Monday, October 01, 2012

That worrying feline

I stayed up much too late last night. Instead of going to sleep at midnight like a sensible person, I watched the weekend's motorcycle racing from Spain for two hours, and then had a video call with a friend from Folkestone. Technology is wonderful, but it doesn't substitute for sleep.

Mind you, I don't think I could have slept earlier anyway. Because it's a public holiday today, and because the flat I'm borrowing is just above one of Soho's busy streets, there was a constant roar of males braying at one another until late into the small hours. Staying up and watching a couple of pint size Spaniards embarass the rest of the grid for an hour was actually the sensible option.

Still, I was knackered today, and so was the cat. In times gone by she'd wake us up by walking up and down our bodies until the discomfort snatched us from our slumber. But today she was either too tired or too shy, and it took the baleful tones of my alarm to get me up. I ground my way through a day of work while all around me people were having brunch or being hungover or getting drunk (tomorrow is a holiday too). I'm not used to being hunched over a laptop, and today has been punishing for my back and neck, while my legs are grumbling at me for yesterday's exertions.

About three, I went downstairs and bought some junk food from the 7-11. The flat is perfectly located, if your ambition is to be drunk all the time and eat lots of Pringles. (You'd still stay thin because it's four floors up and there's no lift.) I returned, ate my way through too many calories, struggled with a recalcitrant spreadsheet and -

And where was the cat? She'd been quite attentive earlier, walking over the keyboard and moulting on the screen. She'd even purred at me from time to time. But now she had vanished.

There was enough cat hair on the sofa to make a cat-sized effigy, but that was not going to do. I could hardly turn up in Hong Kong, use all the toilet paper and replace my friend's cat with a cat-hair simulacrum. But the cat was nowhere to be found. Had she sneaked out when I made my mad dash for Pringles? Surely not; a housecat like her knows her place.

But a cat can't simply vanish. Perturbed, I looked under the sofa. I looked under the bed. I looked behind the curtains. I looked under the sofa again. I checked under the cushions, in the fridge, the toilet cistern. No cat.

The furballs were now like a challenge, a reverse Cheshire cat, assembling into a sneer, as if to say "ha, you can't even manage to look after a cat for 48 hours".

If you love someone, set them free. Perhaps it was only right that Lila would choose to leave, seizing the chance to seek her fortune in the great wide world. But it's hot in Hong Kong, too hot for a shy Scottish Fold with somnolent orange eyes.

I looked around again, ransacking my brain for a suitable hiding place. It's not as if there was enough space to swing a cat, let alone conceal one. She was gone' she must have slipped between my legs as I dumbly came back from the shops.

As I began to draft my apology, Lila walked up to me and gave a single mew of contempt, as if to say she couldn't vanish from this dimension for even a minute without me panicking myself half to death. Cats - they know more than they're letting on.


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