Billy, Timmy and Joey meet up with the formidable Big Jake. Their lives are in peril. Timmy's bowels explode in eye-watering, nostril-clenching fashion but Charlie saves the day when his alter-ego 'MOG THE MUTINOUS' comes to the rescue. 

The cat flap has opened up new dimensions for Billy, Timmy and Joey. It’s a bit like when your children first start playschool, when they first become a little bit independent from you. You need to be needed, but accept that they have to do things, and find things out, for themselves. So I resisted the urge to show the kittens how to give up the litter tray and start using the garden as their loo by NOT going to the toilet in next-door’s garden! Something I’m sure the neighbours would thank me for!

After Timmy’s unexpected propulsion up the garden path at warp factor 10, he viewed the cat flap with deep suspicion the next time he was about to go through it. He placed his paws behind him to protect his bottom from an untimely bite! Soon his confidence soared and he spent every spare second coming in and out through the cat flap just for the fun of it.

He kept bringing me stones and bits of twig from the compost heap. I would come down in the morning and the bathroom floor would have a little pile of stones with a few twigs placed nearby. The stones were not strewn across the floor, but placed carefully and neatly in a heap, almost like an altar.

I wondered if sacrifices had been offered in the night, or if Charlie – face streaked with mud as camouflage, a red bandana round his forehead, body glistening from fish oil, his hind legs astride a cowering kitten, knife between his teeth (get the scenario) – was putting them through initiation ceremonies.

I’d look out the backdoor each morning to find small saplings uprooted from the nearby park, and maybe a three-legged buffalo, slightly off-course, stacked up outside the cat flap – too big to pull through.

I sat in amazement one evening as the cat flap, minus Charlie on resident bouncer duties, tried to prevent a kitten coming through. I couldn’t see who it was as just a pair of ginger ears showed. The face was almost completely hidden by an enormous piece of ham. It looked like a very long and wide tongue, reaching down to the floor. The ‘tongue’ struggled its way into the kitchen. The owner of the ears peered round the side of ham, a smile in his eyes as if to say: ‘Look what I’ve brought for your supper! The late-night bin was open and this was begging to be taken!’

Joey! How thoughtful he was. Looking after my needs at a time when I couldn’t face eating anything.

It was Joey who also caught his first bird within a week of going through the cat flap. I happen to think the bird, caught up in the hopelessness of its life, probably believed in voluntary euthanasia and threw himself into Joey’s path. He had medals on his chest and was selling matches at the bottom of the footpath near the house.

Joey probably saved his life in a roundabout sort of way. It was a sad thing, though. I thought he was carrying a piece of carpet to contribute towards my bedroom carpet (which I still don’t have yet) so it wasn’t until he put it at my feet for inspection and approval that I realized it wasn’t a piece of shag pile. As he has brought me other useful objects before, rubber bands, a piece of polystyrene and a bit of broccoli stalk, I was disappointed that it couldn’t be used as a bedside rug. Discovering that it was a veteran from two world wars was a deeply humbling experience.

Charlie was brilliant with the kittens when they first started going out, showing them where to go for the best patches of sun, the best gardens to pee and poo in, and all sorts of other delightful things that kittens need to know in order to go about their daily business.

Charlie would accompany them on these trips, ensuring they were back home at a reasonable time, and not out too late. At first, they would keep coming back indoors, either to see if I’d moved house, or to see if I was all right. They would give me a kiss, cuddle and tell me all the latest gossip, before dancing off again.

One morning Billy, Timmy and Joey went down the garden as usual and peered under the gate. There was nothing on the horizon so they went under it out into the grassy alleyway which ran behind all the back gardens.

From out of nowhere Big Jake appeared. Every cat in the neighbourhood was afraid of Big Jake and with good reason. He was a monster of a cat. His face was wide, square and squashed up – probably from walking into many closed cat flaps. He resembled an old boxer retired from sparring in the ring. He had half an ear. No one knew where the other half was, or how he lost it. And if you wanted to keep your own ears, you didn’t ask.

He was stocky in build, like a brick outhouse and he stood his ground without flinching. And he was licking his lips in anticipation at whooping the asses off these three little whippersnappers who had the audacity to breathe in his space. He edged towards them. Billy, Timmy and Joey were rooted to the spot in fear.

Big Jake came a bit closer. He was now within a whisker’s distance from Billy who, having taken an interest in the priesthood, was turning his cheek in readiness to be struck.

Timmy felt an overwhelming urge to empty his bowels at this point and did so, uncontrollably and without the ceremony of hole digging beforehand. Joey, with his eyes watering, ventured a glance in his direction because the stench was unbelievable but although Timmy was aware of both Joey’s glance and the smell, he was powerless to do anything about either. Big Jake seemed totally unmoved and unaffected by Timmy’s unfortunate accident.

Timmy stifled a nervous fart which was bubbling up inside him. He knew if he let that critter escape there WOULD be trouble and Joey would have just cause to complain. Even this four-legged block of wood in front of them would pass out from one of Timmy’s ‘extra-special’ ‘double-strength’ kitten farts.

At that moment Charlie came bounding over the gate. He whirled into action like a feline tornado with his ‘Y’-fronts over his trousers. He was Miss Jean Brodie crossed with MOG the MUTINOUS! NOBODY, noBODY, NObody WAS going to mess with his ‘boys’. They would have to see him first.

He positioned himself between Big Jake and Billy, Timmy and Joey and stood slightly sideways to take the advantage of appearing larger than he actually was. Big Jake was huge, but at this moment in time, Charlie looked colossal with his fur standing out on end, and his big fat tail flicking quickly in undisguised anger.

Billy, Timmy and Joey slowly made their way backwards until they felt the familiar wood of the gate upon their backs. Three little ginger bottoms carefully inched their way under the gate until they were within the safe confines of the garden. Only their noses peeked underneath the gate keeping a worried eye on Charlie, their saviour.

Big Jake stood his ground. Charlie stood his ground. It was a stand-off. Biggles and Garfield had joined Billy, Timmy and Joey to support Charlie. Then suddenly, without warning or reason, Big Jake turned round and headed back towards his own garden. ‘See that we don’t have this conversation again,’ called Charlie, quoting Kevin Costner, his favourite actor, from the film ‘The Body Guard’. ‘Yeah, whatever,’ Big Jake threw back over his shoulder.

There was a tumultuous burst of applause. Not only from Biggles, Garfield, Billy, Timmy and Joey, but a whole host of other cats that had been terrorized by Big Jake. They had been hiding in various trees and bushes watching the scene unfold before them with fear and trembling. They had nearly given themselves away when Timmy delivered his eye-watering, nostril-clenching poo and struggled not to choke from the acrid fumes.

However, all that was forgotten now, as Charlie was hoisted up onto the shoulders of twin brothers ‘George’ and ‘Michael’ who lived a couple of doors away. He was their hero. Mog the Mutinous had scored a victory for the under-cat.

© Pauline Dewberry 2003



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