The current crop of cats

Maisie looking fetching

Maisie looking fetching

Depending on how you look at it, we probably have three cats, Elvis, Huw and Maisie. And Felix.
Felix isn’t actually our cat, she lives next door. That’s the theory, anyway. Next door don’t have a cat flap, but they do have two small children and a labrador puppy. And a bowl in the garage with some cat biscuits in it. We have a cat flap, a Rayburn, no children or dogs, and three cats who rarely manage to finish all of their sachets of posh cat food. Should our cats polish off all their cat food, however, we also have my wife, who will ‘take pity’ on ‘poor Felix’, and put a sachet of posh cat food (and maybe some biscuits) down for her. It wouldn’t be quite so bad, except that Felix hisses and spits at any of our cats who might deign to walk past.
Maisie hiding

Maisie hiding

Maisie isn’t strictly speaking our cat, either. Maisie’s my daughter’s ex boyfriend’s sister’s cat, whom we’re looking after. We’ve been looking after Maisie for several years now, and Fenny has moved out, and acquired cats of her own. Where Felix is fat, Maisie verges on the morbidly obese. If she didn’t have a head and a tail she’d be like a tortoiseshell ball with paws on the corners. She’s also the archetypal scaredy cat. She likes to hide under things, or behind things, or (impossible for a fat cat) in plain sight. She also tends to crap on the landing if there’s a cat on the stairs. She was the one we took to the vet when they brought in regulations as to how many doses of Frontline you could have on spec (is there a black market in Frontline?). It was a miserable November morning, we caught Maisie (picked up, really), and stuffed her into the ancient wicker cat basket. All well and good. We arrived at the vet’s a couple of minutes before eleven, found somewhere to park, and lugged the cat basket out. Maisie had clearly been watching too many Rambo films. She hurled her full (and not inconsiderable) weight at the grating, snapped the (ancient) leather straps, and legged it. The vet’s receptionists saw what happened and came out to help. Maisie had disappeared into someone’s garden. We climbed over the gate (which was locked) and began trying to find the cat. Meanwhile, some bells began tolling, and everyone else stood still. We spent the two minutes’ silence (and some) climbing into strangers’ gardens in the rain, calling, “Maisie.” If I had added, “Come here, you morbidly obese little bugger,” it wouldn’t have improved the shining hour. We did eventually manage to corner her, and we came away with the Frontline, and the grating tied shut with bandages.


Huw is our cat, named (by Fenny) after Huw Edwards, the newsreader. We got him after Mask died. Mask wasn’t really our cat, either. Mask was originally the neighbour’s cat, called Sooty, when the neighbour lived in East Cornwall. However, after a few years in the warm with the neighbour’s granny, a life of biscuits in the garage seemed less appealing than the cat flap, Rayburn, etc. We did our best to return ‘Sooty’ to the neighbours (once we realised that she hadn’t been dumped here by unscrupulous owners), but ‘Sooty’ had other ideas, and eventually we all gave up, and she became Mask. Mask liked butter (as does Maisie). Huw doesn’t like butter, he likes coffee. Not milky coffee. Ground coffee. It was something we discovered quite by accident. We assumed he was trashing the bin because he’s a little thug. While he is a little thug, it turned out that he only trashed the bin when there was a coffee packet in it. I’ve also found him with his head in my coffee mug, slurping the black sludge from the bottom. His favourite food is cat biscuits that have been shaken in a coffee packet, and even then, he licks the ground coffee before he gets around to the biscuits. Where did we go wrong? Our cat is a drug addict and a thug. His favourite game is jumping other cats. Everyone except Felix, in fact. If there are no other cats available, he’s happy enough to jump the hand that feeds him.
Elvis studying

Elvis studying

Elvis is the elder statescat. At thirteen he isn’t especially old, but he does seem to have Catzheimer’s, and compared with the others, he’s positively responsible. He doesn’t do drugs or crap on the landing, for a start. He does like butter, though, and meat, and wildlife. We got him from Sennen, originally, when Thompson died, and he grew up surrounded by grannies. There was Charlie, a long haired farm cat, of whom Elvis was in awe, and Mask (as above), who was a cantankerous old scrote among scrotes in the halls of scrotedom. Given the way a boy from Sennen could have gone in the circumstances, his predilection for shagging the loo brush (and my wife’s elbow) could be put down to youthful folly. He grew out of both after (or possibly because of) the snip. Sometimes Huw or Maisie will bring something dead indoors. Huw will even occasionally bring something alive indoors and let it go. Elvis turns up outside the front door on a regular basis, miaowing with his mouth full. Depending on the season, he might have a mouse, or a vole, or a bird. Sometimes he catches rabbits, but he can’t eat a whole one, so unless we see him and shoo him out he’ll leave a semi-rabbit around the house somewhere. If Felix finds it, she eats the second half.
Charlie once managed to get a live woodcock through two cat flaps, a feat that Elvis has also managed. Charlie’s woodcock hid among Fenny’s colouring books. Elvis’s made do with the top of the washing machine, where it was almost as well-concealed as Maisie in plain sight. Elvis has also eaten all the usual avian fauna; wrens, robins, chaffinches, dunnocks, tits, etc. He’s shied away from some of the bigger birds, like jackdaws, crows, magpies, buzzards and herons. Not all of the bigger birds, though. Along with the woodcock, he’s brought in several moorhens and some water rails. Most people have never seen a water rail. They’re moorhen sized birds, grey and brown, with speckles and stripes, and long legs. Some of them have heads and some of them don’t. That’s cats for you.

24 thoughts on “The current crop of cats

  1. Fantastic blog, had me laughing.

    We’re down to one cat at the moment, after Greebo, our 17yo, died in the summer. For me, Knut, is a nightmare. She meows at me constantly and mournfully but any attempt to approach her or stroke her results in, at best, 1) the sight of her rear end disappearing out of the cat flap, or 2) some flat eared hissing and spitting, before : See 1).

    At the moment we’re also feeding a collarless cat, who looks a bit thin and we have presumed homeless. (We are tempted to stick a collar and tag on him with our telephone number just to see if he has any actual owners). He’s lovely, and is quite happy for me to stroke him (it’s possible that he’ll put up anything as long as the food keeps coming). I’ve told my wife that I may swap him for Knut…

  2. You’re harbouring a bunch of serial killers, Mr Potts! I hope you’ve realised this. I love cats – don’t have one now as I don’t stay in one place much – but I’m very fond of their particular brand of slightly cynical dominance and the occasional demonstrations of calculated affection. However, they are truly murderous beasts. I don’t miss the decapitated rats and pigeons in my bath. You’ve just reminded me. My dear old pooch just looks at wildlife with mild disinterest and carries on trash hunting…

  3. Haha. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Both woodcocks (and some of the moorhens) survived (unlike the water rails). Charlie’s woodcock turned out to be a record, too, in that it was the latest spring sighting of a woodcock in Cornwall, though that may have changed sometime in the intervening years.

  4. Aren’t cats wonderful? I grew up with a cat that liked eating bunny heads. I have a cat now that is a chipmunk exterminator. She’s nearing the size of Maise. The food I give her apparently isn’t good enough.

    • We don’t have chipmunks here. However, you’re right about the food. If they prefer vole to even the posh sachets of cat food, cat food must be really rank. It’s what makes me argue with people who tell me they want to come back as a cat. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  5. Lovely funny post.Captures the madness of cats! As you know, we have just lost Bart, the most affectionate and companiable cat …his sister, whom he beat up regularly is pining and lonely. As am I. Good to read about your tribe…

    Re: bringing in prey and ownership..a friend’s cat one managed to force a whole rabbit (dead) through the cat flap, breaking it. My friend Elissa’s Maine Coon Mickey (whom I mind in her absence) has been regularly spotted sitting in next door’s bay window by Eliss’as husband as he goes to work. The cat has the nerve to pretend to ignore him..

    • Thanks, Carol. I’m sorry about Bart, but I’m happy to have brought a smile to your face. Many years ago, my mother’s cat pretended to be a homeless stray, and the people at number 2 used to feed him.

      • We once had a cat who moved down the road to some rich neighbours and then looked at us as if to say ‘who are you?’ when we tried to encourage her to come home. She stayed with the rich neighbours. I expect the food and the comfy furnishings were better quality there.

        • We had a cat called Alien once, who was a stray. She didn’t get on with the other cats, but she stayed with us for a year. However, when the Mitchells’ dog died, she upped and went to live with them, and became Cleo.

  6. How funny. Yes the thing about cats is they are all quite different little furry individuals.
    My latest cat, Milly will not sit on anyone’s lap. Although she is never far away and will sit beside me on the sofa.

    • Indeed. Maisie disdains laps, unless the lap’s owner is sitting up in bed. She also mistrusts the sofa, except the arms thereof. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Thanks Francis. I am facing/failing to negotiate with 5 wannabe cat owners at the moment. Handy ammunition to fend off the inevitable until the spring.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jock. I have worse and more sordid tales, but I suspect they’re even less suitable for the ears of at least four of your five deluded wannabes.

  8. We have a cat called Orion. He was born at the end of March this year. Then my 13 year old female Mica (pronounced Meesha- named after Mica Paris the singer) passed away 5th April.

    Orion was from a litter belonging to a friend of my son’s.
    He was only a week old when Mica died.
    We thought He was a She at first so the name given by my son and his girlfriend was Willow to begin with.

    Before that I was in shock and mourning the death of Mica. She loved to chase me down the road when I was going to the corner shop. I was sometimes anxious that she might follow me all the way and be frightened by the noise of the main road.
    She found a spot underneath a big fir tree in my front garden and would sleep outside in all kinds of weather. I don’t own a cat-flap so I would whistle and call her whenever I thought she should come in.

    It was a while before Orion became a member of the household. May or June -I’m not sure which. He was a little rascal with bucketloads of energy. He has thankfully slowed down a bit now. He is exactly 8 months old – today 28/11/13.

    At present he is an indoors cat. I am hoping he will be allowed outside at some point but we are a little afraid of losing him like we lost dear Mica.

    I will fetch some pictures of him at some point to share.

    I am enjoying your blog immensely. : – )

    • I’m glad you like the blog. Cats are characters, aren’t they? Huw looks so pretty, and he’s such a yob. Elvis was once a timid farty kitten. Maisie’s always been fat. I’m sure Orion will turn into his own cat with time.

  9. I was kinda scared to have a male kitten – I have only ever had females. He is hilarious. He follows me into the kitchen and miaows when I put the fairy liquid into the washing up bowl. He miaows when I make my ready brek or bran flakes. He races around the living room at super fast speed then licks naked toes when I am knackered and TRYING to relax on the sofa.

    He jumps into the brown tesco bag with the ladybirds on. He hides his head inside. If I leave any receipts lying around he loves playing with them. He is a bit of a rascal to tell you the truth. However – he is calming down and sleeping more like a cat should. Hyperactivity is limited to times when it is usually annoying. Like when I am in a rush to leave the house.

    We keep him in the lounge at night where Orion has his cat litter, a bowl of water and his bowl of hard Royal Canin cat food – that is if there is any left : – ) . I’m a light sleeper so I prefer for him to sleep on his own in the lounge. He has a two storey scratching post – but prefers the sofa, a cosy specially made cat bed – but he prefers a shoe box, and if I should vacate the chair by the laptop – I will turn and see him curled up and satisfied. In short, he has taken over every corner.

    Orion loves to jump up onto the window-ledge and watch cars and people go by. He hides though when the dust-bin men go past.

    Indeed, Francis, he is revealing quite a character, a loveable little chap. I’ll dig up a picture and take a more current one for you. : – ) when I get some time. : – )

    Bless you for your super blog!

    • Elvis was our first male cat. In the stable in Sennen, he was one of two kittens, and the farmer’s wife said that one was a male. The first of the kittens I managed to catch was a male, so we took the other one. He turned out to be a male, too.

  10. My cat Lizzie really does love me. To prove her devotion she left 3 mice heads at the foot of the stairs this morning. She likes to bring her kills into the house and play with them until they’re dead. She then decapitates them, hence the mice heads, then the dog eats what’s left. It really is like living with a terrorist ( Lizzie) and a necrophile (Jude the dog). Thanks Francis. Made me giggle?

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