It would be fair to say that I am not a happy chappie at present.
I have got an abscess on the surface of my left eye, which is causing much discomfort and necessitated a trip to the vet this afternoon. My partner's mother was kind enough to pay for the consultation and prescribed drops, which are already bringing some small relief. All this is in addition to my ongoing traumas originating from the house opposite, of which more in a moment.
Cancer fans will be pleased to learn that the lump in my partner's breast has returned. Basically, the lump she had surgically removed a few months ago has returned with reinforcements. It is very uncomfortable for her and she is to see a doctor tomorrow. But we do not fear. And, as you know dear reader, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. All will be well.
Back to my feline-based tribulations. The area behind the Acer tree is now resembling a plague-pit for small birds and mammals. My partner made me bury the growing collection of little corpses as the aroma by the front door was becoming intolerable. The bodies haven't been appearing quite so frequently of late; I believe my erstwhile paramour is growing weary of leaving gifts and not getting any kind of response from the recipient. In fact, I have been scrupulously avoiding all contact with the fair Chloe (the smoky-grey cat). She has been hanging around my garden quite a bit - I have been careful to hide behind the settee at the merest hint of her approach. Zac and his siblings have all been confined to the house of late, as they picked up a minor infection from a visiting moggy and have been convalescing in their basket. I have to admit, I have rather missed my little disciple and his flow of happy questions during his absence, but a spy tells me that Zac and his brother and sister are making good progress and will be out and about again very soon.
As much as I had tried to avoid all contact with the kittens' mother, Chloe, I could not help but notice the other evening when the white cat (one of the collared-with-bell ones) from across-the-road-and-up-a-bit-on-the-right casually followed Chloe through her cat-flap and into her house. This was followed some five minutes or so later by a cacophony of raised feline voices. I was intrigued. I hovered in the garden, cunningly concealed behind the recycling bin, attempting to eavesdrop on proceedings. It was difficult to comprehend the whole, as I only bark a smattering of cat. I have enough to carry on a conversation, but in trying to understand fast and angry meowing I sometimes get a little lost. The basic gist of this argument seemed to be a variety of unpleasant, disparaging remarks from the white tomcat and Chloe's anger and distress at his meows. I fiddled with the catch on the gate (my partner was cooking in the kitchen, happily unobservant of my actions) and managed to pry it open with a claw. As I was about to tiptoe across the road for a better vantage-point, the cat-flap swung open and the white tom swaggered out, closely followed by a furious Chloe - her fur bristling and her eyes flashing angrily.
"How dare you?!" she screeched, "How dare you?!" The tom turned and stood facing her.
"How can they be mine?" he growled. "There's only one white one. And it's a girl. Pathetic. How many of the toms round here have you been with?"
Chloe hissed at him and lashed out with her sharp claws. "Say what you like, girl." muttered the tom. "They're not mine. I don't want anything to do with them."
I was disgusted. I had no reason to believe that Chloe would lie about the paternity of her kittens and the tom's casual callousness sickened me. As much as I could foresee the regrettable consequences of any intervention stretching out in front of me, I knew I could not stand by. I could see that Chloe, despite her rage, was struggling desperately against the urge to cry. Taking a deep sigh, I trotted across the road and placed myself firmly between Chloe and the white tomcat.
"What seems to be the problem here?" I asked, in a measured, even tone. The tomcat eyed me warily, and poised himself for a quick getaway.
"Silly bint got herself up the duff and says they're mine." replied the tom. I turned to Chloe.
"Is this the father of your children?" She nodded mutely. I looked at the tom again, my anger at his attitude growing by the second. I had to fight to keep my hackles from rising.
"She would say that, wouldn't she?" muttered the tom. "Useless little b*st*rds."
"Moderate your language when you are in the company of a lady!" I snapped, beginning to wonder why I had not just killed the tom outright as soon as I approached him. He had already pressed all of the "Make-Jasper-Angry" buttons - and was now going back and thumping on them all again for good measure.
"She's no lady." meowed the tom. "Dirty sl*pp*r." Chloe yowled in distress. I quivered as I tried to control my temper. I felt a few rebellious hackles on my neck ping upright.
"Well then, I congratulate you sir." I said, with forced brightness, to the tom.
"Your children will grow up happy, healthy and well-adjusted. They will be fortunate enough to develop into fine cats, untainted by the malodorous hindrance of your foul, worthless presence. That is the greatest service you could ever render them."
The tom hissed at me like a captured snake.
"You piece of fu-"
Whatever his witless insult was going to be, I did not wait to hear it. I lunged at him, snarling. The cat leaped out of the way just as my mighty jaws snapped shut with a loud click. He fled as fast as he could and jumped with surprising agility (for he was something of a chunky lad) onto the 8ft-high fence which adjoined his house and screened his rear garden.
"You wait!" he called in a shaking voice from the safety of the top of his fence. "Just you wait, you d*mn*d cur! I'm going to set Eddie on you! He'll sort you out! Oh yeah - he'll mash up your stupid brain and drink it like a milkshake. You just wait, mongrel! I'm setting Eddie on you! He'll be waiting for you tomorrow! Say your prayers, dog!"
I gave a loud bark and made as if to jump at the fence. The tom shrieked and jumped down into his back garden. I heard him legging it into his house through the back door and shook my head, sighing. Turning and walking slowly back to Chloe, I saw that she looked absolutely stricken.
"Thank you." she mewed, meekly. "But - oh - I am SO sorry. SO very, very sorry."
"Why?" I asked.
"Eddie will kill you. No two ways about it. We are ALL frightened of Eddie. Even Charlie from round the corner."
Well, I had no idea who 'Charlie from round the corner' was, but Chloe was in a dreadful state.
"Who is Eddie, anyway?" I asked, utterly mystified.
"Eddie lives with Kev (the white tom). He's HUGE. No-one messes with Eddie."
I chuckled indulgently. Seeking to reassure the trembling Chloe, I ambled up and patted her shoulder.
"Hehehehe..." I laughed, "Calm yourself, my dear. I believe that I am MORE than a match for a couple of pampered and, dare I say it, somewhat corpulent house-cats."
"Oh, but, my love," interjected Chloe fearfully, "Eddie is not a cat!"
Chloe gulped, and looked me in the eye.
"Oh no." she replied. "Eddie is a Rottweiler."
I fear I may be in just the tiniest bit of trouble...
Good night (for possibly the last time).