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Feline relations
Your Cat

Feline relations

Posted Sunday, May 10, 2015   |   779 views   |   Family & Home   |   Comments (0) With George’s advances on female cat Roscoe wearing thin, Tom Cox takes drastic action...

Have you drugged that cat,” said my dad. My girlfriend Gemma and I, and our cat George, were in our living room, in Devon, talking to my mum and dad, who were in their living room, in Nottinghamshire.

This strange voodoo was being made possible by the Facetime app on my laptop. My laptop wasn’t actually on my lap, but on the table in front of us, as my lap was occupied by George. My parents had hoped their cat Floyd might join in too, but he was out killing between 16 and 30 mice.
George, who was upside down and staring beatifically at the camera, was behaving exactly as I’d hoped: utterly mellow and at one with the world. This being pretty much his default mode, apart from the times when our female cat, Roscoe, is in the vicinity, at which point he turns into a rampant sex maniac.

“So,” I said to my parents. “What do you reckon?”

“Ooh, I don’t know,” said my mum. “Does he scratch the furniture?”

I thought back to a couple of hours earlier, when I’d found George hanging off the back of my favourite 1960s Swedish chair by two claws. “No, we’ve never seen him do it,” I said.

“Hmmm,” said my mum. “He does seem very nice. I don’t know. You’re making this very difficult for us.”

Gemma and I had really hoped to keep George, who was probably the most laid-back cat I’d ever met, but his repeated attempts to hump Roscoe, despite being neutered, had made Gemma and I reconsider — especially now Roscoe was spending increasing amounts of time away from the house. I wanted George to live in a rural place, with no major roads nearby, so my plan was to wear my mum and dad down. After all, they had plenty of space, and only one cat, Floyd, who, despite the mass slaughter, always seemed pretty sociable. That’s what I’d thought, anyway.
A couple of weeks later, I packed George into the car and drove five hours north east. George took the upheaval in an impressively philosophical manner, though was slightly less happy to be set upon by a small evil badger cat, a day or two later. How had I not noticed how sharp Floyd’s claws were before? How downright hard he was? George looks slightly Buddha-like and serene next to most cats, but the effect was particularly extreme when he was next to an advancing Floyd.

We gave it a bit of time, but it was clear there was not going to be any gradual mellowing of relations here.

“I feel terrible,” my dad commented. “There’s a pain in my heart.”

I felt awful too. How could I have subjected George, who’d only ever given me love, to this? Having discounted my dad’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion of leaving George there, taking Floyd back with me and discarding him on Dartmoor — “He’d probably bring down a pony before too long: that’d keep him going for winter” — I headed back to Devon, with George and his scratched nose in tow.

Since then, Floyd has returned to his former, lovable self, and George has effortlessly resumed life here, seemingly without holding any form of grudge. His future seems uncertain, but for now we’re coping. That is to say: I’m spending a large portion of my day acting like a personal bodyguard for Roscoe, making sure she manages to get in and out of the house without being leaped on. At these moments I sometimes think back to the time I lived in a big city and the nearest thing I had to a pet was an unusually big spider plant. “Would I want that life back?” I ask myself. Not in a million years.

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