The Chairman has arrived in my flat, sparking the beginning of a New Regime. No longer will the cold blooded animals reign supreme. No longer will surfaces be free of hair. No longer will furniture remain unscratched.
He’s a bit blind. He’s thirteen years old. He’s extremely fluffy. He has a nervous tic because of some missing teeth. Right now he’s rolling around on the bed beside me as I write. He wants to try and put his bum in my face. He was originally called Homer, which is apt considering his eyesight, but my friend is no fan of the classics. She only had The Simpsons for reference. “I don’t read books,” is how she put it. So she calls him Mao-Mao. That’s the name I used when I picked him up at the cattery. But to me he’s already The Chairman.
I had to drive to Henley to get him. He’s been staying in that cat hotel for months. My friend had no idea she’d end up stuck in Australia. She reckons it’ll be another six months out there now, and with prices starting at £13.00 a night I can see why she needed me to go get him. Even though they all hang out in wrought iron beds there, it’s much nicer for a cat like this to have their very own pet human to roll around with. He’s been resident at the cattery for quite some time now. The owner wanted over a grand and wasn’t afraid to tell me. A grand don’t come for free, but she managed to get it squared off.
I still had to prise him out of the cattery. With nobody going on holiday these days, the catteries are struggling too, and clearly this lady just loves cats. “If it doesn’t work out I’ll take him back for just the price of food,” she told me. Oh it’ll work out. It’s already working out. We’ve been sniffing and stroking each other all night and just as long as he doesn’t get into the fish we’ll be fine.
I’ll need to change my habits a bit now he’s with me though. He’s old and frail but affectionate and docile. I reckon he’ll end up sleeping next to me. Right now he’s lying on his back next to my arm batting the air, making contented grizzling noises and occasionally twitching. I need to make sure I don’t roll on him in my sleep or step on him when I stumble to the loo at night. I mustn’t leave clothes all over the floor either as he drops hair everywhere. That’s useful. I’ve been lazy about that recently. He’ll be a distraction when I’m trying to work, but a pleasant one.
I’m yet to see if he leaves me stinky presents but it’s possible in the early days. Right now we’re learning how to be friends, and he’s finding his way around the cornucopia of random smells and sights that make up my flat.
His age is likely an advantage. He hasn’t shown much inclination to go leaping on shelves full of glasses or piles of books yet. He didn’t seem interested in the fish thankfully, and he hasn’t even noticed Hex yet. That’ll be the interesting one. Hex is pretty happy living just above ground level – he’s a ground dweller so I’ve put him on a long footstool in his long flat tank. He’s been sleeping under his rock all day after eating yesterday, so he hasn’t noticed this new creature. His lid weighs a ton so there’ll be no accidental mingling. But at some point they’ll clock one another through the glass – two affectionate and lazy predators from opposite corners of evolution.
Meanwhile I’m going to sleep with a friendly cat in my lovely bed. This is great.