A small token of your affection? Thanks a bunch, felines.

Cats. Cold and evil, obviously.

You often hear dog lovers, in defending their perverse choice of household pet, assert that the cat is a cold selfish creature which has no feelings for you and will quite probably shit in your slippers if you feed it the wrong flavour of Whiskas.

I put it to these people: when was the last time Fido brought you a present? When was he ever thoughtful enough to go to all the trouble of presenting you with a specially selected and personally regurgitated vole head, placing it conveniently just where you put your bare foot when you get out of bed? Never, I suggest.

Intelligent? I rather think not.

Admittedly, Fido can be trained to do tricks and be obedient, a trait often cited by doggy types as evidence of a higher intelligence absent in the average feline. Personally I suspect it just makes Fido a crawly bum-lick. If I tried to convince the cats to perform to order, they would just look at me as if I’d completely lost the plot. On persisting, I’d probably have to start being careful about putting my slippers on in the morning.

But left to their own devices, cats will more than repay your kindness, excessive expenditure on pricey vet-supplied food and willingness to sit on the floor because they’re hogging the futons, by plying you with choice little delicacies. Who could resist vole gall bladder garnished with bits of grass? A nice family game of Guess The Bird Using Only Its Beak And Left Leg? A friend’s cat once came home dragging an adder by the tail, which provided a whole afternoon’s fun for all the household.

Our lovely moggies have presented us with everything from recycled shrews through assembled rodentry to bats, moths and a swift. The shrews were an early foray into gift-giving, characteristic of kittens – apparently they give up on that one in short order when they find out that shrews taste of ant. This leads me to wonder which zoology PhD student staged a rodent-tasting, what else he sampled, and whether or not he’s out of hospital yet.

Ant-flavoured, apparently. I'll take your word for it.

Moving on from shrews, other early prezzies included a series of live voles, usually offered in the small hours of the morning. Voles, I have to tell you, make an impressively loud noise when they’re being chased around the bedroom by an oversized kitten. And no-one tells you, when you’re there all starry-eyed on your wedding day, that at some point you may have to see your smart new husband stark naked with his bum in the air and his head under a chest of drawers, trying to persuade a vole into a pint glass at three in the morning. If your marriage can survive that particular view, it’s probably going to last.

As your feline companions get older and more skilled at the hunt, you can expect increasingly exotic gifts. The enormous (and quite seriously pissed off) hawkmoth was a memorable moment, and was probably bigger than the bat which eventually had to be put down following an unseccessful attempt on the part of the vet to splint its broken wing with a cotton bud. The bat was a tough and feisty creature which refused to go the usual way of small critters rescued from other people’s jaws and put in cardboard boxes overnight. He wasn’t about to go quietly into whatever good night bats expect even when the vet put him in a box with a load of ether either. If there’s any justice out there he’s been reincarnated as one of those flinty-eyed city types who’ve just dismantled the world’s economy and trousered several billion and a yacht in the process.

Not a mouse, hirsuteness of tail notwithstanding.

I wasn’t there for the rat, which was presented to JC and a friend who was staying overnight, and necessitated the relocation of every piece of furniture in the house before before the two of them managed to corner it in the kitchen, where it turned round, stuck its dukes up and offered to fight. Despite this flagrantly ratsome behaviour, JC insisted that it was just a big mouse – something to do with the fact that it had some hairs on its tail, or other such tosh. They brought a dead one in a week later, and I’ve rarely seen anything so out-and-out ratty.

But the high point was probably the swift, a bird whose feet are to all intents and purposes vestigial and which never lands on the ground. I have no idea how they managed that one – levitation? Time travel? But I can now reveal that swifts are capable of producing an ear-splitting scream, have the strength of ten men and are not keen on coming out from under the furniture if they think there might be a cat in the room.

Now that both Eric and Little Fatty are settling into feline middle age, they seem to consider that their relationship with us is such that it no longer needs the fripperies of early romance. We are reduced to bringing them their metaphorical slippers and being clawed if we have the temerity to turf them off a lap in order to make the tea.

Thank God for that, I say.

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About misplacedperson

Camping and snowboarding for a living. It may not be a career, but it's certainly a life.
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17 Responses to A small token of your affection? Thanks a bunch, felines.

  1. farfalle1 says:

    The first time I gave a ‘cocktail party’ as a young bride one of our cats arrived in the middle of it all and put something in the clog I had taken off (it was a dress clog of course). Oh, what could it be? I wondered aloud, so of course everyone present stopped to see as I emptied the shoe. A grackle head. lovely. But I still love cats.

  2. Newminster says:

    Having been relegated to the dining-room for the evening (there is a coven meeting in the lounge) I must say that this cheered me up immensely. In fact I can’t quite remember the last time I have actually cried with laughter.
    Ah well; little things please little minds, I suppose.

  3. flyintheweb says:

    Nope. Dogs it remains.
    But your post made me laugh like a drain.

  4. mixedabilityme says:

    Can’t stand cats at any price. All that fur and bones…………no way!
    Might get a dog or just stikck to Disney films.

    Great read.

  5. An interesting selection of gifts! I have two cats and live in the city so gifts can be weird and wonderful… over the last year we have had lizards, gold fish, birds, frogs and what looked like a pet mouse! I love my cats…

  6. flyintheweb says:

    Oh well, if it’s gifts…my then dog used to make the tour of the area an bring offerings…toilet rolls a speciality but one day a set of whaleboned corsets..no one ever claimed them, so show me a cat that can e

  7. flyintheweb says:

    continued thanks to my pressing the wrong button…
    that can equal that.

  8. iampisspot says:

    Of recent, I have come to the conclusion that my 2 year old cat is a tad stupid.

    She is yet to catch a rodent or bird, but has so far, ‘caught’ and proudly presented me with the following items: A twig, an empty plastic Yakult bottle, a dead beetle, a pebble and a leaf.

  9. jo walmesley says:

    For pure entertainment, cats win hands down,-and this is from a very late-comer to the charms of felines.
    Many’s the time I’ve rescued a petrified mouse from my sadistic cat, but did she ever get to work on the juvenile, and therefore pretty stupid rats that invaded the kitchen last year? No – and neither did the dog. I guess they were both in the same union, and out on general strike. They’d obviously lived in France too long .
    She met an untimely end on the main road, perverse to the end, as I’d warned her endlessly about French drivers. And I don’t ‘alf miss the little strumpet!

  10. Evan S says:

    Nice one! My favourite from our cats was a Christmas morning gift of seven mice, each laid neatly in the middle of its own concrete slab (coloured, of course – this was Australia in the Sixties) on the back patio, with Duffy (Duffryn ap Myfanwe, to give our imperious Siamese his full name) preening at the far end. I was six, and convinced from that point on that my cat could read calendars.

  11. Anita Mac says:

    OMG – you are so funny, but it is all so true! My girls (both 7 years old) have brought me a gift or two – even a gift twice the size of the giver!!! Thank goodness for winter – a suitable hibernation from gift collections til the spring!

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