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Saturday 16th March 2013
I am pretty bored of writing about the tour, and I am sure you're bored of reading about it, but very little else is happening (I am really struggling to come up with anything for this week's Metro column) so I am going to do a cat update.
That's how bad things have got.
It's nearly two months since we picked up Liono and Smithers from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. They've been a whole lot of fun to have around and I have enjoyed their stupid antics. Smithers is more friendly and likes being picked up and stroked and will come and sit on my desk and try and eat my laptop, whilst Liono is more aloof and will scramble out of your grasp as fast as she can and only joins me on the sofa when she decides the time is right. Smithers has grown a bit (he was always much bigger than Liono) but Liono is still pretty tiny. It's hard to believe they're brother and sister.
Smithers likes to attack my feet, especially if I am wearing my big fluffy slipper boots (which I suspect he thinks are two more cats). Liono has not entirely got to grips with the litter trays still. She still thinks she can bury her business by scraping at the plastic tray and a few times she has decided to toilet elsewhere. Today she went in a cardboard box that we had left downstairs for them to play in. But she's young and foolish and so we can forgive her. Also she's a cat so has little understanding of human sensibilities regarding faeces and urine. I wonder if the occasional bit of business she does elsewhere is a dirty protest or even a satire of our attempts to make her conform and go in the litter tray. Her pawing at the edges of the litter tray (rather than the litter) could be then seen as a sarcastic pastiche. "Look at me, clawing at the box. I am burying by poo." She is laughing at us.
She is so small and her tail so curly and her face so tiny and her mane so unusual that I think the Battersea people might have palmed off some king of marmoset on us. She is more monkey than cat.
But whilst I am sure you are enjoying this essay on my pets (which might have impressed my teacher when I was 7, but isn't cutting much ice as a grown-up blog) I wanted to get very slightly more philosophical. As you may remember Smithers is deaf. He will mewl and miaow and make little bird like purring sounds, but he can't hear if Liono does the same. Smithers will often cry out with quite a distressing and siren like wail if he's lonely or lost and Liono will (in her own good time) usually go up to check he's OK. But of course if Lions miaows or calls out to Smithers he can't hear her. Liono surely cannot understand that her brother is deaf, so I wonder what she makes of this disparity. Does she think Smithers is a bit of a selfish dick for being so plaintively insistent that his sister comes to find him, but then makes no effort to come to her when she needs him? Or does she understand that he's different and let him off. They get on well and usually like to be in the same place - their fights and chases are just for fun I think. But it must seem rude to Liono that she gets so roundly ignored. And she must think her brother is super brave, because she gets freaked out by extraneous noise, whilst he doesn't even flinch when a car backfires outside.
Sometimes I wonder if Smithers is just pretending to be deaf. He can sense vibrations so sometimes it looks like he is responding to a call or a noise. Wouldn't it be cool if he had tricked the cat experts at Battersea into thinking he was deaf so that he would have the excuse not to come anywhere when called or have to reciprocate with his sister when she was lost?
I hope Liono isn't sad that her brother sometimes ignores her. Unless she's gently satirising humans in everything she does in which case she deserves everything she gets.
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