Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Why cats invented Christmas

The Victorians are usually credited with the invention of Christmas as we know it: the decorations, the sending of cards, the carol-singing. I believe, however, that if historians dug a little deeper they would discover that the inventor of our Christmas traditions could have been one thing only. Feline.

Let’s start with the Christmas meal. A 15lb bird – large enough to feed a family of 6 for a week – is crammed into an oven barely big enough to accommodate it, left to cook for half a day, then served with so many accompaniments that even the heartiest family can barely make a dent in its flesh. What possible reason would a human have for devising such a wasteful, impractical menu? To a cat, on the other hand, the weeks of leftover turkey scraps would be not just a happy accident, but a crucial factor in the planning. For who else in the house can bear to eat any more turkey after the Christmas meal is over, but the family cat?

Similarly, why would a human want to stick a real six-foot tree in the middle of their living room, usually necessitating the rearrangement of furniture to make room for it? And let’s not forget the irritation of constantly-dropping pine needles all over the carpet from the moment the delicate Scandinavian evergreen comes into contact with your full-blast central heating. For a human, the tree is nothing but hassle. To a cat, however, it is a ready-made climbing frame and scratching post, replete with tantalising decorations and glittering baubles just waiting to be batted off their hooks.

Christmas morning itself, with its frenzy of gift-opening, undoubtedly has its rewards for humans. But have you ever stopped to consider how you package the gifts you give your loved ones? Endless cardboard boxes, perhaps full of shredded tissue or polystyrene pellets, all encased in crinkly paper… I think you can see where I’m going here.

The evidence is undeniable. All your Christmas traditions were devised by someone with a vested interest in leftover turkey, tree-based play, and cardboard boxes.

Thank you, Father Kitty-mas!

Too bad, Pip. I found it first!

Friday, 16 December 2011

What a difference a year makes


This time last year there was a thick covering of snow across Harpenden, and I spent the daylight hours in the park opposite Nancy HQ making merry with all the local sledgers.

A year on, we have only had a mere dusting of snow, and yet it is enough to send me scurrying to the nearest radiator for some winter comfort.


Drifting in and out of sleep I wonder if I could be getting old. Do I exhibit any other signs of middle age? Certainly, I have taken to eating more in recent months, and combined with my lower energy levels this has resulted in a visible pot belly (which my owners delight in pointing out to me every time I pester them for food).

I also find it hard to stay awake, having to fight drooping eyelids even in mid-conversation, or while watching my favourite wildlife programmes on TV (is the fact that I enjoy wildlife programmes itself a sign of middle age?!) 

Most worrying of all, I find myself sympathising with my step-cat Pip's grumpy moods. When he sulks because his favourite napping spot has been used to store Christmas presents, I feel his pain rather than sniggering behind his back. When he complains about the mud and ice in our back garden, I give a resigned nod rather than rolling my eyes.

Could the unthinkable be happening? Could I be... growing up?

I'll have to get back to you on that. Right now, I need a nap.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Pip - you've been prank'd!

The wintry weather has arrived, so Pip and I have been forced to overcome our mutual dislike, and accept that we do in fact share the same living quarters. For the most part we are able to do so with at least a semblance of civility, but there are still occasional flashpoints.

Yesterday, for instance, saw me fall victim to a completely unprovoked physical assault by Pip, resulting in tufts of black fur (mine) being gouged out all over the living room carpet. As Pip is undeniably larger and stronger than me I was forced to concede defeat. However, like David to Pip's Goliath, I used my brain to come up with a payback plan.

As you will see from the photo below, I think justice has been served admirably, with the help of a tube of hair lightening cream, and some deft paw-work while Pip slept off his lunch.

As you can see from his face, Pip is thrilled to be a walking advertisement for my book, at least until he sheds his winter coat.

That'll teach him.