Saturday, 18 August 2012

Catta Mundi, Catta Poorly

'What is that?' says Tybalt, sitting on the expanse of unrolled paper because sitting on paper is what cats do best.
'It's an English translation of the Mappa Mundi,' I say.

I am preparing to take, well, poster, to be framed. Properly framed at the framing shop. Not shoved-in-a-five-quid-frame jobbie from Wilkos. I bought the poster from Hereford Cathedral when we were on holiday. I like the poster. Andy likes the poster. There has been a minor tusselette regarding who is going to have the poster in their study/ arty-crafty writing room. So to save blood shed and ensure we reach our ninth wedding anniversary, I am having it framed and it shall hang in the living room.

I explain to Tybalt what the Mappa Mundi is. 'It's a map of the world according to the people of the 1300s,' I say. 'It's how they thought the world looked, and the kind of creatures that inhabited it. Mappa means 'map' and Mundi means 'world'.

'Were they mad?' says Tybalt, who is studying the crazy wonder of the map through his monocle.
'They drew what they knew,' I say. 'Remember that travelling was a much bigger thing then than it is now. And if an explorer saw a creature that looked like a dragon, then that's what it was called even though we now know it to be a giant lizard of some sort.'
Tybalt leans back. 'Us cats have a similar relic,' he says. 'It's called the Catta Mundi.'
'I guessed as much,' say I.
'Catta meaning 'cat,' says Tybalt, 'and Mundi meaning 'Monday,' and not 'world' which is crazy because 'world' means 'world' doesn't it?'
'Mundi is Latin,' I say.
'Mundi Schmundi,' says Tybalt. 'Say it as it is, that's my philosophy. You'll be telling me the Latin for 'cat' isn't 'cat' next'.
I haven't the heart to tell him.

Whilst I am preparing to take the Mappa Mundi to be framed, Andy is preparing to take Fat Cat Phoebe to the surgery to have an operation. She is not well. Okay, she is 17, and an old lady cat, but she is also not a well cat, and investigations are required. Fat Cat Phoebe has lost a lot of weight. In fact, she is more like Thin Cat Phoebe and that is not good. She's been in and out of the litter tray like she's got her bloomer elastic caught on the corner, and she's not eating well which is another bad sign for a cat whose sole purpose in life is to eat her own bodyweight in food every week.

So off she went this morning, looking miserable in the cat basket because a) she had been deprived of the offer of breakfast and b) she hates going in the cat basket. Andy was wearing his surgeon's hat and a worried look on his face because there is nothing worse than operating on your own pet.

Three hours later, he phoned with an up-date. Phoebe is now minus three teeth. And plus one bladder stone. And feeling very sorry for herself.

'I suppose,' says Tybalt,' she'll be wanting pampering.'
'Yes,' I say. 'And a different diet. And you are not to annoy her, or encourage her into play, because you know she doesn't like playing at the best of times.'
'When you say 'a different diet',' says Tybalt, 'what exactly do you mean?'
'Well,' I say, 'something softer whilst her mouth recovers from the extractions and then something to help ease the bladder stone, or she'll have to go back for another operation.'
'So, not smoked salmon and scrambled eggs then,' says Tybalt. 'Or tuna mayonnaise and cream and white bread and butter?'
'I don't think so,' I say.
'Right,' says Tybalt. 'So Pandora has anti-fur ball food, and I have senior cat food and now Phoebe will have a bladder food.  That'll be fun at feeding time, won't it, given we all prefer each other's food?'

I sigh. That's exactly what I've been thinking. Cats never eat what you want them to eat to keep them healthy. They lounge about on the stairs pretending to be asleep before making sudden movements when you try to step across them whilst carrying a pile of ironing. They decide to use the litter tray at the exact moment you are sitting down for a meal, and they prefer to use the furniture/ your leg as a scratching post rather than the expensive scratching post you bought them for Christmas.

They lie in full sun in their fur coats until their brains are boiling; they leave black fur on white clothes and white fur on black clothes. They sit outside the bathroom shouting at you whilst you are on the loo, and they commandeer the sofas so you end up sitting on the floor.

Added to that their penchant for delegging spiders and leaving the remains all over the kitchen floor, and a complete inability to understand Latin, cats are a right pain the backside.

I wouldn't be without them!


Olly said...

You left out the bit about them being sick somewhere unobtrusive so you don't find it till you tread in it/sit on it/get into bed. I love cats, too! Poor Phoebe, glad it's nothing more serious and hope she's soon back on form.

Eileen said...

Too true, cats can be annoying and inconvenient at times, but life just wouldn't be any fun without them.

Hope Phoebe feels better soon and takes her new diet. Good luck!

Denise said...

I didn't want to mention the stepping in sick bit, Olly, as I am a bare-foot around the house person and thus all too sadly experienced in the act of'sick surprise'. But yes, bless 'em, that's a part of the cat owner's manual under 's' for 'step' and 'sick'!

Thank you both, Olly and Eileen, for your get well wishes for Phoebe. She is like a cat with a new lease of life (but that could be the drugs!)She has to go and have another operation next week to remove the bladder stone - unfortunately, tests have shown it isn't the type that will respond to diet so it will need whipping out manually.

But other than that, high on pain relief, Phoebe is now in training for the next Olympics and has regained her former appetite.