I was recently commissioned to do a cartoon for a cyclist’s 60th Birthday! The main themes were Sheffield Wednesday (the scarf), bad selfies, cycling and his pet cat.
What is it about cats? Aloof, independent, marathon sleepers, expert hunters, master climbers and your friend, but only on their terms. They are fascinating and well-loved pets to some, yet despised and put into dustbins by others. They rival dogs as our favourite pets and were once considered sacred deities by the ancient Egyptians. They are featured in calendars, novels, their own diaries, films, cartoons, haiku and of course, on YouTube!
I have to admit I’ve spent many an hour browsing through endless compilations of cats doing crazy things. It’s pure entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I spend equal amounts of time browsing ‘dogs to the craziest things’ videos, but today, it’s all about the cats. Take for instance, Maru who enjoys trying to insert himself into boxes that were clearly never intended for cat habitation. Or perhaps a strange Japanese show where cats climb into bowls…?!
Quite recently, a friend of mine announced that she was opening a luxury 5 star cat hotel. I was fascinated to learn that the franchise offers four poster beds with silk sheets, music piped into the rooms, trout breakfasts, cat massage, a dedicated cat entertainer and the option to have your cat send you a postcard whilst you are away. Wow, what more is there to say? Perhaps I should leave you with the cartoon…it brings cats down a peg or two.
A combination of lack of inspiration, a new job, holidays and general laziness have been conspiring against me over the past few months. I’ve hardly put pen to paper except to doodle in the margins of my notepad during exceptionally boring meetings.
I envy those comic artists and illustrators who manage to pour their creativity onto paper week in and week out; keeping the masses entertained with unwavering dedication.
I recently took time out to holiday in Greece. Kefalonia to be precise. Despite my love of crisp autumnal mornings and streets scattered with crunchy brown and yellow leaves (if we’re lucky – usually it’s soggy, wet, mouldy leaf litter and unpredictable weather), I think a short stint in warmer climes is good for the soul.
Every day for a week, I tentatively opened the curtains (as I would do in the UK) wondering whether the skies would be dark and foreboding, and every day I was delighted by clear blue skies and golden sunrise.
During the first couple of days, two things stood out. The first, which I’ve drawn in this post, was the extraordinary number of ferrel cats. Unbeknownst to me, Kefalonia is often referred to as the Island of Cats. They are everywhere, lurking in alleyways, behind walls, under cars, in supermarkets, beneath bushes and in restaurants. Always watching. If you feel something brush against your leg or catch some movement out of the corner of your eye, it’s likely to be a cat slinking past you. Not one meal was consumed without a handful of cats watching us put every forkful of food to our mouths. This was the first thing that made me put pen to paper in weeks.
Walking to the shops earlier this week, I passed a lady, perfectly coiffed, with two dachshunds in tow. Looking rather forlorn and somewhat embarrassed, both dogs were draped in sparkly pink coats and matching collars. Had their hair been long enough, no doubt it would have been styled accordingly.
We all do it to some degree, but should their be a cut off point beyond which our desire to anthropomorphise (sp.?) our pets becomes animal cruelty? If they could talk, I should imagine these dachshunds’ tales of woe would all hinge on their owner’s desire to dress them up like barbie dolls. No doubt the poor mites are laughed at by the other dogs in the park on a daily basis…
Having said all that, I couldn’t help dressing my cat up at Christmas! – he looks happy doesn’t he?!
And whilst I’m on the subject of domestic pets…how about this as a method for taking your dog for a walk? (snapped from the car as I drove past)
Yesterday our big fat ginger cat left for a new home and a new life. The decision to give him away seemed sensible given that we will be starting a new chapter in our own lives too. A move to a new city, a new job and a new flat (which doesn’t allow pets) meant we had to make a difficult choice.
Since adopting the cat three years ago, he has been the source of many different emotions: annoyance at his 20 minute conversations that consist of ‘meow, meow, meow’ even after he’s been fed and groomed to within an inch of his life; murderous when he tangles himself around your feet if you are in a hurry or carrying pans of hot food across the kitchen; disgust at his tendency to drool whilst purring and padding in contentment on your tummy or worse, when he sneezes the excess drool over your face if something tickles his nasal passages; amusement at his ‘mad’ half hour when he runs around the house batting anything that moves; delight when he loudly attempts to sneak up on a fat pigeon then visibly sighs when he inevitably fails; but most of all, he made us love him and now he’s gone, the house feels empty and the rooms are all quiet.
There’s no one to great you as you step through the front door or feline calls of ‘is anyone there, I need company?’ if we are upstairs busying ourselves in the office. I miss the half hour before bed time when he chooses to sit on my lap and keep me company with a purr like an outboard motor. My big, fat ginger friend has gone and I miss him. So here is a tribute to fatty – I hope they look after you in your new home and appreciate your loveable personality and odd little quirks!
Yes, it is really, really cold. -4C to be precise! Ok, so everything is relative, I mean the conditions aren’t on a par with North Pole (yet) but the latest Big Freeze is quite enough to give me an insight, and frankly, unless I had my own supply of seal furs, walrus blubber and an Eskimo, I’m quite happy to continue whinging about -4C.
Last night I had the misfortune to travel for two hours on a train with no heating! Everyone on board was wrapped up, grown men were shivering and tourists were pulling spare jumpers from their suitcases for extra warmth. It feels like a real winter – we just need some snow.
My friend walks past my house most mornings as she takes her daughters to school. And most mornings my cat spends the hour between 8.00 and 9.00am gazing dreamily out of the window, gawping at passersby. Recently, one of my friend’s daughters said she saw ‘fatty’ (yes that’s his name) smiling at her.
I pondered this for a time – perhaps it is like the question – ‘do bears S*** in the woods’? We know they probably do, but we never see it happen. So I reckon my cat does smile at the children as they pass by, but only briefly and not while the parents are looking.
I have attempted a cartoon strip that illustrates how I think it happens… It needs some work, but here is the first attempt.