A rectangular piece of ground comprising ten or so back gardens was, it its own way, a small but perfectly formed nature, or should it be, wildlife area. There were lots of trees, bushes, hedges, plants, a few fences and the odd shed. Wildlife of the mobile kind consisted of various birds, chiefly a gang of sparrows which flitted from garden to garden to see who had the best filled bird feeder; blackbirds looking for anything edible and wood pigeons, who, when they weren’t fighting amongst themselves, were rearing youngsters in the evergreens.

cuteiclesBut top dogs were the cats! There was Ted and Dumpty, although Dumpty didn’t ‘do’ outside. Ted didn’t do a lot since his arthritis had set in. Cuticles lived nearby, a ginger and white cat with a long ringed tail and there was a black cat who was thought to be a stray who would come looking for scraps to hold body and soul together. There was also an occasional visitor, a jet black cat with sad green eyes.

Then of course there was Spike.

spikeSpike could have been the model for the Felix pet food advert. Outside he was a garden tiger. Inside the house he was just an adorable overgrown kitten with his humans. Spike didn’t cause a great deal of trouble, not for the other cats at any rate. But he did catch the occasional mouse and even caught a wood pigeon one day, but that was swiftly taken off him much to his disgust. Spike liked to spend his days sitting on the conservatory roof where he could just watch his world go by.

So, one way or another, there was a settled and very predictable community of plants, animals and humans until the arrival of Teddy Whiz Bang who came to live with Spike.

teddiewhizbangNow, it has to be pointed out that this was not Spike’s choice. For Spike to rehome a black Chihuahua cross who had a great deal more energy than Spike could cope with, was not something Spike was best pleased about. So poor Spike unfortunately found himself outside in the garden more than he would have liked to have been, either on his fence or in some-one else’s garden when Teddy Whiz Bang was proudly  trotting round his new territory.

It didn’t take Teddy Whiz Bang long to discover a hole in the hedgerow which led him into yet another garden.

Spike would watch him from his command post on top of the conservatory. As the days passed, Spike was sort of getting used to Teddy Whiz Bang, but they were a long way off eating from the same plate. Teddy Whiz Bang wasn’t much bigger than Spike, but his teeth and fangs were much sharper than Spike’s and that was what made Spike wary of him.

News of the recently arrived little dog soon shot down the feline telegraph and Spike’s was now a garden to be avoided.  But Spike had to run the gauntlet of yaps and snaps to get inside to his food.  Spike was very dignified and was determined to hang onto his patch at all costs. What he really needed was some help.

As the days turned into weeks there was still unease between Spike and Teddy Whiz Bang. Help for Spike was slow in coming, but come it did, in the shape of Ninja.

Ninja was a very small girl cat whom no-one had seen before. She didn’t know that she had to avoid Spike’s garden and true to form Teddy Whiz Bang spotted her padding across his lawn. He came tearing out at turbo speed snapping and yapping. The little cat stopped, stood her ground and rounded on Teddy Whiz Bang with an arched back, fur standing on end. She coolly watched, unimpressed, as Teddy Whiz Bang skipped around her.

Teddy Whiz Bang wasn’t too sure what to make of the new cat who wasn’t taking his threats seriously, so he stopped yapping and trying to bite for a moment. Then he slowly crept up on Ninja. Ninja let out a hiss, as far as she was concerned Teddy Whiz Bang was in her own personal space. Spike sat on the conservatory open mouthed. Ted, who spend most of his days curled up on a catnip bush in the sunshine, having heard the commotion, limped to the bottom of his garden for a better view. He was just in time for a grandstand finale to the stand-off between Ninja and Teddy Whiz Bang.

Ninja’ left paw was raised, claws fully unsheathed and in a flash the claws swept across Teddy Whiz Bang’s snout.

Teddy Whiz Bang recoiled in shock. Ninja pressed home the advantage and clawed the little dog’s nose again. To Spike and Ted’s amazement the little black dog, tail between his legs, went running off crying to the safety of his kitchen. Ninja sheathed her claws and carried on padding across the garden is if nothing had happened.

“Hmmm,” though Spike to himself. “So, that’s how you do it” and with that he dropped down off the conservatory roof and marched into the kitchen. Spike did his best to look as big and as muscular as he could as he strolled into the kitchen as if he owned the place. He sat down in front of Teddy Whiz Bang and slowly he unsheathed his claws one by one on one of his front paws then slowly and pointedly, he washed them, whilst giving Teddy Whiz Bang a very hard stare.

This was the start of Spike regaining his rightful place as top dog in his household.

 

A Cats Purr

"Cats make one of the most satisfying sounds in the world: they purr ...

A purring cat is a form of high praise, like a gold star on a test paper. It is reinforcement of something we would all like to believe about ourselves - that we are nice."

Roger A Caras