People ask me what it is like to live with nine (Nine? NINE? NNNINE? Yeah, nine.) cats … here is a snapshot ..
1. Forget about greeting any visitors normally. Because those people who wish to sell you things (cheap gas, swag purloined from the nearest Tesco, the afterlife, etc) at the door are not used to several cats all trying to get out of the door at once to say hello/ run around like a little batshit furball going “I’m outside! I’m outside! Oops I’m in the shit!” before running indoors again/ asking for a cuddle/ eating grass etc … You will find yourself running around trying to catch said batshit furballs whilst yelling “no thanks, I am not interested in cheap gas, swag purloined from the nearest Tesco, the afterlife, etc”, particularly as you have your hands full with this life at the time.
2. Visitors you want in your home generally have to squeeze themselves in as at least two cats are trying run out so the regular ones have perfected the knock, wait, door opens, they enter with at least one foot out sideways and one arm extended to catch the cat who is about to (ahem) catapult himself out of the door via the hall unit. Small expressions of “Ouff” followed by “Owwwwwwwwwwww” are not uncommon as Poppet first lands on then tries to scamper off over the shoulder of, your latest guest. Normally, this is the Stalker and it is no longer a surprise when he pitches up with a jacket on, in the height of summer (pre-emptive padding).
3. Any attempt to get into the kitchen so you can offer your guests refreshments will be hindered by at least three cats who think it’s noms o’clock, even if you have just finished feeding them. There will also be at least one cat who has earlier demanded to go out who now wants to come in, go out, come in, not sure, will send you a postcard when they decide what they want. Invariably, their deliberations will ensure that at least one other cat who shouldn’t be out gets out, resulting in a run around the garden before refreshments.
4. Once you have persuaded them that it is in fact playtime, sleeptime or any other damntime that doesn’t involve tripping you up, and you bring the refreshments out, any number of them not engaged in amusing/ annoying/ hectoring visitors with requests for cuddles/ playing/ sniffing rights will want to inspect the refreshments.
5. There will, despite all efforts to the contrary, be one who manages to reach the refreshments with a giant leap. It will be Merlin and his slightly gammy leg thing will ensure that whatever doesn’t reach the floor at first leap will do so when his back leg gives out in a sweeping motion … get used to it. PS there is no true way of getting the smell of spilled milk out of a carpet, ever. Get used to it.
6. Your guests better like cats. Particularly, showy-offy cats. The kind of “look I am satted in your lap and sharing your noms, aren’t I great?”; “look, I can sitz on your head, aren’t I great?”; and “you’re not paying me attention so I am committing ornament holocaust, aren’t I great?” showy-offy cats.
7. You can offer your guests towels (not too bad in winter, a tad uncomfortable in summer) or you and they can just get used to the excess fur. If your guests are going somewhere important you can try and remove the fur with a sticky roller thing which never quite works … tell them to visit yours last.
8. The cats adore your partner. In fact, they love him just a little too much. He can’t sit down, lie down, go to the loo without at least two in attendance. Merlin’s trick of jumping up and sitting on the back of the toilet seat whilst he (or you) carries out your ablutions is fine until (a) you want to use the loo because he won’t move and you will find yourself sitting and shitting with your bare backside directly next to a cat and (b) he leaves fur on the seat.
9. Your guests will at some point depart (with relief). Conducting goodbyes, getting them out of the door in one or several pieces (depending on number), with Arthur insisting on being goodbyed like a person, will take forever and by the time you have managed it, you will be well on the way to gagging for a drink. Except that if you have left the table unattended, your wine will invariably be decorating the table cloth. Sucking it up from the corner is not to be recommended unless you like a little hair with your alcohol.
10. When you have one cat or maybe even two or three and one of them does something bad, you tend to be able to work it out (look at your cats – the two who are looking at you are watching the fun, the one who isn’t is the guilty one, generally). Except in the next instance … when you have nine, they KNOW there is safety in numbers. Forget the guideline I have just mentioned because they will ALL be watching the fun.
11. Of particular note is the “don’t upset Mommi” rule. The cats appear to be perfectly at home with upsetting Mommi. They do it regularly. However, what they are allowed to do, no-one else apparently is … the last epic time the cats decided that a kangaroo court (a cat court?) was to take place was when the Stalker and I had a minor disagreement. Having had a spirited discourse, we went to sleep.
Now, he likes to sleep with the radio on, I prefer silence. I can however switch off – so what happens is that the radio stays on and I employ a kind of drifting meditation that doesn’t involve listening to the same station play the same music at the same time every damned night … but I digress …
So there we were, settling down after a small sniping session and we drifted off to sleep quite peaceably. At some point during the night, the radio went off and I thought “thank heavens for that, he’s also got sick of that excreable fucking excuse for a song that is driving my subconscious up the goddamn wall” …
The next morning, we groggily got up and prepared for work. I was downstairs when I heard the type of yell missing from my life for several years …
It starts as a strangled “whatthefuck”, closely followed by an “OI” followed by a louder “whothefuckpeedonmyclothes” as it becomes apparent that the wearer of such clothes is doing so with the most lovingly applied cat pee close to their skin. And they are now not only devoid of underwear for the day, but they have to go and have another wash …
This one was a champion move however, because whoever took out the clothes also took out the radio … yup, they peed on the plug too.
I looked at the cats, who were gathered downstairs for their noms. “Who did that? Who peed on Daddi’s clothes? Who peed on the plug?” Nine little inscrutable faces turned their heads upstairs, where he was still exploding (as a pair of trousers was added to the tally); nine little inscrutable faces turned back to me.
I swear they all smiled.