It’s back to feline guerrilla warfare with the onset of spring and the fact that jolly neighbours next door can leave the house open without risking insta-frostbite, thereby allowing their feline zoo access to the courtyard and other people’s food bowls.
Following Shameless Hussy’s frankly shocking behaviour last summer, next door is now home to an indeterminate number of cats. Fuzzy Kitten has increased in fuzziness if not necessarily in actual size, and remains convinced that she ought to be able to wander in and out of other people’s houses at will, scoffing their cat food and thumbing her nose at the legitimate residents. Not that the residents can be bothereed to stir their stumps enough to prevent their own bowls being ransacked, choosing instead to rely on staff to pick up offending feline and hoof it over the balcony railing, where it sits on the wall and complains loudly about the injustice of it all.
Meanwhile Fluffy Orange Thing, a cat far too aware of his own cuteness, tries to sneak in under the radar while the staff are occupied with taunting Fuzzy Kitten, and has to be likewise removed to the wall, where he too spends the next ten minutes swearing at everyone. And finally when all the brouhaha settles into temporary truce, a load of miscellaneous tabbies – Fluffy Orange Thing’s littermates and carbon copies of local alpha male Thing With Nuts – attempt to walk past disguised as Little Fatty, who as a result now risks being shouted at and thrown off the balcony every time she heads for her own food bowl.
Eric and Little Fatty, both of whom have legitimate access rights to the food bowls, do precisely nothing about any of this and will even sit there and watch while everyone else trots in and out of their territory with impunity. The only interloper guaranteed to arouse their ire is Thing With Nuts, whose arrival provokes growls, hissing and fat tail.
Psycho Bob, whose habit it is to scoff breakfast and then disappear until dinner time, takes no part in any guerrilla action, although his recent return covered in ticks suggests that he might be out researching biological weapons. Having never seen a tick before, I was intrigued, but they turn out to be nasty spidery creatures which consist entirely of gut, vaguely disgusting legs and a collection of interesting diseases, so it was off to the vet for organophosphates and a plastic hooky thing for levering the things off the cat. I wasn’t very convinced about the hooky thing, but in fact it worked a treat, pinging astonished tick off and over the balcony before the cat had time to notice what was going on.
Plastering them with poisonous chemicals proved more of a project, particularly with JC hors de combat and nowhere near fit for a bout of cat-wrestling. Psycho Bob proved easy enough since his reaction to attention of any sort is to dissolve into a pool of fur, but Little Fatty needs subterfuge and a firm hand, while Eric fights like a tiger and bears a grudge for three days. Apparently we have to repeat this process three times this month and then every month thereafter until the end of the tick season in October, by which time I expect to be a) much poorer at over 20€ per treatment and b) scratched to buggery. You may yet see me sporting a multicoloured fur hat next winter.