Merlin, my mad cat

Dear Merlin

Thank you for waking me up this morning by trashing and I mean trashing the entire spare room. Mixing the cat litter with damp soil and stamping soil into the carpet was an extra special touch, as was running round the room flinging everything and I mean everything, possible from every bit of shelving you could reach (ie all of it).

I didn’t know that you could do that sideways thing with your feet as you ran. It made you look double-jointed but boy, was it effective. Sorry I stopped your fun by catching you mid-air as you leapt from one chest of drawers to another. Were you Atilla the Hun in a previous life?

I sometimes wonder if people truly believe me when I talk about Merlin and what he gets up to.  Yes, he does sleep on my head.  Yes, he does pee on people if they fight with me.  Normally the day after the fight, which generates a whole new argument …

Ex-other:          “Your damned cat just pissed on me!”

Me:                  “Really?”

ExO:                “Yes!  Then he ran off.  I swear he was smirking.”

Me:                  *Sigh!  “He probably was.”

ExO:                “So – what are you going to do?”

Me:                  “Nothing.”

ExO:                “Nothing?  But he needs to be punished.  He can’t just go round pissing on people.”

Me:                  “No-one has been able to stop him yet.  I wouldn’t bother trying.”

ExO:                “I’m going to find him and piss on him”.

Me:                  “No you are bloody not.  Oi!  Leave my cat alone!”

It once ended with ExO running round the house, willy in hand, chasing Merlin who had no intention of being caught, led him on a merry dance which came to an abrupt end when ExO tripped over a litter tray, generating a badly stubbed toe and additional housework which I declined to do on the basis that I had not caused the mess.

Merlin is a very bright cat and he gets bored easily.  Over the years, I have sort of got used to his penchant for getting into scrapes.  Now he is nearly 13, I keep hoping he will calm down a bit, to no avail.

When they were about 8 months old, Merlin and Arthur went outside for the first time.  I had my heart in my mouth as I had planned on them being indoor kitties.  However, boyf at the time had already perambulated them round the garden and firmly believed that cats should have the choice.  So out they went, closely shepherded by both of us.  Over time, we relaxed and gave them their freedom, although to this day I check on my cats regularly when they go out.

So there I was about 4 months later, cleaning or somesuch when I got the urge to go and see what they were up to.  Arthur and Guinevere were in the garden, Merlin was nowhere to be seen.  My heart leaping into my throat, I opened the front door to see Merlin, out the front for the first time.  Instinctively, he knew it was wrong and started running.  I decided not to chase him (my first and only sensible move) but calmly trotted alongside him, talking softly.  He slowed down and I sped up and at the end of the row of houses where a school driveway starts, I turned and faced him.

Too startled to turn and run the other way, he went straight up the wooden lamppost.  I made a grab for him and missed.  He kept going.  Eventually, he stopped and realized that he was being A Bit Silly.  But it was too late and he could do nothing except cling on and try to miaow (he has never quite mastered the art but that’s another story).  I went off to grab a ladder and ended up 10 foot up in the air, ladder balanced precariously up the slim post.  The saga finished with a cat on my head, clinging on with all claws, several paws in my eyes all at once and thankfully, I managed to negotiate both of us down the ladder blind and swearing my head off at the pain.

Since then, he has often been caught out the front, the most heart-rending when a car went right over him (he was challenging it at the time, all sideways steps and tail like a bogbrush, a little furry, brainless matador) with no injury thankfully because he ducked; and when he was nearly killed by a dog.  He also mauled my poor neighbour when she picked him up and tried to bring him to me.  He then ran round the outside of the house to put himself back in exactly the same position he was in when I last checked on him.  So I answered the door to poor S, her arms dripping blood and showed her Merlin who was where I had seen him minutes before.  He gave the game away by ducking his head when I called his name, and looking away, shame-faced.

He has recognized himself in photos (he goes burrrrrrr when he spots himself) and knows what a camera is, so poses.  A dear friend came round a year or so ago to take the most delightful photos of them all.  Merlin led her to each of his favourite spots and posed.  She got shots of him sitting, walking, running, posing with his mouth open and playing with his favourite toys.  She said that until that point she had not believed me about the camera thing but she did once she had spent that time with him.

He once came in like a lion, all proud paws and head held high, to spit out something white at my feet.  It was a flower bulb, carefully planted by a neighbour.  He brought them all home to very embarrassed me, one by one.  As I didn’t know at the time which neighbour it was, I sensibly planted them round the tree, where they still flower every year.

He also understands presents, once flummoxing all of us by going into a bag M had brought round full of gifts, on Christmas Eve.  At that point, I had three cats and there were two humans (including me) in the house.  The bag was full.  The cat presents would have been easy to identify as they smelled of catnip but what rendered us all speechless is that he brought out his own present and sat and unwrapped it in front of us.  This was of course pure chance but of all the cats to do it, it would be Merlin.

Merlin gets bored very easily and the example of trashing the place is extreme in that he managed to cause so much damage, but not unusual and I have posted before about the big glass bowl he nearly landed on my head by working out how to push it with his forehead; as well as the times he has flung things off shelves (all ornaments are now blu-tacked down).

My ex-husband reminded me last week of the time when we were woken by a massive crash in the early hours of the morning.  Merlin had managed to jump onto one of the shelves in the spare room, bringing it and everything on it, down with a thump.  Most cats would have run away, frightened by the noise.  Instead, unperturbed, he sat in the middle of a pile of broken things, waiting for me to pick him up and cuddle him (and check him for injury which thankfully, he had avoided).

Aged 6 months, he had an unfortunate incident with the vacuum cleaner.  I was in the middle of vacuuming and left it on when I went to put the kettle on.  In the backroom at the time, it took a few seconds to walk into the kitchen, flick the switch and came back in.  In that time, compelled rather than terrified by the noise, he crept closer and closer and got his face sucked into it.

I walked back in to hear an awful noise and see his dear little face completely encased in the vacuum pipe.  A quick flick off and a check to see if he was still alive – he was and completely unharmed – and a lifetime of vacuum-cleaner-abuse was initiated.  I now take great care to switch it off when I walk away because otherwise he will be on it, attacking it with all paws and teeth (what is left of them) and my machine nowadays is a lot stronger.  He enjoys riding around on it as I move from place to place and will often sleep draped over it (not easy with a great big handle in the middle).

After his reign of terror last week, I let the kitties out whilst I worked on a major presentation.  Merlin continued to dash about, trashing the conservatory, good-naturedly chasing the others and within a few minutes, Arthur had picked up the mood and I had two elderly cats racing up and down the stairs and in and out of the house and garden, pausing only to gather breath before doing more mad laps.

Once finished, the trail of destruction left behind them both was astonishing (RIP three additional plants but thankfully no glass). Merlin decided that what he wanted most was a snooze and promptly situated himself on the back of my chair and fell asleep with his paws on my head and entangled in my hair … peace at last!

This morning I woke up, as usual, fed the cats, got dressed and prepared for the day.  When I came downstairs, there was no sign of Merlin.  His boiler fixation had got the better of him and I found him, eventually, fast asleep, draped across it.

This evening, I came home again to a trashed house and he continued to misbehave.  A favourite activity is sitting on the keyboard, producing beeping noises.  When that fails to grab my attention to a level sufficient to his satisfaction, he swipes the keyboard onto the floor (four keyboards have met their fate at Merlin’s paws this year)

I was quite pleased that he had not indulged in his keyboard trashing and got onto facebook.  I started looking at a meme post (a group of us have a set of in-jokes which started with creating a group for the saving of cabbages some time back, has crossed over into, managed to pick up some of the Silence of the Lambs on the way as well as a Boob Appreciation Society.  So there we were, all being silly when I got interrupted …

I came back to facebook some time later to add my comments on a Louis vs Rick post and found he had managed to add two comments of his own.  I am not sure anyone actually believed me.  As the characters included a colon, it means he managed to press shift plus a key.  On a post derived from a blog post about a cat who learns to instant message his owner.  I would not have believed it myself had I not seen it.  I guess there is no end to his talents!


About titflasher

Writer, blogger, animal activist, people activist, dream-catcher maker, mommy to 9 cats and a roving band of foxes ... Blog name comes from my father's suggestion for the title of my autobiography ... after my mother's and my awful habit of flashing whenever the security police took our photo in the dark old days of apartheid South Africa. I love nature, including creepy crawlies and people, find life fascinating and frustrating and have two terrible weaknesses - nictotine and animals in distress ... can't abide the latter situation and can't give up the former. I'm Pagan but not anti-Christian, funny but quite serious, light-hearted but can be annoying. I am warm-hearted until someone p*sses on me too much, then I get soggy and even. Feel free to link me but all the words on these pages is copyrighted, so copy it and take the credit and I will find you and slap you upside the head, hard. The blog is probably best read via category as there is loads on here already, and I just got started :-)
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