Sunday, 23 March 2014

The story of the Helpless Cat

We have lived in Dubai for some time now and have been pet free for all of that time, for a few reasons.

1.      We do not want to leave pets behind again ever.

2.      I am allergic to cats.

3.      We lived in an apartment for almost 7 years and we don’t think that is an ideal place for a pet dog.

4.      I love birds but prefer them outdoors rather than in a cage.  And anyway they are not furry and snuggley.

None of these, however, stops me from wanting a pet. I try and find opportunities to get a pet by accident. That way it is “fate” and beyond my control.  Etc., etc., et bloody silly cetera.  This is a bit of a tug of war within the confine of the space between my ears. In this context it is hard to call it a functioning thinking brain.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a request from one of the “let’s be kind to pets groups” ( K9 Friends and Feline Friends do wonderful work in Dubai by the way) asking for someone to foster a lovely looking dog and her puppies for a few weeks. Philip was home so it’s not like the dog would be alone all day and it was just for a few weeks. And I would get a pet fix. I thought it was a brilliant idea. Win, win really. Bryan flatly refused to even discuss the matter. I tried showing him pictures of the dog and the pups. So sweet!  He would not even look at them. He was like a two year old in stubborn mode. I would try and say something and he would not even let me finish he just said “No.” and walked away. I followed, I started “But Bryan just for a couple of weeks look cute dog cute pu-“ “No.” You get the picture.

I feed birds in my Garden. I get miffed with and at the neighbourhood cats who stalk the area around my bird feeder. They sit there with greedy eyes, swishing their tails and twitching their whiskers in anticipation of a kill and chasing away the birds. I am in a no win situation here.  I chase cats but I want an accidental pet. You see the logic? Neither do I.

One day last week, when Bryan and I arrived home from work, I spotted a seriously manky looking cat in the garden. I have seen this cat before- not looking so bedraggled) and I always shoo the cat away. Well in my head I am shooing the cat away in reality I start off shooing and when that does not work I get cross with the cat for not retracting to my courteous indication of a lack of welcome and I become a fish wife metaphorically slamming two pan together and screeching (not metaphorically) at the cat to “F off out of my garden and leave MY birds alone.” So on this particular day  I did what I habitually do and started off with the gently shooing.  The cat looked up at me with big plaintive eyes  instead of with  a disdainful toss of the head and bottom presenting  tail in the air that I usually get. I felt dreadful for the poor thing. I tiptoed up closer, cooing and calling.  It looked more pathetic and sorrier close up. I told Bryan that we had to help the cat. Bryan said “No absolutely not. Leave the cat alone it will go home if it needs help.”   Well anyone knows that any self-respecting home having cat would not let itself get into this condition and nor would its owners. “Please Bryan,” said I (like I need his permission but we are a team right?) “we need to help the cat. Go inside and get some milk and I will try and coax it closer.” Bryan said “No.”  So off I went in a strop of indignation muttering about what a cold bastard he was. Glaring at him, and asking him why he was being so mean when usually he was a complete softy about the weak and ailing. He said “I am not getting involved. If we feed this bloody animal it will be the beginning of the end and we will have a cat in the house and you will be sorry because we agreed that we do not want a pet and then it will be my problem.”  We did  agree and he is right and it will be his problem if I am sneezing and scratching all day because of allergies and I will mope about and make it his problem. Well that is what I do. I live to give Bryan purpose.  But that is all beside the point. I was stung by his cruelty and felt bad for the cat. So I went indoors and poured a saucer of milk.  I took it out and called for the cat who looked suspiciously at me and the milk some of its previous disdain returning. I left the cat in peace thinking it would come and get the milk in its own time.

I went back into the kitchen where I could watch. Bryan was hovering outside - so much for not getting involved and not caring. He says “Penny your cat is not much interested in your milk.”

I heard a bird sing in a tree nearby. So did the cat and she/ he / it was off like lightening after its quarry. Gracefully leaping up into the air onto a high wall and slinking along all of a twitch on the hunt. Bloody Ratfink of a Low Life Cat. All vigor and verve and joy do vive was that minxy, moggy.  Drink my milk. Ha that would be the day.

Now I have a dilemma. I don’t want the cat in my garden especially as it is clearly a hunter. I don’t want to be cruel to it. I feel morally bound to keep an eye on it. If it does not have a home hunting is how it is feeding itself.  I don’t want to feed it as then it will stay in my garden.  I don’t want it to starve.  And let us not forget that it has turned up its nose at my milk offering. The circle of life my friends is not simple.

Even though I know this.... I still dream of having a cat.
PS: Whilst getting the links to Feline Friends and K9 I trawled through their web pages.  There are lots of way you can help these organisations. I still love the idea of fostering a dog or a cat but if ,like me, you have a supremely sensible spouse there are other things you can do. You can ,for example, walk dogs.

I have also found some very useful advice from Feline Friends about how to feed a stray cat. and what to do if you find a stray cat.


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