that will loosen the window and then you can push your way through using that strong chin felines have for just these situations.”

I do as Sid says and sure enough after a little difficulty I am able to open enough of a gap for me to squeeze through to the outside. It is just as well I’m slim.

“I made it,” I said, rubbing my chin with my paw. I think my chin will need toughening up if I am to do this on a regular basis.

“Well done,” said Sid, “at least you’re friendly unlike that other cat that lives in your place, who seems very stuck up.”

“She is,” I said trying to remember the words, “those she never suffers from diarrhoea and believes that humans indulge in fascist jackboot thuggery all the time.”

“Is that right?” said Sid. “You have a very impressive vocabulary for a young cat, I must congratulate you on trying to improve yourself.”

“Thank you, Sid, you’re very kind. My mum said I should try my best every day to improve in at least one way and I am trying to follow that principle, even if it means increasing the amount of time I spend sleeping.”

“You’re a wise cat,” said Sid, “anyway young Freddie, let me show you around.”

Sid fluttered down and I jumped about ten feet on to the grass.

“Will you be able to get back up there,” said Sid.

“I will,” I said confidently, “I can climb up that staircase there.”

It’s Me – Chapter 8

It seems like the humans have cleared up the kitchen counter, though listening in to the conversation they seem to think a squirrel might have gained entry into the house. I sit on the kitchen chair, starkly wooden and shaped for a human bottom, and tuck my feet under myself and watch them go through their ‘getting ready for work’ routine. This seems well choreographed and organised as they never bump into each other as they move in and out of the room and then, just before they leave, they pick food out of the fridge, place the food into containers where they can still see the food and then place that container into a bag so they can’t see the food. The fridge looks full of interesting things to chew and taste, so I make a careful note of the way the door opens and closes. If I lie on the ground and insert my front paw into the bottom of the fridge, I should be able to use my front leg as a lever to open the door, even though the door has some suction around the edges to stop the door swinging open. I am very good at using my paws and legs as levers and I have studied the principles of Archimedes in this matter – if the distance a from the fulcrum to where the input force is applied (point A) is greater than the distance b from the fulcrum to where the output force is applied (point B), then the lever amplifies the input force.The problem, which Archimedes can’t help me with unless he turns up to open the fridge for me, will be how to insert myself into the fridge before it closes and to make sure the fridge doesn’t close with me inside. I reckon I will need to insert a spoon in the gap that I create with my levering, so that the curved part will stop the door closing completely. The thin handle wouldn’t work and if I used that I’d be trapped in a cold prison, although I wouldn’t starve to death of course. At the moment of potential discovery, I would have to pretend I was a furry loaf of bread or a black-and-white lettuce and hope that would fool them. One of things I will have to practice soon is lying on the ground in front of the fridge to find the optimum spot for myself. I also have to find a soup spoon in the dish rack that I will place in my mouth when I’m lying on the ground.

All this thinking wears me out and I fall asleep on the kitchen chair and I miss the humans going out to work. He works for a credit union analysing businesses and she writes technical words for a utility company. She drives and he catches the transit train.

It’s Me – Chapter 7

Gemma strolls off having consumed all her food. She hasn’t left me any, which is most inconsiderate of her, after all I am a growing cat and suffered the recent trauma of moving house and so need some comfort food as well as some soul food for my soul should it need to depart today for another body. I hope my soul doesn’t do that but I should prepare it for its journey should the need arise. My mum always told me to be considerate and I am always doing my best to uphold her standards.

All of a sudden Gemma accosts me at the bottom of the stairs and gives me Sneer Level 3.

“You are a stupid cat, don’t you recognise used tea bags, crackers, bread, olives, and peanuts? Why did you eat those? That’s not our food you ignoramus, don’t do that again, our food’s down here not on the kitchen counter. We don’t eat upstairs. Don’t give those fascists any further reasons to mistreat us, Freddie.”

“It’s my first morning here,” I replied, “I don’t know where breakfast is served do I?”

“Have you never seen a teabag before?”

“Not a purple one, no, they’re usually brown and taste of tea.”

“These human gaolers are pretentious and drink tisanes, which are teas made of various fruits, plants, and spices. Don’t chew those again and don’t chew the bread.”

“Which one was that?”

“The one your teeth can’t chew properly, the one you that looks like diarrhoea on the counter, because you drooled it all over the place.”

“I’m sorry, I won’t do any of that again.”

“Good,” said Gemma, “we have to resist their jackboot thuggery Freddie and escape from this place on a permanent basis, not just for a few hours at a time.”

With that, Gemma headed away towards her bed. I had a lot of words to look up in the dictionary – jackboot, thuggery, diarrhoea, and fascist. I like to learn new words and practice them when I can in conversation, but I thought I might struggle with those four especially diarrhoea. Using the four when speaking with Gemma wouldn’t count of course.    

It’s Me – Chapter 6

I return to my bed and consider if that was breakfast then I hope lunch and dinner will be better. I am an obligate carnivore and need meat to survive. I fall asleep and dream of eating elephants, hippos, and giraffes. In my dream, someone starts caressing my head when I’m chewing an elephant’s leg and I wake up to see the male human stroking my head gently.

“Come on, Freddie,” he says, “you must be bursting, let’s show you your litter tray and breakfast dish.”

I miaow because I already know where they are but he ignores me and we walk past the cupboard where my litter tray is and the kitchen counters where my breakfast was and down some stairs into the basement, as they call it, the part of the house that’s under the ground. There’s a small area where Gemma is already eating. She gives me a Sneer Level 2. Apparently, my breakfast is in the big white bowl, kibbles and some meat out of a tin. The male human puts me down in a large blue tray full of cat litter and says “This is your litter tray, Freddie, and the red one is Gemma’s litter tray. Don’t use that because she gets very upset.” Gemma gave me a Sneer Level 5 just to emphasize the point. I feel a little embarrassed because I have made two incorrect assumptions. There are no green bulbous plants in this litter tray and no spikes to surprise me if I am not paying attention. The kibbles and cat food taste really nice, a lot better than what I consumed earlier in the morning. Now I have a problem. How do I get my poo out of the tray on top of the cupboard and into the litter tray in the basement? Or should I leave it in the hope it will decompose? Or perhaps they’ll blame a rat or a large mouse? Or maybe Gemma? That wouldn’t be a good thing, my life wouldn’t be worth living. I resolve to sleep on it for the rest of the morning and then explore in the afternoon. What I really need is a small bag to place the offending articles in.

It’s Me – Chapter 5

I woke up to my first morning in my new dwelling. I find my litter tray, at least I assume it’s mine, and make a good job of everything, pushing the pieces into a corner like my mum taught me so they don’t stick to my fur the next time I’m in there. This is plain consideration for myself and anyone else who might want to use the tray later in the day. I hope the humans clean out the tray once a day so there’s no lingering pungency for which I will no doubt get the blame being the new cat on the block as it were. The litter tray is unusual because it’s on top of a cupboard and contains some rather bulbous looking green things with spikes that are sharp. I paw tested the spikes and they penetrated my pad rather easily. I believe this is an unusual item to find in a litter tray and I resolved to discover more about items people can buy to adorn litter trays so their felines feel at home when going about their business. There were five of the green things in the tray, but I managed to squeeze my rear end into a space where no spikes would penetrate my bottom. It was an uncomfortable position to be in, but they say an artist has to suffer for his art and I am virtuoso at poo, so this is my struggle that I will have to endure until I can find a place outside with some soil and burrowing options for burying the offending items so they remain undetected. There’s a garden outside the building next door, which looks promising, and I will have to investigate further after my morning post-prandial siesta. There are two bushes to give me cover and some tall flowers I can crouch behind for privacy.         

Talking of prandial I find some bowls in the kitchen on top of another cupboard. They contain some interesting articles I am not familiar with. One is soggy and oozes a purple colour. There’s a string attached and a small label reading Stash. I presume it’s for me and I chew it vigorously but all that seems to happen is that a sweet-smelling liquid trickles down my throat. One or two small items, some kind of leaf, get stuck in my teeth, and others I swallow. They’re not going to be very filling for a growing cat like myself. I manage to dislodge the leaves with my tongue after two minutes of intensive work. I spit the rest out onto a plate and then investigate the next bowl. This is an unusual buffet breakfast layout for a cat. This bowl contains a light-brown rectangle of crunchy texture that disintegrates when I bite into it. Pieces fly everywhere except into my mouth. Is this a joke? Is this designed so I keep my thin figure? I lick a couple of crumbs from the counter but they are really dry. My luck changes with the next bowl where lies a thin slice of something chewy and slightly sweet. My teeth aren’t designed to consume this item effectively as I tear the item into small pieces but find it difficult to swallow as it dissolves into a brown mess that dribbles down my chops onto the counter. The small amount I do swallow tastes wonderful and so I chew the whole slice, unfortunately consuming perhaps less than 15% of the original. The next bowl contains some small black items that taste quite bitter. I can’t chew them because they’re rock hard and would constipate me I’m sure if I were to swallow them by mistake. The taste isn’t too bad when combined with the brown mess I lick from the counter. The final items are some small, brown items that taste salty. These are crunchy too and I decide it’s best to swallow them whole rather than use my gnashers to break them into smaller pieces. I think a fragment of one of them is stuck in my teeth and I’m not sure how to get rid of it until I realise I will be able to use one of the spikes on the green things in my litter tray to remove the offending item and sure enough, after a couple of false starts which result in a sore gum, I manage to impale the brown item on the spike. I have a good aim sometimes even in cramped conditions on top of the cupboard.