Posts Tagged ‘whiskas’

It’s been a long time since there’s been a chapter in The Whiskas Chronicles. In my naïve human way, I believed it was because we’d all matured a little. Whiskas was no longer getting medieval on my legs and subsequently I was no longer fighting him off with the hose. We believed we’d reached an unspoken pact, where peace reigned and we lived together in perfect harmony…like ebony and ivory.

Wrong. The cat had just raised his game. He had another range of tricks up his fluffy sleeve that he’d kept hidden from us.

I should have known better (this is turning into a blog full of dodgy song lyrics). This is the master criminal who actually played possum during a storm to avoid being thrown out into the dark night; got into a bathroom cupboard and somehow managed to close the cupboard door behind him and hid from us by standing still underneath the duvet hanging over the side of the bed (given away only by the curve of his belly causing a ‘bump’ in the cover).

During these hot nights his MO is that once he’s eaten his dinner he trots out of the back door to cool down somewhere outside – or so I was led to believe. I’ve watched him do this on loads of occasions and seen him leave the premises by way of the gently wafting curtain between the bedroom and the back terrace. What I only discovered last week was that he was implementing one of his cunning plans.

As usual I’d watched him leave but this time I had to go outside a few minutes after he’d gone. But there was no sign of the cat. As I came back through the bedroom and into the living room something caught my eye. The damn cat was sitting motionless, as though playing statues, on Andy’s pillow watching me intently to see if I’d spotted him. He was abruptly despatched from his throne with a shout and a helping hand on his furry backside.. God knows how long this has been going on, Andy has been suffering with an allergic bout of sneezing for weeks. We thought summer, but cat hair on the pillow was clearly the culprit.

I’ve tracked him since and discovered that as soon as he exits the house he does a U turn and comes straight back in again via the other side of the curtain which is out of my line of sight. Obviously with us thinking he was safely outside, he’s been free to jump up on the bed and curl up on Andy’s pillow for most of the rest of the night…or until one of us made a move. Since being found out he still makes attempt after attempt to get back to what has become a favourite spot so now we have to shut the doors from the bedroom to the garden, closing off our source of air conditioning in the summer.

You cannot trust this cat for a moment, he has schemes galore in his arsenal and I had simply forgotten this or, more likely, been lulled into a false sense of security. Who knows what else goes on in that Machiavellian head.

Maybe whilst the chimps have been taking over the planet in the cinemas, the cats have been plotting and hatching plans like Billy-o. By the end of the decade we’ll all be their slaves, feeding them mice as they recline on the sofas we once lounged about on…mark my words.

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Things happen for a reason – sometimes it’s good, sometimes not.

Don't anyone go 'aaaw'. He's a cat, he belongs outside.

Take yesterday. We’d just had the most wonderful weekend with my sister and her boyfriend who were staying in Playa de la Arena. They’d come across to Puerto de la Cruz on Saturday and the weather had been glorious. Sunday was the same. In fact the weather only deteriorated when we headed through the crater towards the south coast where it was quite moody and overcast. Ironic to think we were leaving the sun and the heat in the north.

Andy and I returned to Puerto on Monday morning where it was still clear blues skies… and then the world ended.

The first signs were that the sky darkened.

“Hmmm, I think we’re in for a bit of rain,” Andy made what must be the understatement of the year so far.

An hour later and it was full blown monsoon and the thunderous skies were booming. The deluge was spectacular.

At that point Whiskas decided that our house was his favourite after all and appeared at the window like a drowned rat. It might seem harsh, but setting a precedent with that cat is a dangerous business, so he was refused entry to the ‘ark’. There are plenty of places where he can stay dry.

All afternoon we watched the rain come down in sheets unaware of the devastation it was causing outside.

At around seven Andy decided to make some soup and tabouleh for lunch for the next couple of days, but a couple of phone calls from the UK delayed her. Funnily enough, both started with ‘It’s horrible here, windy and raining…’ – Guess what?

So it was later than planned when we started preparing Mediterranean chickpea stew for dinner. It’s a one pot wonder and I’d barely added all the ingredients to the pan when the gas jet went off.

Now we operate a two canister system for this very reason. However, it ain’t much use when both bottles are empty. Andy had been telling me that we needed to replace the gas for days, so she was a bit tight lipped as we threw on our coats and headed out into the rainy night.

As we passed the golf course gate, Glen, who works at the course, was huddled in the darkness. He’d been waiting for his wife for two hours and had been having trouble getting through on the phone.

We offered to give him a lift, but he assured us that his wife was due any moment.

Apart from a few rivers of boulders on the main road to Puerto, there didn’t seem to be much of a problem. We collected the gas and headed back home. As we were returning through the banana road we noticed a sodden looking figure wrapped in refuse bags; it was Glen.

This was as close to the rain as I wanted to get - through the front window!

It turned out his wife couldn’t leave their house in Los Realejos, boulders were blocking the road and he was resigned to having to walk home in the shocking weather. Los Realejos is quite a few kilometres away on the opposite side of town. We could hardly let the poor man walk, so we told him to jump in and headed back into town, this time towards the motorway… and it was at that point we realised that the rains had cause much more havoc than we realised.

There were flashing lights everywhere as police and firemen tried to make some sense out of the chaos. The motorway was gridlocked and the approach roads the same. Luckily we had opted for a back road to Los Realejos and although the roads were a mess we managed to avoid the queues. In the dreadful conditions it still took us an hour to get Glen within a couple of hundred yards of his house and then get back home via the centre of Puerto where traffic was quieter.

Amazingly we crossed the barranco (ravine) where later we saw on TV a rushing torrent of water washing away cars. Funnily a couple of years ago one of us commented ‘I wonder if there’s ever any water in there’ – now we know the answer. At the time we crossed it, about 20.45, we didn’t even notice that there was any water in it. I think all of the action had taken place by then.

We ended up finally sitting down to dinner at about 22.00 having done our good deed for the day.

Had Andy not decided to make soup and tabouleh before we cooked dinner (she doesn’t usually prepare lunches at that time), or our friends phone from the UK and had I not left replacing the gas until it was too late, we wouldn’t have ever left the house last night and Glen would probably have had to walk home in the awful weather. It was one of those little series of events which worked out well for him.

We were especially glad that they did – it was his birthday and having to brave monsoon conditions is no sort of birthday present for anyone.

At the moment relationships between ourselves and Whiskas are a bit like the relationship between Pakistan and India – fractious to say the least.

As always, Whiskas is the instigator of the deterioration of the fragile peace which exists between us. Not that he would see it this way; we, of course, are the clear guilty party in a series of events which have led to Whiskas muttering away like Mutley in the Wacky Races every time he comes near us.
The root of the problem is the ‘irregular’ feeding patterns of the neighbour’s cats. One of whom has taken to spending most of their time on our terrace hoping to feed on any scraps left by the ‘Great White One’.

Personally I think, not unfairly I feel, that the cat world is Whiskas territory. He should be the one who decides whether another cat can spend time here or not. But no, even in terms of feline matters, Whiskas thinks we should be the ones who should keep his territory cat free.

This situation has been the cause of Whiskas being unsettled for the past couple of weeks, but the situation dive-bombed over the weekend after a couple of unfortunate incidents which were hilariously funny, but which ripped Whiskas’ credibility to shreds.

The cat which has ‘moved in’ sits, strategically, on the part of the wall beside our front gate that Whiskas uses to get in and out of the garden. I have actually built a cat’s entrance on the opposite side of the gate which every other cat in the neighbourhood uses… except Whiskas. So Whiskas usually simply sits and glares at the cat blocking his entrance.
On Saturday he made the mistake of trying to bypass the rogue cat by using a rather complicated method of getting over the gate – climbing up the mesh like a commando.
Whiskas was never very good at this and normally he’d make a run at it, but for some reason (maybe he thought it looked cooler) he simply started to climb.
Unfortunately he’s put on a bit of weight since he last attempted it and his front paws obviously couldn’t support his big belly. He climbed a couple of rungs of the mesh and got stuck, front legs and back legs fully extended, like a prisoner caught in the spotlight trying to escape from a POW camp.

Andy ran out as fast as she could to help him down before a claw was pulled out, but this meant opening the gate inwards with the cat stuck to it. It was a ridiculous sight and we both creased up which didn’t go down well especially as it all took place under the smirking gaze of the feline interloper. Whiskas bitched like hell as Andy lifted him from the wire whilst trying to avoid his lunging jaws. Once again we were to blame for his predicament.

The situation went from bad to worse later in the day when Whiskas tried to sneak into the house whilst we were working. We have a beaded curtain across the front door to keep flies, dragonflies, butterflies and big scary looking wasp things out. Sometimes a couple of the lines of beads become entangled and the route Whiskas chose took him through two beaded strands where this had happened. We heard a commotion at the door and turned to see Whiskas caught in the doorway with a silver glittery necklace restraining him from moving forward. I should have gone to help him right away, but instead we laughed which annoyed the cat. He turned and tried to go back the way he had came, tangling the beads further and creating a straightjacket effect – he was comletely trapped. By the time I reached him he wasn’t a happy bunny. In his head we’d obviously set up an ingenious trap to stop him coming in the house.

I managed to unwrap him with no injury to myself (no mean feat as it was like trying to get a great white shark out of a fishing net) and he ran off into the undergrowth chuntering all the way. I could still hear him long after he’d disappeared from sight.

So that was Whiskas’ disastrous weekend. If he had digits instead of claws I’m sure he would have phoned the Canarian version of the RSPCA by now.

Another cat has taken to hanging around finishing off Whiskas’ meals; not a state of affairs that he’s comfortable with. He’s such a precious creature that he’d reached the point where he wouldn’t eat at all if there was another cat in the vicinity (obviously not that hungry then). The result of this was that his bowl was moved back into the kitchen so that he could eat undisturbed (thank goodness we’ve never had children; they would be right spoiled brats).

Recently he’s been treating us as little more than a fast food joint. Whiskas turns up at food times, Whiskas eats and then Whiskas disappears to who knows where until it’s feeding time again. Cats – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – are such mercenary little bastards.

However, we’ve been out all day quite a bit of late so haven’t always been ‘en casa’ when Whiskas turns up for his chow. This is good for Whiskas as it makes him reassess his ‘taking things for granted’ attitude, so when we got home on Saturday night Whiskas obviously felt the need to rebuild some bridges.

At around 23.00, as we sat with a glass of wine on the candlelit back porch the still night was broken by a rustling in the bushes before Whiskas emerged triumphantly with some poor creature fixed firmly in his gob – a present.

“Aw, he’s brought us a gecko,” Andy announced.

But as he trotted closer, we saw that it was too big for a gecko, it was a mouse and this is where things went pear shaped.

Whiskas completely ignored us and, before I could stop him, trotted straight past me and into the house heading for the kitchen with the intention to drop the mouse there in exchange for some brekkies (why he thinks this is a good deal for us, god only knows). This would have been disaster. Had the mouse managed to get under the washing machine, fridge, or tumble dryer we would probably never have seen it again… not until a little mouse family emerged anyway.

I managed to cut him off at the front door, still with mouse in gob, and opened the door to shoo him out. But this didn’t go down well. In Whiskas’ eyes he was being punished for bringing us a present and that was simply unfair. Unfortunately he felt the need to protest this point by opening his mouth at which the mouse fell to the ground and immediately shot into the bedroom and under the bed with Whiskas in hot pursuit followed by me cursing the cat for being such an eejit.

The space under our bed is used for storage for all sorts of rubbish and is the perfect place for a mouse to go to ground. Whiskas must have spent all of 30 seconds trying to track it down before he got bored and sauntered off with an ‘I’ve delivered the present, it’s up to you what you do with it now’ expression on his face, leaving us to sort out the problem he had created.

For the best part of an hour we pushed and prodded boxes with a plastic Carnaval sword before we eventually manoeuvred the mouse behind a corner cupboard. Then we built an elaborate tunnel out of games and shoe boxes which connected the cupboard with the back door (Andy’s inspirational idea) and, with some gentle prodding with the sword, we finally persuaded the mouse to try out its new mouse-sized walkway and it  scurried happily along it back to the garden and freedom.

We were relieved the mouse was out of the house and the mouse was presumably overjoyed that his Saturday night hadn’t been ruined by being eaten by a cat. The only dissatisfied party was Whiskas who had not only not received a reward for his present, didn’t even get to eat the animal as compensation.

No doubt we will pay the price for this outcome at some point.

Hands up, who saw anything? To paraphrase Jim Royle of The Royle Family:

‘Perseids meteor shower my arse.’

At around half past midnight last night, Andy and I lay on our backs on the front terrace and stared up into a slightly cloudy sky. As we waited the cloud cover broke and the sparkling stars began to shine through… but no meteors.

It was quite calming lying there staring at the stars, well it was until Whiskas spotted us from wherever it is he lurks at night and decided Andy’s hair was worth eating in the absence of anything in his bowl.

It would have been a beautifully quiet night apart from the fact that I could hear Jesús somewhere in his garden spouting hippy drippy nonsense to somebody on his mobile. Further along the garden, his sister was on her mobile taking orders for clothes, booze and fags from friends back in the Basque country (everything is much cheaper here than where they come from).

We lay there for about half an hour without seeing zilch, before we gave up and left Hippy Harry and Shopaholic Sharon to their various conversations.

We’ve seen plenty of shooting stars from our terrace, just never when the news websites tell us they’re going to happen.

There was a moment on Saturday night when I re-evaluated my belief that having children is more of a burden than having a cat… or, more accurately, a cat having you.

We were at a barbeque at our neighbour’s house. It was a sort of united nations affair where we were the only Brits amidst a small gathering of French, Spanish and someone who could have been Canadian French, or Canarian French – I didn’t quite catch that part. Shortly after we arrived, a noise on the roof of the alcove above the barbeque attracted everyone’s attention and we looked up to see a leering cat perched above the sizzling beef and lamb steaks.

Nicole, our neighbour, tried to shoo the cat away, but it simply jumped to the ground and legged it behind a hedge before emerging a few seconds later on the opposite side of the barbeque, ready for another attempt on its glistening prizes.

“I don’t know whose cat this is?” Nicole said, “But it is always coming around trying to steal food.”

“He’s ours,” I mumbled. “That’s Whiskas.”

I took a sip of wine and buried my head in my hands in embarrassment.

To be fair to Whiskas his eating pattern had been noisily disturbed. Our other neighbour had hired out her house for a christening and a huge bouncy castle had been erected in the garden. This freaked Whiskas who must have viewed it as some multi coloured monster which ate children.
From the position of his bowl on the front terrace he had a partial view of the monster so when it came to time for me to give him his ‘dinner’ before we went to Nicole’s, he was distracted by the orange and yellow beast to such an extent that he couldn’t eat. His untouched food was taken back inside the house for safe keeping – away from other cats in the area that weren’t quite as precious about needing a tranquil environment when dining.

By ten o’clock, the bouncy castle must have been taken down and Whiskas clearly had discovered his appetite again which meant tracking down the source of the nearest foodie smells and embarrassing us in the process.

After a few ninja attempts on the barbeque, it was obvious that Whiskas wasn’t leaving the area of his own accord. I apologized to everyone and with a deft manoeuvre, grabbed the cat and without further ado escorted him from the premises. Surprisingly, despite an initial bit of bitching, he didn’t make too much of a fuss.
I carried him back to the house, noticing that his purring was getting louder with each step. By the time we reached the house and I plonked his bowl of cat food in front of him his purr-o-meter was in overdrive and he lapped it up. I realised that this was what the disruption at the BBQ had all been about. As usual Whiskas had got the result he wanted.

I left him with his dinner and went back to the BBQ where Andy and I were finally able to relax and enjoy ourselves for an hour or so until Jerome, a Parisian student, tapped me on the arm.

“Jack, Jack, look.”

Sneaking across the roof again was an unmistakeable white shape with half a tail.

At least kids don’t scramble across the rooftops to follow you when you go out for the evening.

Whiskas has been well behaved for some time now. Well apart from some disgraceful behaviour during dinner last night. When Whiskas stands on his back legs he can just about see on to the dining table. Every so often he tries to reach out a paw to swipe at something he takes a fancy to (a sort of casting out a fishing hook principle). Usually it’s more in hope than anything else, but last night he got lucky, sort of. He connected with the lid to the chilli sauce bottle and it hit the deck. Now I should have let the little bugger have a lick of the chilli sauce – that would have been a lesson for him, but instead I grabbed the bottle top before he got anywhere near it.

The trouble was that he’d been successful once and that was motivation enough for Whiskas. Within seconds he was back at full stretch, the white paw lashing out to try to grab at anything. For some reason he took a particular liking to my lime green glass cover with little bobbly bits on it and tried to hook it a couple of times – at one point both his legs left the ground and he hung suspended Lara Croft-like from the edge of the table by his front paws. It was quite the funniest sight I’d seen in a long time (I must try and get a picture), but he was in danger of getting overly excited and had to be reminded that a place actually hadn’t been set for him at the dinner table i.e. he was removed by the scruff of his neck.

Anyway that’s another story. As I was saying he’s been well behaved ever since his ‘bed’ on the bench outside our bedroom was rolled up as punishment for NIN (noise in the night). Ironically it wasn’t the punishment which caused him to rethink his bad behaviour, it was the fact that when I rolled up his cushion inside the bench cover, I unwittingly created a bed which was far more comfortable than his previous. A bit of readjustment and fluffing here and there by Whiskas and he’d created the luxury pad. Now when he crawls on to it he crashes out big time – dead to the world – and we don’t hear a squeak from him till morning.

Awww, butter wouldnt melt...thats cos it would be straight down his throat!

Awww, butter wouldn't melt...that's cos it would be straight down his throat!