I receive a good deal of tiresome mail about my thoughts on my wife’s two 40-pound cats, Pericles and Bertram. I am accused of having no charity in my veins for overweight, diabetic furballs that get up my nose every chance they get.
There I was, one morning several weeks ago, skipping my way in the direction of the kitchen with only eggs and B dancing in my grey matter, when out of nowhere the cats lumbered across my path at the top of the stairs, sending me surfing down the carpeted steps pop-eyed with fear.
It was only by jumping into the arms of our cook Mrs. Bleak, coming through the front door with the Times Colonist, that I avoided another trip to the emergency ward at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.
What chap would not consider garroting those fiends?
Our lovely house has become a hazardous animal shelter, and I do not like it at all. The fifth Earl of Angus said once: “I shall bell the cat.
In the beginning, I think I did everything that could be expected of a put-upon husband. After all, it was not my fault that out of the blue my wife brought home two twins of hell.
In the interests of compromise, I chucked them under their many chins and then on all fours chirped “dong dong dong,” which I had been told by a great-aunt of mine was the surest way to a cat’s heart. I am almost sure it was Bertram who bit me on the end of the nose.
The next morning, the world almost went off its axis when Pericles ate my kipper. I have been at war ever since, and I fear I am losing. Somehow, they got the upper hand in the public-relations area, so that fully half of my readers think I dislike animals in general. I can assure all that it is far from the case.
When I was a still-unformed boy of about 10, an elderly distant relation left me a dog called St. Paul. The relative had decided at a late age to acquire a dog because his immediate family found him hard slogging and thus gave him a miss, and it was thought the wee animal would provide succour and companionship in the late stages of my several-times-removed uncle's life.
Sadly, he snuffed it almost as soon as the canine was placed on his bed. The last words heard from the old chap were: “I can see St. Paul.” Several attending curates were confused as they had expected if anyone was observed, it would have been the sturdy St. Peter at the heavenly Golden Gates, not the beheaded St. Paul once known as Saul of Tarsus.
“I guess they found the head,” was all one ecclesiastical scholar could think of to say. The orphaned puppy somehow made its way from the deathbed to me, now, irrationally, called St. Paul.
When he came into my life, he was the only playmate I was not terrified of. He did not seem to mind that I dribbled and wet myself. In fact, he appeared quite indifferent to the whole affair; he just wanted to have fun.
My father did take great exception to the fact that the neighbourhood was becoming alarmed by my shrill calls for “St Paul.” Many thought I had taken leave of my senses and was in the middle of being transported by “the Rapture” and might burn our house in farewell. Nevertheless, he was a wonderful dog and a great companion.
My long-ago point is simply that the cats are fiends like no others and cannot be confused with loving furry friends such as St. Paul and all of his kind.
In general, cats kill birds, are selfish and care nothing for anything but their heaping bowls. Cats are not dogs.
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