WE HAVE a kitten. It arrived mysteriously while I was at work. When I left we had two cats. Now we have two and a half. It is not as if this is a natural addition to our family. It is an interloper saved, I am told from an almost certain watery fate.While I was toiling over a hot keyboard Mrs Nurden received a call with an ultimatum: rescue the cat or it meets its maker.
Emotional blackmail won the day and after a clandestine meeting at the local train station she returned to Cobweb Castle clutching a cat the size of a molecule. The first thing it did was to seek shelter in the fruit bowl where it promptly fell asleep. Initially it was the cat with no name. My humble suggestion of Yoda, because it resembled the wrinkly creature from Star Wars. was immediately discounted. “Don’t be so horrible,” protested Mrs Nurden.
It is now called Stuart which, I think you will agree, is one of the most un cat-like names I have ever come across. Creature of the Night Number One devised it. Apparently it is named after Stuart Little which was actually a rat. It is also named after Stuart Sock, a famous puppet with a foot fetish in the Nurden household which regularly visited the boys to say “goodnight” just as their Dad returned home from work.
Stuart, of course, is oblivious to his pedigree. He lives only to eat, sleep and to play with shoe laces. It can be quite difficult trying to walk with a baby cat clinging like glue to your shoes as it gnaws through the laces. But the real difficulty has been introducing it to the other cats. Hilary, a black cat, seems to have accepted it and will watch from a safe distance as Stuart struts around the carpet before attempting to pounce on its tail.
Tigger, a female cat, is a different kettle of fish. She won’t have anything to do with the little upstart and hisses whenever it comes within range. Over the past few days, Stuart has become braver. He has mastered the art of climbing stairs, learned that big cat biscuits can be wolfed down with impunity and even managed to accidentally venture inside the washing machine.
He has tracked down the cat-flap but, at the time of writing, had not discovered its secret connection to the Big Outdoors. If he ever escapes you will recognise him by his fluffy black coat, white paws, huge baleful grey eyes and the biggest pair of white whiskers and eyebrows you have ever seen. I am sorry to say that I have now become quite attached to the little fella. However, I am told there is one more kitten left in the litter. Mrs Nurden is under strict orders once again to leave well alone. But perhaps YOU know someone who could give it a home?
(First written February 11, 2009)