Of flat ears and steel paws

Af­ter an ‘unau­tho­rised’ ab­sence from her pets, our colum­nist sim­ply must make amends.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Pets - Katz Tales Ellen Whyte https: /www.face­book.com/ e whyte

I’VE BEEN in hot wa­ter with the cats all this last week. You see, I com­mit­ted the car­di­nal crime of go­ing away for three weeks to visit my mum in Spain.

Some peo­ple think that an­i­mals are some­how above emo­tional wran­gles that arise from break­ing the rules of civilised be­hav­iour but my three cats are par­tic­u­larly good at let­ting us know when we’ve messed up.

Mild dis­ap­proval is ex­pressed with a steely glare and a flat­tened ear. It’s the cat way of say­ing, “Re­ally?” in a Vi­o­let Craw­ley, Dowa­ger Count­ess of Gran­tham, sar­cas­tic drawl.

For heinous crimes, we get a flat-eared glare and then our pet will turn his back on us.

It’s the cat equiv­a­lent of say­ing, “Tell it to the hand” ex­cept you’re look­ing at a furry butt – which should tell you ex­actly what you are.

Our house rules state I’m sup­posed to be at home. As I clearly broke the pact, I was ex­pect­ing trou­ble. So, in an at­tempt to ap­pease my furry friends, I did some pre­ven­ta­tive shop­ping.

The su­per­mar­ket in my mum’s vil­lage makes their own “cat salami” in var­i­ous flavours.

You’d think that our spoilt fluffs would turn up finicky noses, but the truth is that they to­tally adore th­ese. So I bought a huge stack, and hoped guilt gift­ing would work in my favour.

The night I came home, rain was lash­ing down, our street flooded and the liv­ing room was un­der an inch of wa­ter.

As I splashed in, Swooner took one look, squealed, “Meow!” and went com­pletely ba­nanas.

I scooped our kit­ten up, and he was giv­ing me fran­tic furry head­butts, ac­com­pa­nied by high oc­tane purring.

Guido was sit­ting on the stairs, dis­ap­prov­ing of the flood and gen­eral chaos. But af­ter a minute or so, he stepped down and let me stroke his ears.

Tar­get was hid­ing. It al­ways takes him a lit­tle while to ad­just so, when I went up­stairs, I wasn’t sur­prised to see him cau­tiously peer­ing around a cor­ner.

“It’s me, an­gel,” I said qui­etly. “How’s my kit­ten ker­squee­zle?” be­cause he’s a soft fluff and he adores baby talk.

Tar­get was hes­i­tant, and I thought I might have to wait an­other minute or two, when Swooner ap­peared.

He head-butted my an­kles, yelled, “Meow-ow-wow!” and then fell over, show­ing off a tummy that was in ur­gent need of pet­ting.

Tar­get is ter­ri­bly jeal­ous, so this dis­play gal­vanised him into ac­tion. My se­nior cat flashed down the stairs, whapped Swooner out of the way, and claimed me.

We ended up sit­ting down­stairs to­gether, the three cats in­ves­ti­gat­ing my suit­case for scents of their Span­ish cousin, An­nie.

They all wel­comed the cat treats and had some in­stantly.

While the bribery worked nicely, the fur pack went into ac­tion the se­cond the dreaded lug­gage was put away.

All week, I’ve been get­ting the full gamut of flat ears and steel paws an­chor­ing my an­kles in case I tried to make a break for it.

In ad­di­tion, Guido had me on my feet every two min­utes, de­mand­ing to be let out to the gar­den and back in­side, and out again and in – all day long!

Tar­get hung around my neck, dog­ging, or rather cat­ting, my every move.

Swooner went about his busi­ness but kept rush­ing in to check I was still here, with his pan­icky, “Meow?” ring­ing around the house.

I tried to re­mind them of re­al­i­ties. “Other cats are sent to the vet for board­ing,” I said. “You cats stay at home and your other hu­man spoilt you rot­ten.”

But flat­tened ears told me their point was that they had suf­fered, and it was repa­ra­tion time.

While ev­ery­one en­joyed the salami, Tar­get, Guido and Swooner went about their com­pen­sa­tion in to­tally dif­fer­ent ways.

Tar­get loves treats when he sees them but he doesn’t ask for them. As long as he can sit with me, he’s happy. But he does waken me in the small hours for a spe­cial cud­dle.

Guido is an un­com­pli­cated char­ac­ter. Apart from mak­ing lots of ex­tra de­mands, from ear rubs to concierge ser­vice, he sits by the treat drawer and de­mands salami.

He’s tried to cheat his way to get­ting more than his share too, the clever fuzz.

He fooled me into giv­ing him dou­ble shares the other night when I was bam­boo­zled by jet­lag.

Swooner is di­vided by love for cud­dles and food. Our kit­ten gets all the pet­ting he wants but his quest to be clever like Guido failed be­cause he pre­tended not to have had any while he was still chew­ing.

Still, he’s young and ex­tremely clever so I’m sure he’ll work out some ne­far­i­ous scheme.

All in all, my grov­el­ling apolo­gies and amends have helped stave off the worst of the re­crim­i­na­tion. I have not been shown the furry butt of to­tal dis­plea­sure.

How­ever, I think I may have over­done the guilt. Check­ing the stack, I re­alised I can paw over two salami sticks per cat per day for an amaz­ing 144 days.

No won­der Guido’s purring!


Tar­get keep­ing a close watch over his treats (guilt gifts from his ‘mum’).

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