Sunday 4 December 2016

Caterers for an independent, hip cat

Patrick McCusker

Published 25/09/2016 | 02:30

If you would like your pet featured in this column please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET
If you would like your pet featured in this column please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET

The Sound of Music is a large lump of a cat the colour of darkness. Daily she presents herself on our kitchen windowsill and yowls and ululates in a steady grinding noise until a volunteer is driven out of the house to risk death in attempting to feed her. We do not own The Sound: who would! Nor would she have it any other way. I say 'she'. We assume her to be a 'she' but no one has had the bravery to undertake even the most cursory of investigations to settle the matter. Claw, fang and fury would not be worth risking in our innocent need to know. So the mystery remains. Stalemate.

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But not a blessed day goes by without her presenting herself for food - and contributes not a single purr of thanks in return. We have grown to know our place; we are caterers and nothing more. It's not that we haven't tried. On two occasions she favoured us by coming into the house. And on both visits immediately sat on the breakfast table; a big no-no.

As an inducement to stay, and be a normal cat, we offered her a basket and blanket in the corner of the kitchen, and a tiny bell and a cloth mouse to play with. She would have none of it. Off she strolled with a telling swagger that such foolishness might entice cats of lesser metal but not her. Out the door she went with never a look back and slunk away under rhododendron bushes.

This is clearly not a cat that would ever sit as a warm bundle of smothering affection on a doting maiden aunt's knee with a waft of gin in the air and the faint sounds of Schubert drifting from another room down a long corridor.

Where she goes at night is a mystery. We suspect she may have four or five other 'owners', each, no doubt, calling her by a different name, and all such arbitrary labels a total indifference to The Cat. She simply conducts her daily rounds from one to the other, ignoring all yammering of affection from each and takes her rightful entitlements, as she sees it, from her providers.

And, notwithstanding the benevolence of her benefactors, she clearly acknowledges no particular pit-stop in preference to any other, nor is she tempted by any with the prospect of permanency. Perhaps, we band of cat feeders are all desperately and foolishly competing for her approval: none succeeding. This cat has it made.

Now where are my thick garden gloves? It is time to feed.

Name: The Sound of Music

Finest hour: When she is not there

Likes: Hmm

Dislikes: Hands repeatedly ripped by her claws

Patrick McCusker Delgany, Co Wicklow

Sunday Independent

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