8 Downsizing for cats
There are two mice at the top of the stairs. One has lost its tail and whiskers, but the other is still intact. Jack, our ginger cat, has rolled himself up in the landing rug and is surveying his prey. Two weeks ago he had an acre of garden, grassy stretches of grounds and acres of fields to roam; now he is restricted to a courtyard garden, surrounded by small backyards and cobbled streets in this old Cornish fishing village filled with holidaymakers eating pasties and ice cream.
But Jack is adapting. His mice are filled with catnip rather than warm blood and guts and he chases them up and down the flight of stairs in our cottage, encouraged by a ravaged feather duster when he grows bored. He has no trees for sharpening claws, so he has turned to the upholstered sofa, despite admonishments. The local birds are too big to catch and are far too loud but he watches them anyway and has discovered that the neighbouring roofs are all within easy reach, so I wake to see him sitting on a slate roof opposite our cottage and when I call he jumps from house to house and through our bedroom window.
He doesn’t travel out of calling distance as he is unused to hearing people and dogs in such close proximity, but he has a collar all the same which has already been lost once and retrieved. If he does wander off he should be easy to find, as not only is he the only ginger cat in the village, he is also the only cat in the old village. Any mice on the loose will be his for the taking.
And Sammy, our elderly boy, is adapting too. He no longer has his favourite sofa, but he’s found a cushioned armchair to his liking and the gravelled courtyard garden is one big litter tray for his convenience. He spends his time dreaming of his glory days as a famed hunter and devourer of squirrels, rabbits, rats, pigeons, pheasants and woodpeckers around his former home. Blue tits and mice were mere canapés for the great striped hunter, with his leonine ruff and he never could see the point of a catnip mouse.