Cat experts came to our house today to try and solve the mystery of why Liono generally still likes to poo outside the litter trays (but usually just outside on some newspaper, which isn't the end of the world). She nearly always wees in the litter trays now (which is a relief as urine is harder to deal with than faeces, right excrement fans?), but her stinky and occasionally steaming turds remain like little booby traps for anyone not walking past the cat-latrine area without due care and attention.
I am a little bit sceptical that the cat experts will be able to do anything. That seems like a job that anyone can set themselves up with (I was reading about someone today - and I forget who- who a dog psychic in his entourage who was supposedly capable of reading the thoughts of canines) and then charge lots of money to concerned and gullible middle-class people who haven't got used to the fact that animals are stupid and that they shit. But hopefully they can sort out the issue (and believe me, we've had all the advice in the world about this and nothing has worked, so don't feel the need to let me know your own views on it).
Despite Lionos anal gifts I am really enjoying having these pets and I love them more than a man should love a different species of mammal. Not in an unsavoury way, it's just unnatural to care for a random creature in this way. But my cynical heart has been softened by them, even though neither of them are particularly affectionate. Today Liono jumped on my desk when I was working and then unusually came down on to my lap when I ignored her. Then she got under the table and rubbed her cold wet nose against my bare foot. I never knew being snotted on could be so life affirming.
Smithers continues to bound around without fear and though he is the stupidest cat I have ever seen, he does at least know how to use a litter tray and how to bury his poo. He's grown very big, whilst Liono is still quite small (though this is lucky as it means the heart defect that she has is less likely to be a problem), and he still loves rough and tumble more than being pampered, liking nothing more than to play-fight with me in my slippers in the morning. However much he gets battered around it makes him purr. He is insane.
I feel sorry for Smithers though. He is, as you might recall, deaf, but being a cat he can't know that. There's no way of communicating to him that other cats can hear. For him that sense just doesn't exist. He can sense vibrations so occasionally a shout echoing off a window can get his attention, but otherwise he is in a world of silence, blissfully unaware that he's missing out on anything. Maybe that's better than knowing. In a sense it's a superpower for him not to be able to hear, because it makes him fearless. Tragically he is so fool-hardy and dim that I think this could lead to problems. He once leaped out of a first floor window without even looking to see what was on the other side, hit the roof of our kitchen and slid down into next door's garden. He was fine and none of this is really to do with him being deaf. But it's not going to help him if that's the way he is.
It would be interesting to pay millions of pounds for an operation to make him hear (I don't think it would be possible even if we had the money and were willing to spend that on a cat). It would totally freak him out. He's happy not knowing what he's missing out on, though sometimes he still miaows for ages, in a way that makes you think he's wondering why no one is answering him. A workman we had round the other day told us that his deaf cat sits in the bath and miaows to himself and can hear the vibrations, which makes him happy. Smithers is too thick to think of that. Which makes me love him more. What has my wife done to me? I preferred my life when I didn't care about a living thing, least of all myself.
The second part of John Fleming's interview with me about Meaning of Life is now up on his website. There's even more to come it seems!