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Mr Pussy in Spring

March 20, 2012
by the gentle author

In spite of the visible signs, I am almost superstitious to write of spring, lest by doing so I invite an onslaught of snowstorms, tempests and whirlwinds. Yet I do believe that the change of season is irrevocably upon us, as confirmed by a particularly unpleasant experience I had recently.

At dawn, it is commonly Mr Pussy’s habit to stand at the bedside by my pillow and claw at the sheet to wake me. A recurring trait which causes me constant frustration now that first light comes earlier each day, especially if I have worked late the night before and wish to sleep longer. As an attempt to pacify him without opening my eyes, I reach out a hand with a crooked finger to stroke him on the head, in the vain hope that he will be satisfied and leave me in peace.

At a recent daybreak, Mr Pussy woke me in the usual manner, clawing and crying in delighted excitement, and I stretched out my finger blindly. To my surprise, he did not lift up his head to meet my finger. Instead, my touch fell upon another furry surface, soft and silky, yet curiously inanimate. In my surprise, I rolled over and opened my eyes to see what it was. It was a huge dead rat. And Mr Pussy stood over it with a look of foolish pride like those game hunters in old photographs. He had brought his fresh catch as a gift to share with me.

The forlorn carcass of the brown rat lay in a foetal pose, looking strangely innocent with its fluffy pale belly – like an abandoned soft toy – and immaculately clean despite its reputation for for filth. But with its long teeth splayed at a gross angle, it was a sight that I did not choose to contemplate upon my bedroom floor at dawn, especially placed by Mr Pussy upon a pile of yesterday’s clothes and giving the credible impression of sleeping there. Much to Mr Pussy’s dismay, a dustpan and brush served to dispatch the rat into the bin and I threw the contaminated laundry into the basket. Then, to his surprise, I shut the bedroom door in his face and went back to sleep, ignoring his melodramatic plaintive cries of exclusion.

For the first time this year, the nights are sufficiently mild for a creature as conservative and protective of his own comfort as Mr Pussy to go out and prowl around in the dark. This is my incontrovertible evidence of spring and the rat was a harbinger of it. For the first time this year, I open the sash window wide and Mr Pussy sits upon the sill taking the airs. For the first time this year, I dig in my garden and Mr Pussy keeps me company. For the first time this year, I return to find him sunning himself on the wall. And, each morning since his banishment, I open my bedroom door to discover Mr Pussy sitting placidly outside, perched upon the couch. Ever gracious, he waits there as a sentinel, my guardian at the gate.

It is spring and now, after peaceful uninterrupted sleep I wake to enjoy the sunshine while, as the nights grow milder, Mr Pussy goes roving to satisfy his duties in vermin control.

You may also like to read

Mr Pussy is Ten

Mr Pussy in Winter

The Caprice of Mr Pussy

Mr Pussy in Spitalfields

Mr Pussy takes the sun

Mr Pussy, natural born killer

Mr Pussy takes a nap

Mr Pussy’s viewing habits

The life of Mr Pussy

Mr Pussy thinks he is a dog

Mr Pussy in Summer

24 Responses leave one →
  1. Deborah Amaral permalink
    March 20, 2012

    He may be trying to teach you to hunt!

  2. March 20, 2012

    I’m sure he thinks he has given you the greatest of gifts and can’t understand why you weren’t impressed with its presentation!

  3. andrea permalink
    March 20, 2012

    I hope you did not use your nice new brush for this unpleasant task!

  4. Robert permalink
    March 20, 2012

    Love the imagery provoked by the words as its so true… Fantastic pics as spring is here! Thanks.

  5. Jill permalink
    March 20, 2012

    Looks like you’ll have to rename him Mr Hunter. The nice count here tells us it’s spring. Hoorah!

  6. March 20, 2012

    Mr Pussy looks so like my Jazz. Who wakes me by reaching under the sheets and slashing or by pat, pat, PATTING my face with his claws nearly sheathed. He has twice now brought home a rat – and was as pleased as Punch.

  7. March 20, 2012

    Clever Mr Pussy – lovely pictures of him and flowers.

  8. Judy permalink
    March 20, 2012

    I agree – Mr. Pussy brought you the greatest of gifts, showing his deep, unswerving devotion. However, that said – lovely piece – thank you!

  9. March 20, 2012

    Mr Pussy clearly worships you. My mother’s cat used to bring her mouse-shaped leaves which was very clever of it and much preferred to creatures. Beautiful photos, specially the second one, quite spirit-lifting.

  10. March 20, 2012

    What a fine-looking fellow. I had a cat once who used to bring in live mice and release them on the bed. How kind of them trying to look after us, our little feline providers!

  11. Chris permalink
    March 20, 2012

    Thank you for making me laugh out loud. You do have a way with words. At least the rat was dead. Mrs Pru, our old cat, never mastered the knack of killing larger prey and once brought a live blackbird into the house. What fun we had trying to persuade it to leave.

  12. March 20, 2012

    I’m not sure what is worse a dead rat or stepping out onto a fur ball. This has happened to me in the past.
    Briony

  13. JerryW permalink
    March 20, 2012

    Mr Pussy clearly knows his stuff!

    But don’t put bodies in the bin to rot, nooo.. recycle! If you place them on any lawn, the next morning they will be gone, I promise. The clean-up squad is very efficient!

  14. Ree permalink
    March 20, 2012

    Having awakened in bed with a shredded bird…you have my sympathies…but kittehs are just doing their jobs…

  15. Emily permalink
    March 20, 2012

    Spring has indeed arrived! I was lucky enough to be in London for the party of the year (yours!), and was delighted to see daffodils and crocus in bloom at Bunhill Fields, Postman’s Park, and so many other places that I know about thanks to your blog.
    Great to see Mr. Pussy again, too… and what beautiful cyclamen!

  16. Annie permalink
    March 20, 2012

    He is a splendid fellow and obviously excellent company. Not half an hour ago I glanced up at my framed For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry and saw the image of Jeoffry trying to catch a bird. You can’t keep a good cat down. I well remember preventing our own (sadly deceased) cat from wrestling a wood pigeon in through the back door one bright morning.

    A tickle under the chin for both of you.

  17. Catherine permalink
    March 20, 2012

    Always a treat to hear of Mr. Pussy’s doings! My cat is not allowed outside, but she gets much pleasure from “hunting” for her favorite toys in the toy basket, then making her way down the long corridor to my bedroom, prey in mouth, meowing plaintively all the way. She then deposits it beside my bed to receive the obligatory pat on the head and words of praise.

  18. Gary permalink
    March 20, 2012

    Oh Dear you have deeply offended Mr. Pussy. To you it was a dead rat (they are in fact edible and nutricious) to Mr. Pussy this was a good meal that he had caught for you, if it was not so he would have left it where he had finished with it.
    Cat persons (not owners, nobody owns a cat, he owns you) must when receiving such a gift stroke and thank him and only dispose of it when he has gone. Many where the dead rats, mice, birds and frogs that I took with gratitude from my poor old cat Dusty.
    Make it up to him !
    Gary

  19. March 20, 2012

    it is only right to set mr pussy some parametres within which to opperate , you couldnt possibly awake to a dreaded r-t again.
    Seems he is fine with this new set of ground rules after all he is an intelligent cat , like his dear owner.

  20. Susan permalink
    March 21, 2012

    Thank you — and Mr Pussy — for making me laugh out loud.

  21. jeannette permalink
    March 21, 2012

    mr. p, you are so beautiful, to meeeeeeeeeee

  22. Jaki permalink
    March 21, 2012

    Thank heavens that my cat, Ben Purr, has only gifted me with mice….so far!

  23. March 21, 2012

    Jaki, the name of your cat is inspired!

  24. Isis permalink
    April 12, 2012

    Jubilate Agno, Fragment B [For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry]
    by Christopher Smart

    For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
    For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in
    his way.
    For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant
    quickness.
    For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.
    For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
    For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
    For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
    For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in
    the spirit.
    For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
    For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
    For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
    For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
    For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.

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