1. Instead of pretty bedspreads, my beds
are covered with old sheets. Since Spock decided to surprise me
once in a while by leaving a "calling card" on the sheets,
they are now doubled over with a layer of polythene in between.
It was a relief to both of us when he recovered from a sharp attack
of diarrhoea a few months ago. But I'm still living down the morning
the doorbell woke me up. I shot downstairs barefoot because I
thought it was the postman and I was expecting a parcel, trod
in something cold and wet on the stairs and opened the door to
the electricity meter reader with a foot covered in.... I'll leave
you to work out the rest, but it wasn't vomit as I'd assumed at
2. The two guest room doors, which are
side by side, have been roped together to keep Spock out. When
I have visitors, I live in terror of any of them going into the
bedroom, only to discover Spock has been there before them. It
hasn't happened yet, although I did have a couple of guests ask
apprehensively if they were to be roped into the room for the
night once they'd retired. (Just in case anyone's in any doubt,
I don't go that far.)
3. Washing takes twice as long as I have
to de-fur everything before it goes into the washing machine.
After I've de-furred the duvets I'm constantly left wondering
how I don't have two bald Siamese. How can they possibly lose
so much fur and yet still have so much left?
4. Assorted ornaments and pieces of china
are now glued together or have been thrown out as beyond repair.
Neither cat is anywhere near the scene of the crime when I discover
the pieces. Both blame my guests.
5. My bedroom carpet, which is pale and
plain, invariably has a Vim/Ajax covered patch on it somewhere
because Dracs has been sick and I'm attempting a damage limitation
exercise. (It works extremely well for anyone who may be interested.)
6. When buying clothes, one of my favourite
occupations, quality of fabric and manufacture come second to
the all important question, "Will fur brush off easily?"
My love of black clothes has been relegated to the back burner.
I now find, when I'm browsing around clothes shops, that I've
started to move quickly past anything black and am increasingly
drawn to cream, white or light brown clothes.
7. One of my living room radiators has
an old towel or sheet permanently draped over it. This is for
Dracs, who's small enough to fit neatly on the top and spends
a lot of happy hours there when the central heating's on.
8. I am no longer allowed to spend any
time in the bathroom on my own. I am always followed by Spock.
He has yet to understand that, when I have visitors, it is not
the done thing to use the lavatory with the door wide open. He
complains, at length and at the full pitch of his very considerable
lungs. Concerned visitors have been known to ask if he's in severe
9. I used to have smartly dressed days
and casual days depending upon how I felt when I woke up in the
morning. Now I only have casual days. The same few fur covered
and well clicked items are worn all the time and I look longingly
at the other 95% of my wardrobe, also liberally sprinkled with
fur these days (does each hair come complete with a set of wings
and built in radar?), and think wistfully, "Some day".
On the rare occasions when I do need to dress smartly, it means
dashing up to my bedroom immediately before I go out, changing
my clothes at top speed, ensuring that I do not make the classic
mistake of laying anything I take out of the wardrobe on the bed.
(Does fur also have very strong magnetic qualities?) On returning
home, I follow the same procedure in reverse, invariably watched
by two pairs of blue eyes and a running commentary from Spock.
10. Both cats can apparently render themselves
invisible and sneak past me when I go outside to put some rubbish
in the bin. I inadvertently left Spock outside when I went to
the shops one day. On my return, an hour and a wintry shower later,
I was greeted by an irate cat perched on a stone trough beside
the front door looking for all the world like a small garden gnome.
As a result, I have to allow extra time whenever I leave the house
in order to have a head count and retrieve any missing cats from
the great outdoors.
11. I have to share my duvet with the boys
every single night. They get the middle, I get the edges. It is
not unusual for me to wake up and discover I'm in a spreadeagled
position with an ice cold foot protruding from each side of the
12. Bedtime itself is a prolonged affair.
Before he settles down for the night, usually half an hour after
I've settled down and have just started to doze, Spock likes to
bring one of his catnip mice up to bed with him for a quick play.
He drops it by the pillow in the hope that I'll hide it under
the duvet for him. If I do, we repeat the process a number of
times. If I don't, he "kills" it on the floor, very
thoroughly and very noisily. If the light's still on because I'm
reading, the pair of them take turns to inspect the book closely,
from a position immediately in front of my nose. Both cats also
appear to have perfected the art of landing in the centre of the
duvet, from a great height, in pitch darkness.
13. The patio door has to be opened every
morning, even in sub zero temperatures and howling gales, so Spock
can have his morning constitutional and check his territory for
overnight invasions. The door cannot be closed until he is safely
home again. This is repeated every evening as he also needs to
take a final check before bedtime.
14. The central heating is on a lower setting
as the gas fire, which I previously only ever used in extreme
conditions a handful of times in the year, is put on every evening
in winter so the boys can take advantage of the strategically
placed cushions in front of it. (To my surprise, this actually
reduced my gas bill, so it has its advantages.)
15. Sitting on the settee on my own is
a thing of the past. Within 5 minutes, one or both cats appear
out of nowhere and settle themselves down on my lap. They will
systematically push any books, papers or magazines out of the
way. They never give up. Over the months, they have developed
a strategy so that they can both be on my lap at the same time.
Spock, who, compared to Dracs, is a big boy, stretches lengthways
along my thighs. Dracs curls up across my midriff. If I "upend"
him, he will lie on his back in my arms, purring, for as long
as I'm prepared to tickle his tummy. When I need to move, for
example to get the circulation back into the lower half of my
body, both cats take it as a personal insult. If one cat manages
to commandeer my entire lap, the other one does circuits of the
settee looking suitably forlorn and unwanted. Spock who's the
thinking cat of the two, has worked out that I usually sit down
for half an hour or so around tea time. He often appears at about
5.30 and loiters with intent around the settee area, monitoring
my every move. If I have a guest, he uses their lap as a convenient
16. Working on the computer is a continual
challenge. It is next to an open plan staircase. The boys have
discovered a short cut to my lap is to come underneath the banister
and straight across the keyboard. If my lap is already occupied
by one of them, the other sits on the mouse mat. I am slowly improving
at typing with a cat sprawled across my lap, but I have yet to
master using the mouse when all directions are blocked by a large
17. Since I left work, one of my chief
joys has been the luxury of getting up in the morning, making
a cup of coffee and settling down on the settee for a long session
with the newspaper. I still get my coffee, but only after I've
made my bed (see point 1), washed the boys dish, replenished it,
changed their water, emptied their litter tray and brushed all
the stray cat litter off the carpet. I now read my paper sitting
on a dining chair at the table and the boys spend the next hour
jockeying for pole position on my lap. Whoever loses, makes his
presence felt by sitting on the newspaper, usually right in the
middle of the article I'm reading.
18. When I was buffing a small table cum bookcase I'd stripped
to the bare wood, re-stained and varnished (one of my hobbies),
I was startled at the number of cats hairs that had mysteriously
found their way into the varnish. Especially since most of the
work had been done outside in the open air. This leads me to believe
that cats fur also contains homing devices, "home" being
anything with a remotely adhesive surface.
19. Their attitude to my food has already
been well documented in the boys 2 diaries*, but, in addition,
I can no longer eat a packet of Cheese Puffs in peace. I have
a running battle with Dracs, who appears to develop several extra
paws for the duration. He only likes the coating, so by the time
I've finished the pack, there are a number of soggy half chewed
puffs scattered around the carpet.
Would I be without the pair of them? Not
on your life!
here to see some excerpts