Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A Careful Life

I have crafted a careful life for myself; fish in the morning, poultry or beef in the afternoon, dry food at night. Always something good in the bowl, and water from a fountain at the side, because nothing runs better than water and he knows how it fascinates me from all the bathroom sinks jumped in and gushing taps pawed at. He knows, in the squat, cough, rustle of the morning that I've rolled that way before, flicked fog off a mountain stream or two in a past life. As a lynx, or puma.

In any case it keeps the water fresh, so win-win, I'm impressed. Little fountain, little spring, blue bubbling donut in a brimless hat, paw to maw, dib-dab through the donut hole, lick lick, drippy-drop toe-suck. And if that sounds a little primitive then I'm sorry but it can't all be teacups and opposable thumbs. Left paw drinks, right paw scratches. Left for love, right for spite. We were all animals once, fending for ourselves. Killing things to stay alive, I've heard, and not  for sport.

I used to have milk on a standard saucer but, like most cats, I'm lactose intolerant. We  found that out the hard way. The fountain hums when the house is calm and I note that it runs on a hundred and ten volt circuit, converted by transformer to two-forty. How would I know that? Electrics. Words aren't really our thing, but cats do know electrics.

I know, I know. The last thing you'd expect.

Clunk-slam, click-slam means last call for supper, front door and back, so the first scratch of key on lock finds me diving from the bed (or pillow, which I often favour) quick as a pounce to find him, cock-eared and waiting at the foot of the stairs. It's become a sort of running joke and I play my part while he chuckles, throw a few shapes, tail flick, nose lift, trip-trap fence prance for my supper. None of it hurts. I'm cute as a cartoon. He shuffles into the kitchen and, from his haunches, gloops gravy-meat, pouch to bowl, fountain bubbling at the side and I purr-rub, blink-rub as he touches first my face then the plug, because it does get very, very warm indeed and that's how I know he loves me, because he'd risk the house aflame before my thirst. All for the sake of dual voltage.

If there's a criticism, it's that he drinks too much and retires too early, and that can catch me out, but my ears swivel, chiff-chaff at the slightest noise, even while asleep, which I believe was once a handy survival skill. I've crafted a careful life, of routine and the law of averages, the dependable nurture of a solid mammal.  Food. Water. Generally competent wiring. Fuses in the box. It's a great life, win-win. Yawn. A careful life. 

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