Political Correctness and the Felines

Political correctness does not really exist in my language as such (and I speak a few languages). What does exist for me is tolerance and in all languages. If I want to celebrate Christmas I do (although to be quite honest, being a non-believer I only do it for the rest). If someone prefers to celebrate a festival of lights, then it is their choice. I absolutely do not have a problem. I abhor discrimination, it is just not so important. Important is that we can all talk to each other, understand problems we all have and not differentiate between skin colours, religions, even what you eat. I like to discuss with my friends from other countries, to know what it means to live by another creed or way of life. It can only be beneficial and help towards understanding.

“Mrs. Human, Mrs. Human, just a minute: all this big talk about being equal and understanding. What about me?, I me and myself. Where was the friendly understanding when you packed me off to the vets?”

Oh dear, my chief feline Nera is waving her paw and has a few meows to contribute.

Nera in the flowers

“Nera I did not pack you off to the vets, as you say. It was a necessity. You were tearing your own fur out, walking around with hairs hanging from your teeth. This has nothing to do with political correctness, it was a necessity. The remaining fur you had was matted together similar to a moth eaten Persian carpet and what was living in your coat, who knows?”

“But no-one asked me if I wanted to have a haircut. It was not a haircut. It was a vicious attack, an act of revenge from a anti feline vet that had nothing better to do. Tabby, stop rolling on the floor with laughter, it is not funny. I have been insulted.”

Nera’s litter sister was looking at Nera with her new fur style and laughing.

“Nera, you must admit the vet really went to town with the shears this time. She must have been practicing on a heard of sheep before she started on you.”

“Tabby, now you are adding insult to injury. Mrs. Human, do you know what the vet said before she started on this fur massacre. Before I fell asleep, under anaesthetic of course, she said to the assistant “We will have to clean her teeth. Her breath smells and she has tartar on her teeth”.

“But Nera, be glad she discovered it otherwise your teeth might have fallen out.”

“Mrs. Human I definitely heard what the vet said to you on the telephone.”

“ Nera has traces of tartar on her teeth, brown stains, and it could lead to tooth decay. It is to be expected from an older cat, she is now 11 years old and it is better to remove the tartar. We can now do it quite easily, as she will be put to sleep.”

“Nera, it is for your own good and look now, you have such wonderful clean teeth and a new look.”

“All in the name of improvement you think. I liked my wonderful, super luxury fur. All the other felines in the neighbourhood were jealous of my handsome looks. All self-respecting felines have feline breath odour, it belongs to us. Who wants to smell like a peppermint stick, when you can smell like a tin of fresh tuna fish and I am not old. I am at an interesting age, in my prime. My pride has been hurt. Now look at me: I resemble a stand-in for Puss in Boots in a Walt Disney film. I think the vet must be practicing for haircut of the year, the new look for felines. Not with me, I am annoyed. This is not political correctness. I will definitely get a post-traumatic stress disorder from this treatment.”

“Rubbish Nera: in a few weeks your fur will start to grow again. It will be much better, silkier and no longer serve as a transport for ants, snails, bugs, and all sorts of seeds from the garden. Your fur was becoming a magnetized Velcro, a feline hook and loop fastener, being stuck together with all sorts of strange objects. The vet did not even dare to examine the fur he removed, he burnt it straight away in an incinerator.”

“And now I suppose you will be showing my new look to all those people out there in your blog; big deal.”

“Nera, look at it like this. There will be so many felines jealous of your new look, they will be scratching the vet’s clinic door to have the same. I saw that Garfield’s new girlfriend is a Sphynx feline, so you are still in the narrow selection.”

“Oh, I see, he is now going for the naked look. You mean he might see my photo and recognise my true beauty.”

Now I have a happy Nera, satisfied with her new style and everything is again politically correct. Huh? I mean she is a feline and not a personality or?

Nera the cat had a haircut

Nera the cat had a haircut

Freaky Friday – Me, a feline?

Tabby having a wash

Another Friday, week-end shopping to take care of, otherwise just take it easy. I awoke and discovered an itch behind my ear. No problem I lifted my back right leg, claws protruded, and gave it a scratch.

I did what? Something wrong somewhere. I arose on all four legs and walked over to the mirror. What did I see. I saw a tabby cat that glared back, an enemy in my territory. That was the feline side of my brain, but I am human, so I am looking at my reflection. I am a cat. Is this a new version of the Kafka novel The Metamorphosis, where I awake as a member of the feline race. Will I be shunned, ignored by all, left to die of negligence and starvation? Is this the punishment for something I did wrong?

“Meow Mrs. Human” and I was looking into the eyes of my chief cat Nera. “How does it feel?”
“Nera I do not like jokes, this is not funny. I know I often wondered how it must be as a feline, but just wondered.”

“No problem Mrs. Human. I had a word with Bast, you know our chieftain, and he said that he would grant you our wish for you to become a feline, just for a day.”

“Did someone ask me?”

“Mrs. Humans, we felines do not ask, we command. Tabby, Fluffy and I were pleased to see how you coped with the scratch behind the ear.”

“But now something seems to be moving at my fur roots.”

“Just open your mouth and give it a bite. I wouldn’t worry, it is just a cat’s fur life. Might be something or nothing, but you will not die from it. Probably some sort of microbe. If it is a flea it will jump out, but we do not have fleas. We are clean felines. Now I would suggest having a lick all over, just to keep the fur clean.”

So I began to lick my fur. There were some places I could not reach. The side of my head for example, but Tabby gave me advice.

“Mrs. Human, lick your front paw and then wipe it over your head. No, not like that. You have to begin at the back of your ears and go forward to the mouth.”

“Ah yes, I see, what a great feeling. I feel newly born. I am also hungry.”

“Just sniff your way to the food bowl” said Fluffy “the way I do.”

“I can smell  the food, but the bowl is blurred at the edges. Nearly everything near is blurred, but I can see a bird in the tree on the other side of the garden quite clearly”.

“Mrs. Human we felines are short sighted. That is why you should use your nose as well to find something worth eating. You cannot see anything in front of your nose, only things on the other side of the field” advised Tabby.

“That is why I told you to sniff your way to the food bowl; that is always successfulI” said Fluffy.

“Yuck, what is that? I have a mouth full of something that is tasty, but I have to crunch it. Sort of hard pellets, not even with a soft centre: it seems to go down well, but not exactly my taste. Any tuna fish available?”

Nera laughed.

“Nera that is not funny, where is the tuna fish?”

“Mrs. Human, did you open a tin of tuna fish yesterday for our meal. Did you prepare three bowls for Fluffy, Tabby and myself? No, because for some strange reason it was not Wednesday, whatever Wednesday is and we only have tuna fish once a human week on Wednesday.”

“Where is the tin, I will open a tin for us all. How do you expect me to survive on prefabricated pellets of dehydrated something that has a faint taste of chicken?

“The same as you expect we three felines to survive. It is supposed to be full of vitamins and good for you. That is what you are always telling us in your human life. Now it looks like you will have to eat it yourself. Felines do not open tins, they are paw proof.  Just remember that tomorrow.”

I choked half a bowl of food down, gave myself another licked wash and felt tired.

“Where can I sleep Nera?”

“I don’t care Mrs. Human. Do we care Tabby, Fluffy.?

and all three felines looked at me with astonishment on their whiskered faces.

“Just find somewhere that appeals, a bed, a chair, even on some grass, turn once or twice in a circle and sink down, but pull your tail in.”

“I have a tail? Of course I have a tail, silly question, forget it.”

I slept, and slept and slept and slept etc. etc. That is an advantage of being a cat, you never suffer from insomnia, although I noticed you still realise what is happening around you when sleeping. I must ask Nera how that works.

Tempo passati, it was Saturday. No Freaky Friday any more. My day of Kafkaesque existence was over. What do I do to celebrate, I open a tin of tuna fish and serve it in four dishes. Four dishes? I only have three felines, so who eats the fourth dish. OK, you guessed. I also did not forget to burn a candle for Bast and tell him to forget the experiment in future. I promised to serve tuna fish twice a week instead of only on Wednesday.

Full Moon with Nera the chief feline

Nera the cat had a haircut

“Ready Mrs. Human?”

“For what Nera?”

“It’s full moon, the night when you take a ride on your broomstick and I come with you as your familiar.”

“Of course Nera, I almost forgot. I have been too busy sweeping dead mice together that you and your two feline colleagues leave outside the window after a night out in the fields. Have you oiled your broomstick?”

“All ready Mrs. Human, so let’s go.”

It has become quite a routine with Nera and I. Every full moon night I feel the urge to put on my pointed hat and join the bats for a nocturnal flight. With age I noticed even my nose becomes more crooked. I had to buy a new broom last week, as the old one was losing the bristles. I think I lost some having a fight with a bat on my last flight. It was one of those vampire bats, you find more and more these days. I think it has something to do with the new department at the local hospital, the blood bank. They gather around the windows every full moon hoping for a few breakages.

“Quite right Mrs. Human” said Nera my chief cat. “If you ask me it has to do with all that radioactivity in the air. It never used to be that way when people used coal and gas for their energy. Since those nuclear power plants exist, you get all sorts of strange things happening.”

“Ok Nera, where shall we go tonight? I thought we could pay a visit to Old Nick down at the graveyard. I heard there is a ghoul party going on: lots of spirits and fun with some dry bones.”

“OK, let’s go” and Nera and I gave a start kick on the broom and flew off.

“Mrs. Human, not so fast, I can hardly keep up with you. Since you bought that new broom with the automatic gear change you leave me behind. I only have an average
three gear execution and have to slow down every time I fly a corner.”

“Sorry Nera, I will buy you a new broom for your birthday and then we can wizz around together.”

“Mrs. Human, put your foot on the breaks, I can see the graveyard below.”

I breaked, but not soon enough and flew into the marble statue of an angel.”

“Hey, be careful, you nearly broke off the tip of my wing” said an annoyed angel. “All the same with you witches, the faster you travel the more damage you cause.”

“Mrs. Human, I think I will stay with my normal broom, those automatic broomsticks seem to have their problems.”

And I landed eventually with a bump at the graveyard. I could see candle light illuminating a few graves and there was singing to the rhythm of the bones.”

“Hello Old Nick, quite a party you have here.”

“We are having fun: nothing like a full moon night to wake things up. Some of the departed can’t wait for a nice full round moon illuminating the night sky. Even a corpse can get bored from time to time. We have a few new residents and they are still getting used to things. When they see what a nice friendly bunch we are, they soon get acclimatised. Where’s Nera?”

“I am here Old Nick. I cannot let Mrs. Human travel on her own, you never know what could happen, especially with that new broom.”

“Yes, I noticed she almost decapitated one of the angels. We cannot have that in a well organised graveyard: all those new-fangled developments with the brooms. Things are just not like they used to be. I have even seen some witches wearing pink hats and they have small straight noses. Where will it end?”

Actually I was thinking about a pink hat myself and having my nose straightened, but I suppose I will leave that idea on the side for now.

“Did you say something Mrs. Human?” asked Nick.

“No, no, just thinking out loud. Nera I think we must be going. I cannot drink too much of those spirits, I might fall off the broom and a witch swaying from side to side on the full moon highway is not exactly ideal.”

“Yes, Mrs. Human I am with you, although those bones were quite tasty. Where did you get them Nick?”

“To be quite honest, I think a dog buried them in the field next to the graveyard, but we will keep that to ourselves. It might reduce the reputation of the graveyard. “

So I saddled my broom, Nera jumped onto her broom and we waved goodbye to Old Nick and some other colleagues and flew home, arriving nice and safe in the early morning hours. After putting our cloaks and hats away in the cupboard under the stairs, we crawled into our beds and slept soundly with the noise of the festivities in the graveyard still ringing in our ears.

I’d Like to thank my Cats

chicken

“Felines, what is that sitting on the table? It looks like a golden chicken.”

“It is a golden chicken Mrs. Human, a reward for your services as official slave to my esteemed self, Tabby my litter sister and assistant, and Fluffy, our honourable apprentice. Not every feline slave is awarded such an honour by the court of Bast, and you should now show your gratitude by preparing a speech to be delivered to the local feline population. They are awaiting you wise words outside in our territory.” And so spoke Nera the chief feline.

I took a peek through the window and was astonished to see the complete feline population of the village sitting outside.

“But Nera, I am totally unprepared.”

“No Problem Mrs. Human, I though you would be, so I wrote it myself, you can just read it.”

I began

“It is with pleasure that I receive the award of the golden chicken for my constant labour to ensure that the three felines that own me are satisfied and happy. I had a long road to take to achieve this balance of give and take, but it seems that I have achieved the perfect result with giving and my felines find that taking for them has been a reward worth waiting for.

It is not an easy task to become a perfect slave, fulfilling the wishes and giving my best for the felines that adopted me. All beginnings are difficult, but thanks to the guiding paw of Nera, my chief disciplinarian and slave master, I have achieved perfection in my task and today receive my reward, the Golden Chicken.”

Here I had to pause whilst the felines clapped with their paws and meowed in approval. I then continued.

“I would not be standing here today, were it not for the support and encouragement of Nera, my slave driver and her team. Thanks to their guidance I soon learned that just serving one helping of tuna fish per week does not qualify to become a true feline slave. It is to be served at least three times during the week. Vitamine pellets are no substitute for tuna fish, but are to be regarded as an addition to the feline diet.

The feline tray is to be emptied regularly and no traces of the recycling process are to be left. Feline fur should be brushed immediately from the surfaces of their cushions. Their places of relaxation are to be revered and treated as blessed, a quiet place for meditation and restful sleep. Their territory is to be regarded as a sacred place, where no other felines are to tread and it is my duty to ensure that this rule is obeyed.”

The last sentence was greeted with a few hisses amongst some of the feline spectators, but Nera put them to order with protruding claws and threatening gestures.

“And now it seems, after receiving this token of recognition for my eternal duties to my three felines, the prize will now be cooked and served to all felines present at this presentation. May Bast be with you all.”

I found it strange that an award I had received will now be taken from me and served to the feline audience. Whilst they were tearing pieces of flesh from the bones of the chicken I had a few words with Nera.

“Nera I do not get this. I read the speech you prepared. I cannot say I was entirely in agreement with the words, but now all the felines in the neighbourhood are eating my prize.”

“Mrs. Human, we are felines, you are our slave. Since when do slaves get the breast of the chicken. There might be a wing or some of the parson’s nose left for you, if my feline colleagues agree.”

Today I learnt something: never trust a feline when they want to give you something. There is always a drawback somewhere.

The Day the Cats Took Over

Garden

I suppose it is all a matter of how you look at it. In my original form, as a human, I just found it a normal garden, nothing special, a place where seeds find a way to grow and a place where, as a human, I pull them out again. Now I see it all with other eyes, thanks to my felines. They decided it is now a cat’s life for me and I just have to get on with it. Thanks cats, I think I would have preferred to remain a human.

I woke up this morning and felt an irritating itch behind my ear, so I raised my back leg, the right one as the itch was on the right ear, and gave it a scratch, feeling my claws finding a path to an unknown object to expel from my fur.  Huh! Just a minute, what am I thinking?

“No problem Mrs. Human, or shall I say welcome to the fold.” The voice in my head originated from Tabby, one of my felines.

“Uh, Tabby, something is wrong here.”

“Of course it isn’t Mrs. Feline, you are now one of us. Nera and I with a positive meow from our apprentice Fluffy, decided it was time for our Human to discover what it is like to exist as a feline at the mercy of a human. We had a word with Bast, our big boss somewhere in an Egyptian corn chamber, and he waved his paw and now you are a feline. How does it feel Mrs. Feline?”

I looked at Tabby, but she was a blurred picture in front of my nose, so I took a few steps back for a clearer picture.

“You see Mrs. Feline, that is a feline problem, we are short sighted. Think about it the next time you place something in front of our noses, give us time to focus.”

“But Tabby, I do not remember this all happening.”

“Of course not, Mrs. Feline” Nera the chief feline arrived. “Bast works his wonders during sleep time.”

“Oh I see”, but I did not really see at all.

“What’s that?” I suddenly heard a rustle in the grass and noticed a long tail disappearing between the grass stalks. Before Nera or Tabby could answer I was off as fast as all four legs could carry me. I could feel the call of the hunt. Scents filled my nose, appetising scents, and I saw the tail disappear into a hole in the earth. I was fast and had my paw behind this moving food ration in the hole.

“Aww” and I pulled my throbbing paw out of the hole.

“One of the first rules of a mouse hunt, Mrs. Feline, do not put your paw in a mouse hole, especially if the mouse is being pursued and escapes They bite the paw that follows. Mouse rule No. 1.”

“So how do you catch them Nera?” thinking ask a silly question and probably I receive a silly answer.

“You wait, not just a few minutes like the human impatient way of doing things, but sometimes it can be a matter of human hours until the mouse appears. Then you pounce and trap the mouse between the front paws. After a while he is dead and then the fun begins. Nothing like the tins of tuna fish, or vitamin pellets, but real flesh and blood. Forget your vegetarian ideas Mrs. Feline, you are now a real feline and you eat something that used to walk and breath.”

Perhaps I still had a remainder of human brain cells, but this feline logic did not really appeal to me. I was still learning it seems.

“Nera, I feel tired, is there somewhere I can sleep?”

“Now that is a question of priorities” answered Nera.

“How does that work?” I asked innocently, not expecting a positive answer: this time Fluffy came to my assistance.

“I think I will have to advise you here Mrs. Human Feline. I am the junior member of the feline family, so the third most comfortable place for sleep is for me. Now you have joined the fold, you will have to make do with the fourth place on the feline sleeping ladder.”

“Which means?”

“You see that pile of earth over there in the corner?”

“You mean the one next to the plant where you mark your territory?”

“Exactly”

“No way”

“Mrs. Feline” spoke Nera the feline in charge “you have no choice. Either you sleep where we tell you to or….”

“Or what?”

“You feel the shapness of my claws and I give you a nice loud hiss so that you can breathe in my sweet breath when I do it.”

I curled up, closed my eyes and tried to ignore the smell of the marks from my felines as I slept on the pile of earth next to the marked territory. I realised you do not argue with a chief feline, or her pack.

And so the day continued. By evening I was allowed to eat a portion of vitamin pellets, when the other felines were finished of course. At night I was taken on a tour of the territory and when morning arrived I was even qualified to fight over the remainders of the mouse we caught. Nera told me it was an old mouse anyway and she let me have it as a compensation for my first day as a feline. Tabby told me Nera only likes tender mouse flesh and could no longer get her teeth into the older mice.

So that was my first day as a feline and I am glad to say my last, up to now, although you never know what goes on between that Bast guy and my felines. I noticed that when Nera gives a long look at the tuna fish can, it means an extra portion otherwise a feline voice in my human brain asks me how I would like to spend another day as a feline, but this time with a feline fight for territorial rights included with Rusty, the ginger tom that lives next door. It seems he is the King Feline that claws a notch in his feline entrance every time he wins and believe me he has a lot of notches on his cat flap.

The Claw

Fluffy Claw

The three cats are having a serious discussion.

“What do you think Nera? Do you have a plan?”

“Of course I do. Fluffy bring me your claw.”

“Which one Nera, I have four on each leg. Oh, I forgot, except for one front leg, there I now only have three. I knocked one out yesterday when I fell off a chair.”

“Fluffy, be careful with your claws. When they are gone, they are gone.”

“Oh yes Nera, you should know, I think you lost a paw full a couple of years ago when you fell off the cat tree and broke your foot.”

“I did not fall off the cat tree Fluffy, I was distracted by Tabby who was fooling around.”

“Nera if I remember rightly, you were enjoying every moment of that game we were playing” answered Tabby.

“Ok, Ok, forget it. This time we will do it right.” Nera always seemed to know the answer.

“Fluffy you have lost a claw, and now we will tell Mrs. Human about the Claw Monster.

“Err Nera, who is the Claw Monster?” Tabby had doubt in her eyes. “I have never heard of the Claw Monster.”

“If you lose a claw then we felines must turn it to our advantage. If a human kitten loses a tooth, what do they do?”

“We havn’t a clue Nera, but I am sure in your wisdom you know the answer” said Fluffy and Tabby in unison.

“Of course; a human kitten is told by its human to put it under the pillow when it goes to bed and the next morning the tooth fairy has replaced the tooth with money.”

“Big deal Nera” said Tabby. “We are talking about a claw and not a tooth and what do we felines need money for. That is a human thing, when they buy our tins of tuna fish.”

“Exactly Tabby, now you are arriving at the solution. Fluffy show Mrs. Human your broken damaged claw and tell her the sad story of how you lost it in a fight with Rosti, the ginger tom from next door.”

“But Nera, that is not true. I fell off a chair and it broke” said Fluffy.

“Fluffy since when do we felines tell the truth, if we can avoid it? First of all you have to gain sympathy from Mrs. Human. You know how she cares for us when we have a fight over territorial rights and she will be so proud of you losing a claw defending our lives. She dislikes the ginger tom next door.” Nera was so pleased with herself.

“But Nera, what is the point in telling Mrs. Human a story about losing my claw?”

“You tell her about the Claw Monster that collects broken claws and brings them to Bast, our leader in the corn chambers of Egypt, who replaces each broken claw with a tin of tuna fish, to be given to the feline that has lost the claw and his fellow felines living in the same commune. You tell Mrs. Human that if you put it under your sleeping cushion tonight Bast will reward you with a tin of tuna fish to be shared to all felines living here. If it is not shared, then it will not work.”

“Nera” said Tabby “are you sure she will believe us. A tooth fairy is a little bit different to a Claw Monster. A fairy is something friendly and endearing, but a Claw Monster sounds like a threat from the feline underworld.

“Of course” answered Nera “we have to integrate respect into the whole situation, that Mrs. Human believes she is doing something good. You know how these humans go all soft when they see that we felines are suffering.”

“But Nera” said Fluffy “I am not suffering. I just gave my paw a lick and everything is OK. Aw, that hurt Nera, you did not have to give me a swipe with your paw.”

“Yes, Fluffy, but now you are suffering with a tear in your eye. So go to Mrs. Human and tell her all about it.”

After five minutes Fluffy returned to Nera and Tabby.

“So what did she say Fluffy?” asked Nera.

“She said that tomorrow is Wednesday and we always have our tuna fish ration on Wednesday. She found it was a sweet story, she wiped the tear from my eye and said I should put the claw under my cushion and tomorrow there will be tuna fish for all of us because we always have it on Wednesday. She also found that a Claw Monster sounds frightening, more a threat than a benevolent feline and the next time Nera wants to invent a story, she should choose another name. A Claw Collector would sound better. And she also said to give her best wishes to Bast the next time you see her.”

Nera has to go to the vets

Nera's injured paw - two toes broken

This is a Nera paw. I am not sure if this is THE paw I am talking about, but this morning after her early walk in her territory, she returned with a definite limp in her link front leg. She was holding her paw in the air and limping along using the three legs that were still working.

I was in the middle of cleaning, but dropped everything ready to call the vet. She had not had a fight with the ginger tom next door. I suspected a wasp sting, but Mr. Swiss said it is too early in the morning for wasps. Slowly her limp was accompanied by a whining meow, so things were becoming urgent. The next stage is hiding, but as we left her in peace, she did not hide and eventually fell asleep on her nice red wool cover on the leather settee. She prefers luxury, is not a nomal alley cat, although her origins are doubtful.

We decided to wait until she was awake and rejudge the situation. She was still limping so I phoned the vet. The vet said bring her along in the afternoon. Mr. Swiss took her to the vet and returned without Nera. I was already imaging a broken leg, she has already been there and done that. No, he said, they need time for a proper examination. Nera was throwing her usual diva fits at the vet, so it was decided the examination would take place under anaesthetic. Mr. Swiss was told to fetch her an hour later.

When he returned with Nera she was still sleeping off the effects of the examination. She was in a feline Nirvana condition, so we left her to sleep out the effects. The result of the examination was two ingrown claws. They had grown so long that the were growing into he paw. Poor Nera, but she survived. She is still sleeping off the effects. Now and again she takes a few steps, sits, collapses where she is, and again falls asleep. At least we will have a quiet evening this evening.