Those of you who have been following the ramblings of this blog for some time will know that Winston Ocicat Cooke has a weight problem and it is this – he wishes to be heavier than we think is good for him and to that end he steals food whenever he can. If I’m slicing ham or cutting cheese, chopping chicken or fiddling with fish, he is there, stretching a delicate paw to snaffle a morsel – or several – for himself. It is no good putting such delicacies in a dish for him – he disdains them and prefers to pilfer.
I’m sure he is suffering a crisis of confidence lately. When Bertie first came to live with us five weeks ago (feels more like five years!) he was considerably smaller than Winston. Winston was quite happy about that since he had the upper paw. Now, though, Bertie is taller and heavier than Winston and I think Winston feels that he is shrinking and that is not really acceptable to him as he’s not yet four years old.
We have frustrated his efforts to nab nibbles from Bertie’s dish by placing the dish in the centre of Bertie’s pen. Bertie eats in his pen otherwise he would starve through the dastardly depredations of the devious older dogs - and Winston. Likewise, they would lose many of their rations to the eager jaws of a puppy who really, really likes their raw meat – heart, chicken, turkey, tripe – yum! He has small helpings of such delightful dainties and they disappear like snow in June into his champing chops – I fear he may become as greedy a gastronome as Winston, a destiny entirely possible for a Labrador, some might even suggest obligatory.
However, back to Winston and the pressing problem of his portliness. He is a very calm cat, a tranquil (ex) tom, a feline unflustered by the goings-on in his world. He doesn’t care for excessive exercise and soon wearies of workouts, choosing to chill on any one of several posing platforms, preferably in the sunshine which occasionally graces these isles.
Thus, we ration his food carefully – it’s never good to starve a cat – and he enjoys it and we congratulate ourselves that yes, he is looking slimmer, even svelte, and he is displaying more dynamism – travelling from one lap to another and back again must burn a few calories, surely? What we have not grasped is that in the intricate intellect of this handsome fellow a plan is hatching.
Winston enjoys short sojourns in the garage where he plays out the part of heroic mouse-catcher and guardian of the house. (The garage is integral to the house.) He slips out when someone opens the house door and spends many a happy hour patrolling the perimeter, principally where the up-and-over door almost meets the garage floor (and a mighty draught howls through that gap in the winter!) He prowls and growls and terrifies spiders and ants and eventually he taps on the door to order the humans to let him back into the warmth and comfort of home.
As well as housing my car, the garage is a store for many things we can’t or don’t want to have indoors – ladders, workbenches, chainsaw – you get the idea. Also stowed out there are bird seed, bird fat cakes, fish food and Bertie’s puppy food. The lid of the fish food is usually firmly fitted to the bucket. The other day it had been knocked over and Winston was sampling it with great relish. Fish food smells very . . . fishy. Fish are cannibals!
At the weekend the garage door was not secured and Winston escaped into his own private playground. I thought nothing of it, supposing that he was lost in dreams of SuperCatdom but later, realising he had been gone for some time, I opened the door and out jumped Winston – out of the puppy food bin, that is, the lid of which had not been replaced properly. He was sated, gorged, replete – actually, full up and fit to bust.
So, back to square one!