Whilst I sit around contemplating the navel of the Universe, Life Goes On. And, my! Doesn’t it Go On? It doesn’t keep still for a minute. And somehow it feels as if we are always running to catch up with it.
Just when you think you’ve got a situation sussed, things change, and new challenges appear. I used to think that feeling was very much a work-related phenomenon, with endless change rolling in on the latest wave of management restructuring and such like, but even here, where there isn’t a whole lot going on except for Nature, the only constant is Change.
Let’s take The Cats, for instance.
Brown has definitely gone – no sign of her for weeks now. Barn Mother is definitely now a House Cat, along with Min, Blue and Big. Little Tom has reverted to being a barn-dweller, along with the four kittens who are now pretty nearly as big as him. It makes sense. Inside the house he was bottom of the pecking order, and frequently sought refuge on my lap from the Grumpy Ladies, who objected to him invading their personal space and eating their food. But out in the barn he is most definitely Top Cat, always first at the food bowl, with a bevy of admiring kittens waiting for him to move over and let them in.
Well, at least, that’s how it was until a few days ago. But, like I said, Things Change. Constantly. And the latest change has arrived in the form of three (yes THREE) big, burly Tom Cats, who have wandered into our vicinity in search of pleasure and procreation, and stumbled across a veritable feline paradise. And, probably because of the ready supply of cat food that gets dished out in the barn every morning and evening, they are showing no signs of moving on.
So our night times are haunted by the distinctive howling and screaming of cats squabbling over territory and sex, and day times are bedevilled by the dogs chasing cats, even after we have carefully made sure all our cats are inside before letting the dogs out. And there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution to the situation.
I suppose that if we could persuade Little Tom and the four kittens to move into the house, we could stop putting food out in the barn and providing a tasty free take-away meal for any itinerant moggy who happens to pass within Whiskas-sniffing distance. But those damned kittens simply will not be enticed. They will sit on the window-ledge all day long, watching the comings and goings inside the house, but the moment we open the window to try to tempt them in with some delectable morsel or other, they are off. It is a strange set-up indeed.
Every night when I do the washing up, I am closely observed by a row of four sets of eyes on either side of four podgy little noses, pressed up against the glass of the kitchen window. And every morning upon opening the barn door, we are greeted by the scurrying of four bundles of fluff, tripping over each other to get next to the empty food bowl to wait for a refill. And they will purr, and miaow in the most friendly of ways, and tumble about our feet like furry balls in a ball pit. But they will most definitely not let us touch them.
But of all the changes that have taken place in the last few days the strangest is the one that seems to have overtaken Little Tom. Having just this morning witnessed him getting a jolly good shafting from the biggest of the big, burly Tom Cats that have invaded our peaceful corner of the world, and, I might add, not complaining about it one iota, I couldn’t help help wondering if maybe we were mistaken in our determination of his gender.
“How sure are you that Little Tom is, in fact, a tom?” I quizzed Simon, upon my return from the morning round of animal chores.
Simon frowned, and looked at me suspiciously. “Pretty sure. Why?”
“Well, I was just thinking that maybe he’s actually a girl… seeing as how he’s just been well-and-truly shagged by one of the Big Toms.”
Simon groaned, in that world-weary, ‘oh-no-not-another-pregnant-female-cat’ sort of way, and is on t’internet at this very moment. researching cat genitalia as I write. What better way to start the day?