I have made it to the birthday that I never thought I'd see! Yes - today I am thirteen years old!
It was my partner's birthday yesterday, and we have passed a most agreeable birthday weekend, with cake, gifts and treats of every good kind. It's no small wonder to me that I have reached this age still in full possession of my sanity, my hearing and my vision. I can traverse the stairs, get in and out of the car and bed unaided and I retain my spirited enjoyment of life. How blessed I have been. Particularly as, if you have read my "Evolution of Jasper" series (to be concluded very shortly), you will know that my life very nearly ended twelve tears ago as a bloodied and broken wretch on a veterinary table in Buckinghamshire; after my first "owner" had smashed my fragile little bones into fragments. Yes; I am blessed indeed.
I was basking in the sunshine yesterday morning, before my partner and I met her parents for coffee and birthday cake, when my perfectly agreeable day was spoiled by the arrival of the scourge of the neighbourhood and Satan's accredited representative on Earth, Peaches the cat (I cannot bear to launch into another description of the wretch. Should you so desire, you can read an introduction to Peaches and his revolting nature here: Peaches: An Introduction).
I groaned inwardly, as Peaches sauntered nonchalantly over to my fence, his tail twitching from side to side. Entirely uninvited, he leapt the fence in a single bound and padded up to me.
"Good morning, Jasper." he simpered, all false purrs and smiles.
"Get out of my garden." I grunted, not bothering to acknowledge his greeting as I racked my brain to try and fathom what he was up to.
"Ha!" snorted the black creature from Hades. "I heard that you had died. I was coming over in the hope of being able to dance on your grave."
"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." I muttered, quoting Twain. "I'm happy to disappoint you."
"Still," purred Peaches, "You don't look well. Oh, not well at all... It's tragic to see you looking so old and haggard, with your grey fur and wasted muscles..."
I let him burble on, determined to deny him the satisfaction of needling me into an angry response.
What the bl**dy hell is the purpose of cats anyway?! What are they for? What do they want?
I'll admit that there are those cats whose company I will tolerate - Honey and Kittenjasper from the house opposite, for example, though I doubt that I am high in their favour after I liberated a young shrew they'd caught earlier in the day. I couldn't see the poor innocent tortured to death, however, so my conscience is not pricking me too badly.
I don't know if you are, as I am, a fan of the very excellent "QI" - QI Website. My partner has a QI book, called "The Book of Animal Ignorance" - a slender but fascinating tome containing all sorts of arresting facts about members of the animal kingdom. Here is a portion of what the QI Elves have to say about cats:
"Cats spend 85% of their day doing absolutely nothing. Eating, drinking, killing, cr*pping and mating take up just 4% of their life. The other 10% is used just to get around. Otherwise they are asleep, or just sitting."
The piece goes on to say:
"Today, only a quarter of American cat 'owners' say they deliberately went out to acquire a cat; in 75% of cases it was the cat that acquired them. And studies have shown that many more people claim to own a cat than than there are cats. When your cat disappears for a while it is not, in fact, off on a hunting expedition, it is next-door-but-one having another free meal or asleep on the window-sill with one or another of its many doting 'owners'. Cats need to eat the equivalent of five mice a day. A cat given unlimited access to food will only eat a mouse-sized portion at a single meal. Is your cat eating five meals a day ? Of course not: its dining out elsewhere, later."
I knew I was right to despise them. Wretched little free-loaders.
All throughout my ponderings on cats, Peaches mewed on with a variety of disparaging remarks about death and disintegrating health in general and me in particular. I opened my eyes and squinted at him in the sunshine as he continued.
"...and so when they bury you, I will be able to use your grave as my special toilet - I can't wait to empty myself out all over your manky old carcass. Finally you will be useful."
"Well, it's important to have a dream..." I muttered.
"And I can't imagine you'll smell any worse when you're mouldering in the Earth. You stink like an open sewer anyway - although I feel nothing but pity for all the little worms. And as for th- mrreeoorwrrrrrlllll!!!"
With a lightning speed, unanticipated by the insolent Peaches, I had leapt up and pounced on the wretched creature. My jaws snapped shut with a resounding crack - oh yes, sour Peaches, I am in full possession of ALL of my teeth, hehehe...! As the ghastly beast streaked back across the road to the safety of his own house, screaming, yowling and cursing all the way, some drops of blood spattered down onto the patio.
B*gg*r. I thought, looking down at the expanding droplets. Now he's brought on a nosebleed. (The one open manifestation of the tumour in my snout is an occasional nosebleed from the affected nostril).
I wiped at my snout with the side of a paw, preparing to seek assistance from my partner and an absorbent paper pawkerchief. However, I was surprised to see, on withdrawing the paw, that it remained clean. Checking that no ladies were in the vicinity, I discreetly spat on the flagstone. Out came more blood droplets, accompanied by a few short black hairs.
YES!! I had managed to take an successful bite from the bedevilled hide of Peaches! Now THAT is a birthday treat which we can ALL enjoy!