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Mr Pussy thinks he is a dog

February 20, 2010
by the gentle author

Mr Pussy thinks he is a dog, it all began with chewing my slippers. When I come home in the evening and sit down in the wing chair to eat my supper next to the fire, it is Mr Pussy’s custom to lie at my feet, extending his claws like gleaming steel fishhooks. At this time of day, I am usually wearing my felt slippers and Mr Pussy cannot resist stretching out to hook a slipper, interrupting me painfully from my meal when his sharp claws pierce my skin. Compliant, I kick the slipper off and then Mr Pussy grips it triumphantly, holding the toe in his front paws, while kicking delightedly at the sole with his powerful back legs in the manner of a dog. Getting roused with excitement as the kicking accelerates, Mr Pussy flattens his ears, growls and turns to me with fierce eyes as if to say, “Look at me, I’m a dog!” Then he chews the slipper, just like a dog.

I have learnt to remove both my slippers as soon as Mr Pussy approaches, allowing him to undertake the usual dinner theatre performance without drawing blood from my feet. This slipper business was just the first of Mr Pussy’s canine traits that became apparent. Although, ever since he was fully grown, people proclaimed, “He’s so big, he looks like a dog!” In fact, Mr Pussy is larger than many dogs and is not in the least challenged by my neighbour’s Jack Russell, he just looks down his nose at the mutt.

Unlike most felines but in common with most canines, Mr Pussy loves water. Never concerned about getting his feet wet as cats usually are, he likes to roll in wet grass, then come into the house and  shake off the raindrops. One day, when he came in soaked from the rain, I produced a towel and gave him a rub down. Mr Pussy craves this now, and will go out and get wet just to have the rub down afterwards, demanding this service with insistent miaowing that has more in common with the repeated barking of a dog than the delicate whisper of a pussycat. Once I knew Mr Pussy liked water, I gave him towel baths in Summer, to cool him when he languished in the heat. Standing him on the garden table, I soaked Mr Pussy with a wet flannel or sponge, gave him a good brushing and then towelled him down. The experience was a powerful one for Mr Pussy and sometimes his emotions got fixated on the brush, which he grasped in his paws with the same tender intensity that Elvis grasped his microphone. Afterwards, Mr Pussy ran around the garden steaming in the heat before taking a deep sleep in the shade.

Mr Pussy reminds me of my father’s Ginger Tom that once fell from the branch of an old oak at the bottom of our garden directly into the River Exe and swam confidently to the shore. In Devon, Mr Pussy used to go roving for miles and return days later with a dead rabbit in his mouth. In Spitalfields, he commands an alley instead, walking up to anyone that comes along, scrutinising them in the manner of a guard dog before greeting them affectionately. He has traded the life of an explorer and wild game hunter for that of a greeter and security guard. I do wonder if this altered circumstance created his curiously hybrid nature.

Mr Pussy likes humans because he has always been treated well and experience tells him they pose no threat. For Mr Pussy, any stranger is potentially another source of the adulation he needs to reinforce his ego. To be honest, there is an element of showing off. Mr Pussy likes to play to camera. Give him a ball and Mr Pussy will chase it up and down the house, bouncing it off the walls with the judgement and skill that indicates a simultaneous talent at both snooker and football – as long as there is an audience. Just stopping now and again, to touch up his grooming and check the spectators are giving him their full attention, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Mr Pussy possesses the killer combination of vanity, quick reflexes and powerful legs.

The canine trait that I appreciate most is Mr Pussy’s loyalty. He follows me around the house, running at my ankles just like a dog and sleeping contentedly beside my desk all day while I am writing. Whenever I leave the house, Mr Pussy walks out with me, hoping to follow at my heels. Always disappointed when I hasten my footsteps along the pavement to leave him behind, Mr Pussy does not understand why he cannot accompany me beyond Spitalfields into the city. Instead he consoles himself with his daily patrol of the territory whilst I am doing my errands – but makes absolutely certain to be there, poised for an emotional reunion upon my return, bounding to greet me. I am sure Mr Pussy thinks he is a dog.

11 Responses leave one →
  1. February 20, 2010

    Such great company, our critters! Love the last pic – he does not look doggy, he looks human.

  2. February 20, 2010

    Beautiful and hilarious :-)

  3. sliverofice permalink
    February 20, 2010

    He sounds like the perfect urban pet! Part-cat-part-dog – what more could one ask for? Has he passed his hybrid DNA along at some point?

    Last year, I had the absurd good luck of being lent a beautiful house on a hill in Sardinia, overlooking the Maddalena Archipelago. It was the low season, so the village was deserted, and I went for days without seeing any human beings, but there was a large and extrovert community of stray cats. During my first week there, a set of them decided to check me out, and came regularly to sun themselves on my flat roof. One mummy and three toddlers. Whenever I needed a break from my work, I’d come out to the terrace and they’d run down and pass the time of day in the most agreeable way.

    There was always one who dashed down with particular alacrity, and who never tired of playing and being petted, so I called him Gonzo (after Speedy Gonzales). He stayed on after the others scattered, and was my devoted companion for my six months there. Every morning, I’d go about the house opening the shutters, and there he was, wild with the joys of salutation. Then he’d place himself at the windowsill next to my desk for the day, heading off occasionally to stretch his legs or browse the trees and burrows for intriguing morsels, but always returning to his post if he heard so much as a rustle from the patio door. In the evenings I’d take myself off for long walks, and he would happily trot along behind me for an hour or so, occasionally commenting on some natural phenomenon which caught his eye. He was the best of doggy cats (well, out of respect for Mr Pussy, I shall say he was the finest Italian specimen of this quite unique creature), and I miss him terribly! Here’s a pic of him on one of our sunset walks (with his sister Sophie, bringing up the rear).

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sliverofice/4372300427/

  4. February 20, 2010

    I don’t really like cats, they are too much like killing machines and they trespass into the gardens of non-cat owners and foul flowerbeds in a way that seems calculated purely to enrage. However, occasionally I have met a cat that I can engage with – your story of Mr Pussy and the last photo of him basking in the sunshine like a small man in a cat suit – wonderful green eyes – almost has me.

  5. Anne permalink
    February 20, 2010

    I’m with Sam on the cat front, but i’m not really a ‘pet’ person anyway. I can appreciate your admiration though for Mr Pussy.

  6. Brenda Murphy permalink
    February 20, 2010

    A delightful blog and a delightful cat. But he is a typical cat! All the things you describe cats do! So pay him the compliment of acknowledging his feline-inity!

  7. Gabriela permalink
    February 20, 2010

    So cute! Of course Mr Pussy is a typical cat. A dog has a master but a cat has servants like Mr Pussy :-) .
    Greetings from Mr Philipp who made his way from a wild life in a little village to an urban lifestyle too and who usually miaows like a sheep.

  8. Candice permalink
    February 22, 2010

    You have a beautiful kitty!

  9. Anita permalink
    May 3, 2011

    Please…more stories about Mr Pussy! I share a house with a cat that could very well be his twin! It gives me great comfort to know someone else derives so much joy from their furry companion. I was never a cat person before I inherited our jet black mischief maker…I’m converted.

  10. December 9, 2012

    Solomon (my siamese blue) and I, just adore all the photo’s, along with all the comments of those that have been converted – the willing slaves of these exquisite often distant creatures.

    Cheers for Mr Pussy.

    Margaret

  11. gary permalink
    January 25, 2013

    mr pussy is the coolest kat , how can you not admire him

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