Journal prompt: tell us about your pets!

 

I think that anybody owned by a cat has suffered this kind of fate every time you have to round up the buggers and take them to the vet, but this is so reminiscent of the struggle I have with Alfred The Great that I had to post this very funny video. Please check out more of this amazing illustrator’s work, in both video and book form, You won’t be disappointed!

My cat is Alfred The Great, a large, neutered male grey tabby cat of indeterminate age and volatile disposition. Alfred isn’t my cat, technically; his owner, who rescued him from a semi-feral life after he’d been injured, has moved out of the country to work in the Middle East. She needed somebody to look after him temporarily – a week, possibly two – while two of her friends finalised the sale of their new house and they could adopt him.

That was three years ago.

Once Alfred had settled into the house, enjoying free run of all the rooms (none of the doors shut properly) and establishing his ownership of the garden (by biffing next door’s dog on the nose and chasing her back over the fence), it was just easier to leave him here.

It’s safe to say that Alfred has mellowed since moving to my humble abode, although as he will still bite you for no apparent reason, pounce on you when you’re carrying plates and glasses and take on two other cats at the same time in a vicious fight, it’s safe to say that he isn’t a nice cat. If I hadn’t let him stay with me, he’d have had to go to a shelter, which would have been terrible for him as he hates other cats with a passion. He also would have been very unlikely to have been re-homed, due to his lack of interest in playing nice with humans. I certainly wouldn’t trust him around small children.

He was never an indoor cat, we think. From when he was born until when he appeared in my friend’s garden, limping and in pain, he had to fend for himself. He’s not really used to humans, and how to play with us. When he bites and scratches he is trying to play, I think; he just draws blood and leaves scars. My furniture and wallpaper bear the brunt of his claws, although in the spring and summer he’s happy to be outside in the garden most of the day, patrolling his territory and failing absolutely to catch birds, butterflies or rodents. I was told that he brought down a seagull once. I’m very glad that he doesn’t love me enough to present me with one of those!

He does love me, in his way. For the first year he’d not get very close to me at all, but now he’ll sit very close to me on the sofa. Not in my lap, however; Alfred the Great is most definitely not a lap cat, and he’ll fight anyone that thinks otherwise. He is, however, a secret snuggler, and has taken to getting into bed with me at about five am for a cuddle. Only in the summer, though, when a large, furry hot water bottle is the very last thing you want. To do that in winter would be unthinkable!

His owner called him Alfie, I lengthened it to Alfred the Great, after my favourite Saxon king. It also suits his ego, which has him strutting around the place as if he owns it!

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True to form, just after looking up at me with those adorable yellow eyes, he bit my hand. This is the cat that literally bites the hand that feeds him, folks, mostly because he knows that the hand is attached to a soft hearted idiot who loves him anyway.

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