Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Strange Tale of Romeo, The Sultana & The Caged Lion

Romeo has a friend. Or, to be more precise, had a friend. He made friends with a stray sultana on the kitchen floor this lunchtime (yes, we do have that kind of kitchen floor - Kim & Aggie would not approve). He made lots of his special mouse noises at it, played with it, and carried it around for ages, giving it a guided tour. He protected it from Juliet, Merlin and we big owners by growling like mad whenever we went near. He would have probably protected it from Cassie-cat too, but she was asleep elsewhere. Besides, she's bigger than him. Much. And she growls louder too.

Anyway, I digress. There he was, mid love affair. But suddenly, without warning, the sultana fought back with a vicious attack on his tastebuds. He backed away with the hurt and disbelieving look of one who's been truly scorned. That one slip of the tooth had ended a beautiful friendship. Romeo discovered he didn't like sultanas. In fact, he discovered that sultanas, when angered, can be fearsome enemies. He spent a long time after that prowling warily around the kitchen, arching his back sideways on whenever he got to the spot, just to show the sultana he wasn't frightened after all. But he never got too close, you understand. Just in case.

Eventually, having managed to stop howling with laughter, we rescued him from the sultana, and took both kittens out into the garden. Emily invented the best game the kittens had ever known with a broken hoop, lots of spinning in circles and an impressive display of aerobatic leaping. From the kittens, not from Emily. Although she was jumping about with laughter so much, she came a close second.

Back indoors, it was Juliet's turn to be centre of attention. Immediately we got back in she jumped up onto the windowsill overlooking the garden, and spent a full fifteen minutes prowling back and forth along it, standing on her hind legs at each end against the glass, and miaowing. Juliet doesn't do miaowing. Usually. Hardly ever. Except when she's really upset. She really did look like a caged lion prowling behind its bars in distress :-((( She desperately wants to go out on her own. But she's sooo tiny still. The size difference between her and Romeo is really showing now. And there's been a lot in the papers recently about the horrific cruelty to animals some people are capable of inflicting. And it's nearly Halloween - we never allow our cats out at Halloween since, when I was still little, a local cat was tortured by some "youths" at that time of year. And people round these parts are already starting to get daft with fireworks. It's really not a good time of year to let small furry kittens out on their own. Especially one with a weak heart.

Sigh. It's getting difficult, since they clearly want to be let loose. We didn't have this problem with Merlin and Cassie when they were kittens - just let them go after their vaccinations. But then again, that was when we lived in Bracknell, a long way from a main road. And we didn't have to worry about the emotional impact on a six year old if a kitten fails to come home. Can't remember what happened with first letting out the kittens I had as a young child - we were right on the main road then, but one of them was killed by a car a few years old. Think we'll hang on in there at least until they're neutered. But it's hard. Cruel to be kind, anyone?


Kris said...

Oh yes, most definitely cruel to be kind. I wouldn't let any animal out at this time of year, including my children.

But you could always do what a friend's mother does with her cat - puts it in its harness, then fastens the harness to a washing line or some such. The cat gets to run up and down the garden to its heart content.

Oh, forgot to say, use a long leash to fasten it to the washing line. Don't want the kittens dangling in mid air or anything...

Nikki said...


Actually yes, I can see how that could work. Although our washing line is a foldy up spirally one not a long line across the garden type. And with two kittens, I wonder how long it would be before they tied themselves in Hmmm. Will have a ponder about the general idea though!