Monday, 10 March 2014

The Case of the Hungry Cat Burglar


     No one better try telling me that cats are up to no good. Pusia is constantly on her guard and sleuthing around the place. There's always some mystery to solve, some enigma to explore and she's on the case as soon as there's something new afoot.

Exhibit 1: the Sleuth
     Take, for example, the day that the neighbour erected a new green mesh fence between her garden and the bird table. Pusia made a thorough examination of the situation before taking up a new position - on the other side of the wall!

     Pusia is not, however, always so vigilant.

Partners in Crime

     It's an unfortunate development that a criminal fraternity has grown up in the neighbourhood. All my actions and activities are now monitored closely by prying eyes. At the slightest opportunity there are hungry thieving little paws that will steal into my house and take advantage of the situation.

Exhibit 2: the Criminal Fraternity
     Freddy appears to be the ringleader of this criminal fraternity that has sprung up around me. Misguided by my friendly nature and emboldened by the fact that I feed him a respectable amount of food he has started making incursions into the house with ever more intrusive violations of my trust.

     As with all criminals, he has gained my confidence and he has taken advantage of the situation. And now, with sadness, I must report his most objectionable crime of all!

Caught Napping

     As I have already said, Pusia is usually fairly conscientious when it comes to protecting her patch. Even seeing Freddy from a distance as he strolls nonchalantly through the garden is enough to send her into a hissing fit of rage, chomping at the windows and scratching at their fittings to get out there and see him off.

     Freddy usually gives Pusia a decent amount of respect. I think he is actually more afraid of her than he is of me. The other day I discovered that Pusia is not infallible. She has a weakness - common to most cats, I suspect - that turns her from a fierce protector into a little softy. She enjoys sleeping in the sun. And who could blame her? We see little enough of it in Ireland.

Exhibit 3: yes, that's the Sun!
      The trouble with the effect that the sun has on Pusia is that she totally lets her guard down. Whilst she slumbered outside the other day I heard a rustling sound from the kitchen. Thinking little of it I snuck in and peeped around the corner to see Freddy helping himself to her plate of leftover food. Where's the harm in that? I thought. He probably needs a bit of extra sustenance.

Frying Tonight

     With a warm and fuzzy feeling in my tummy I watched with glee as Freddy had his fill, drank some milk and then proceeded to the living room to finish off whatever biscuits were left lying around in there! Having watched him for a while I wanted to take a photo. This was too alarming for Freddy and he literally turned tail before I could take his photo.

     For the purposes of this account I've had to recreate the scene of the crime in the kitchen that day. You see, this was the circumstances of which I wasn't aware as Freddy had entered the kitchen moments before I found him eating the cat food...

Exhibit 4: the Sirloin Steak (simulation)
     It's not easy to identify it from the photo but that is an organic sirloin steak. I had left it defrosting on the side on a piece of kitchen towel. Pusia is a darling and never climbs on the kitchen surfaces. In fact, I have presented her with raw meat before and she simply doesn't know what to do with it (unless she's just killed it).

Scene of the Crime

     When the evening came and I went to the kitchen to cook my steak I felt a little disoriented, confused and bewildered as I discovered the plate with the blood soaked kitchen towel on it but no steak! I looked around hopefully. I searched the fridge. I peeped optimistically in the microwave. I even searched the bin for some unfathomable reason.

     After a good 20 minutes of searching it was apparent that the steak was not on the premises. I looked at Pusia accusingly. It was evident that this beauty, purring hopefully at me and inferring from my gaze that food was on offer - well she could never have been responsible for such a misdemeanour.

     And then as I replayed the events of the afternoon in my head something started niggling at me. I'm a musician so I'm a very auditory person. The niggling thing was that rustling sound I'd heard just before entering the kitchen. What, out of all Pusia's cat food that Freddy was helping himself to, could have resulted in such a sound? Nothing except, perhaps, a plastic bag. Containing a defrosted steak.

     I crept outside to Freddy's now well known haunts and started to hunt around. I didn't need to hunt far. I soon found the shredded remnants of the bag. The steak had vanished and the tray on which it sat had been licked clean!

Exhibit 5: Guilty as Charged
     No wonder Freddy looked so bashful the next time I caught sight of him. He was basking in the full glory of having eaten three sachets of food, the remnants of a plate of Pusia's food, a bowl full of good quality IAMS biscuits and having drunk an egg cup full of cat milk. And, of course, in addition he had eaten an 8oz organic sirloin steak! He must have thought all his birthdays had come at once and I suspect that he has never had and probably never will have another feed like that again in any of his entire nine feline lives!

Menu Option B for One

     I have to say that I was a little annoyed with him to begin with. Then Beata pointed out that he probably needed it. My friend, Steve, also said he suspected I probably wasn't really that upset. Several other people also commented that it was great for Freddy to have such good fortune as to have me as his guardian angel. My anger subsided and I started to see the funny side. 

     The only person who took any real exception to Freddy's actions was the farmer who offered to poison him for me! I was horrified and strongly advised him that such extreme measures weren't required.

     No, the only action needed was for me to find an alternative dinner. I cooked up a bit of pork with asparagus and broccoli instead. I'll save the red meat heart attack for another occasion.

Exhibit 6: Plan B - Pork
     Pusia remained blissfully unaware of the whole drama. Freddy completely misunderstood the situation and now he sits outside my front door meowing at me, presumably for more steak!

     As for me, well I now put the steak in the microwave with the door firmly shut. I have been warned that even this isn't cat proof but it will do for the moment. I'm afraid that Freddy will have to go back to his Spartan diet for a while now, though. Can't have him getting lethargic about catching the mice. That's the only reason the farmer likes him...