Friday, 9 September 2011

The Sad Journal of a Stud Cat

This is a fictional account; however there is more than a grain of truth in it, alas.  So if you are a kitten buyer - please make sure you aren't supporting a breeder who gives their stud cat a lonely life in a small outdoor enclosure.  And if you are a breeder, do please remember that your stud cat deserves to be part of the family too.

I am born.  I snuggle up to a big furry tummy and drink some delicious warm milk.  I hear a human voice say “that’s a very promising boy” but at the time I can’t translate humanspeak so I don’t know what it means.
I am getting very fat with all that lovely milk!  I can see fuzzy shapes which are interesting when they move, and am getting around the kittening basket at quite a speed (but my legs go wobbly every so often).  There is a plate of tasty brown stuff that I like to lick, and a bowl of yummy white stuff too.  I have learned that some of the moving fur around me belongs to my brother and sister.  We often have play fights and games.  Tails are fun to play with.  Mum’s tail has a white tip which makes it an extra good toy as she flicks it back and forth invitingly.
Today we have some visitors. There is a human lady and man who have come from a long way away. They pick me up and ooh and aaaah about me and then say I am very handsome and ask if they could buy me as their new stud cat. I wonder what that means? They seem very nice people and suitably adoring of me. My human says she will have to think about it.
Today I meet a furry stranger and jump – then the stranger jumps too, at exactly the same time! He has lots of orange hair and a white nose and white tail tip. After awhile I realise that the stranger is ME. I am in a sort of magic frame which my humans call a mirror. Now that I know what I look like I have to say I think I’m a lot better looking than my brother and sister, who are both a boring brown colour.
For the last few weeks my human has been obsessed with my neck. First of all, she takes me and my siblings in a big roaring thing she calls a car (didn’t that make me miaow!) and we arrive at a brightly-lit place with a man in a white coat. He sticks something into the back of my neck and it hurts, but I am brave and don’t make a sound. My sister whimpers a bit when it is her turn though. As if that isn’t enough, exactly the same thing happens three weeks later. Then a few days later, we are all taken to the same torture chamber and given a really sore neck when they stick in something called a “microchip”. It feels absolutely enormous. Finally, this morning our human put some nasty wet drops on the same spot. What is it with these humans? I am very disappointed in mine – I thought she loved me. Perhaps my new humans will be a bit better. They are coming to collect me tomorrow.
My new humans ARE better! For a start, they don’t keep hurting the back of my neck. Then they give me loads of new toys and let me sleep in their bed. I have to say I missed my dear Mum and brother and sister at first but now life is great. I snuggle up first to the man, then to the lady. Then I stretch a bit and they have to move over to make room for me. Although I’m just four and a half months old I am getting quite big. These new humans also give me nicer food –they open tins of tuna and give me bits of chicken off their own plates. If I pretend not to like the dry cat food (which is really quite nice) they poach some cod or salmon especially for Yours Truly. I have them wound right round my white(ish) paws! They also keep kissing me on the top of my head and on my tummy, but that’s a small price to pay for the luxuries I am enjoying in my new home.
Well, after I’ve been here for a while I realise that I am not the only cat. My new humans kept me in their bedroom for a few weeks “until I got my confidence” they said. Don’t they realise I ALWAYS have total confidence? But it’s fun to pretend to be more babyish than I really am, so as to get lots of fuss and attention. Anyway, these new cats are bigger than me and look a bit like my mum, except they don’t have white tail tips. That is just as well as they don’t like me playing with their tails and I might be tempted if they had the white tips. There are two of them and they are quite tolerant and give me lots of washes. Sometimes I curl up with the big cats in their baskets instead of in the human bed, just for a change.
One of the big cats – her name is Soraya – is acting funny this week. She keeps making yowling noises and sticking her bottom in the air, and sometimes she sticks it right in my face. I don’t know who taught her manners but they obviously didn’t do a very good job of it. I just ignore her and go to play with my other big friend, Suzi, the one with the pretty red marks on her black face. Actually I am fast approaching the same size as these girls, now that I am a whole seven months old.
My humans have been spending a lot of time outside recently, and I’ve just found out why. They have made me and my friends a nice cat garden! It is just outside the kitchen door which now has a hole in it covered by a little flap, so that we can come and go whenever we want. There are some shelves to jump up on and a big wooden tub full of this wonderful plant that makes me all happy. I go and sniff it and roll in it forages. Life is good good good! I’m so glad I live with this family and not my last human who kept hurting my neck. Sometimes I have to pay for my upkeep by going to these things called cat shows, but I don’t mind because I get lots of admiration and sometimes win pretty rosettes. I like the blue ones best as the red ones clash with my fur, but my humans prefer the red ones and sometimes become quite gushing when I win several. There’s no accounting for taste.
I embarrass myself this morning. I am waking up my humans as usual – well, it is four a.m. and I feel like a titbit – and then somehow I suddenly want to wee and have this strange feeling that I must do it on the duvet. At first they don’t notice. The man just says “give us another couple of hours, Rudolph, it’s too early to wake up yet”. That’s what they call me – Rudolph. My real name is a lot longer and posher though. Anyway, after a while my wee must have soaked through because my female human gives a sniff then a shriek, and pulls off the bedclothes. I think it smells quite nice actually – better than that stuff called Perfume that they like to spray on themselves, that makes me sneeze – but neither of them seems to appreciate my fragrance and they are quite cross. I feel upset as I hadn’t meant any harm, and I’ve never been told off by them before. In fact they always say I am perfect (which of course is true) so I don’t like this new attitude of theirs. I go to sulk in the cat garden.
Well, things have changed a lot here lately. I have been trying to train my humans to like my lovely aromatic pee by leaving little puddles around the place, but they just don’t appreciate it. On the other hand, it drives Suzi and Soraya wild. I have to admit that I recently feel more fond than ever of my girlfriends and have taken to jumping on their backs when my humans aren’t looking, which they both seem to enjoy as much as I do. In a way that makes up a bit for the fact that during the daytime I’m shut outside in the cat garden (there is a little hut thing for me in case it rains) and in the night time I’m confined to the kitchen. I find this somewhat hurtful as I am used to the nice cosy human bed, but since my duvet-christening incident they no longer allow me to snuggle up with them. Ah well, at least I can snuggle with Suzi and Soraya.
Things have taken a turn for the worse.  First, my girlfriends are no longer interested in me.  All they want to do is to eat and sleep and they are getting quite fat.  Moreover, I hardly see them as I am not allowed indoors at all any more!  It’s outrageous.  I can see them all luxuriating through the glass while I’m stuck outside in the cat garden.  They have locked the special cat door and enlarged my hut but it doesn’t have any television or armchairs or duvets to pee on and I hardly think it befits my status.   Most days I chase a few leaves and insects and count the minutes until my humans come out to give me a cuddle and a treat.  Some days, if it’s raining or if they are particularly busy, they only spend a few minutes with me though.  What have I done to deserve this?
It’s my birthday! I’m one year old. I got an extra portion of fish as an indulgence and it was delicious, but it would have been much nicer if I could have eaten it in the kitchen with the rest of the family. I’ve not been allowed in there for weeks and weeks, since the Incident of the Saucepan Mistaken for the Litter Tray. I did know it wasn’t a litter tray really, but sometimes I just feel the urge to pee and there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t understand why they get so upset. Most of the talk I hear is of my human man’s Promotion whatever that is – it means we will have more of this stuff called money but he will be away from home a lot. Our human lady only disappears for a few hours each day but sometimes we hardly see the human man and when we do, it’s only for a second or two because he says he’s tired. One day he does come out though to tell me that I should be proud because I’ve become a Dadtwiceover. I wonder what that is? It seems to be something good as he is smiling, so I rub up against him until he tells me not to put hairs on his suit.
There seems to be a lot more darkness and less sunshine recently. My humans have bought me a new bed for my little hut (I pee on it immediately!), and put in a thing called a Heater that keeps me nice and warm. I spend quite a lot of time sleeping as there’s only so much you can do by yourself. The girls are never seen nowadays – they spend most of their time upstairs for some reason. Maybe they are on a diet – they certainly needed it because they were both so fat last time I saw them. Me, I’m not fat. I’m not really all that interested in food. Don’t get me wrong – I get plenty, and a nice variety too, but really I only enjoy eating if I have my humans around to give me a bit of a fuss. They seem so busy and when they come to see me, after a few minutes they say “it’s getting chilly, so see you tomorrow old boy!” and off they go again. Old boy indeed.
Excitement! I have a visitor! It’s a very pretty female called Poppy who has lovely silver stripes and smart white paws. She smells delicious and I flatter myself that she thinks I do, too. In fact I did a few extra sprays just for her benefit and she really seemed to appreciate it. I wonder if she’s going to live with me for ever? That would be lovely! Company at last!
Well, Poppy only stayed for a few days and then she was off home again. We did have fun whilst it lasted though, and she promised to try and come again sometime. I am very disappointed when my new humans take me to the bright place where they hurt your neck, but it isn’t quite as bad as that time when I was a baby. I put on a brave face as always and am told how handsome I am, which is always nice to hear. In fact that is the highlight of my month as not much else seems to be happening and, to tell the truth, I’m a bit lonely.
Now I have only the wind and rain for company. A welcome change of scene comes when my humans take me indoors for something called a Bath. I get given one of these now and again. I don’t like Baths but I put up with them because it means I am allowed into the Inner Sanctum, which is more companionable than my hut. The only thing is, I always smell really funny afterwards. I think this bath is connected with the fact that my humans want me to become a Champion at a cat show. I wonder if being a Champion is better than being a Dadtwiceover? What do all these words mean? I’ve not been to a cat show for quite a while so it feels weird travelling in the big noisy car thing again. We seem to go on forages. My human man is driving and my human lady is looking at a picture book, and getting shouted at. They keep peering worriedly at things called road signs in the dark of the early morning. The car keeps lurching this way and that and at one point I fear that last night’s supper is going to reappear, but luckily I manage to hold on to my dignity. To comfort myself I do a nice little pee in my cat carrier and roll in it. This however does nothing to calm the humans. When we get to the show hall it is horribly bright and noisy with all sorts of strange odours. Some of the other cats there smell delicious, but others make me feel angry or – I have to confess – even slightly nervous. A man in a white coat looks at my mouth and then actually touches my rear end in a very coarse way and I growl at him. How would he like it if I did the same to him? I feel tempted, and stretch my claws, but decide better of it. He looks similar to the man who hurt the back of my neck a couple of weeks ago. I don’t like him at all. My humans put me in my show pen and give me a litter tray, blanket and water. As there are no toys I play with the litter a bit to lessen the boredom. It is fun trying to spread it around as much as possible. After a while, two strangers – a man and a woman - come up to my pen, smelling of the smells I don’t like. The man, who is wearing a white coat, puts his hands into my pen and tries to pick me up. It occurs to me that he might be going to do the same thing as the other man in the white coat. I’m not having any of that! As the big pink hand reaches towards me, I try to hide but there is nowhere to go in the small stark cage, and I am suddenly gripped by panic. I do the only thing left open to me. I give a good hard bite to the hand. It is worth it! The yell that the human emits is strangely satisfying. I hold on for a good few seconds, just so they get the message, then let go and do a nice smelly spray to calm myself down.  There are some bright red splashes from the human’s blood on my blanket. I have never seen human blood before and it does worry me a bit. Later on, my humans come and I am so relieved to see them that I rub and purr and am surprised that they don’t seem as pleased to see me as they usually are at shows. Maybe it is because the silly show people have forgotten to give me my usual red or blue rosette. My humans mutter something about a “biting certificate”. That sounds stupid –who needs a certificate in order to bite? I can do it any time! I know how it works now! I get left alone by the nasty smelly strangers when I bite. I am used to being alone now. I prefer it. I am a stud cat.

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