I’ve just had a moment of déjà vu, except that’s not quite the right term. The kitten on my lap yawned happily in my face, and I received a distracting gust of cat breath.
Sharky did that all the time, and I’m not talking about when he was ill. Like other sufferers of failing kidneys, his breath was the dark, foul gape of Cerberus. In previous years, when he was well, he was forever yawning suddenly in my face. Like Delilah this very minute, Sharky would be snoozing quietly on my knee, then lift his face towards mine, stretching out a paw, going “eeeeeuuuuuuurrrrrghhhhhh!”
Both kittens run towards me now – it wasn’t till they starting doing so that I felt we were getting back to a normal life. Well… nearly normal. Did I mention the car keys? And the watch, and Mum’s headphones?
The adorable pair tip up wastepaper baskets and strew the rubbish everywhere, so now all rubbish has to go straight to the main rubbish points – no bunging stuff casually in the nearest bin.
They steal wet washing off the radiators, dragging them around on the carpet.
They leave clear bits of plastic on the top stair, watching interestedly to see if anyone slips.
They collect a heap of treasures in the corner of the landing outside my bedroom door. As well as cat toys, there are discarded shop receipts, toilet rolls, shredded toilet paper, used foil pouches with toothmarks, a bungee jumping kiwi fridge magnet, pens, dead leaves, living leaves from houseplants, paper airplanes, the odd disgruntled teddy bear… even books for when they get bored and there’s nothing else to do.
I had to close my bedroom door to keep the wet washing and the bungee jumping kiwi safe, and the sweet babes sit outside and pull up the carpet so that it will trip me when I come out in the morning.
They stole one of my pop socks… it was already laddered so I let them keep it. When I was going out to walk the dog, I disappeared into my room to find a pair of socks. There was a gentle knock, and a paw pushed my laddered pop sock under the door.
This morning we were playing ping-pong. I dropped something very small beside the door, and a paw snaked under the door and took it away. Then it pushed it back. I flicked it out… and back it came. We could have played that game all day, but we had to go out shopping.
Sometimes both paws wriggle under the door together, straining forward up to the shoulder as though the kitten is trying to squeeze his whole body into the room. It wouldn’t surprise me if he succeeded.
When I was walking down the stairs in bare feet, Samson suddenly attacked and left a bleeding scratch on my toe. I knew if I put my socks and shoes on and walked around town without treating it, the scratch would get irritated and sore. I had to put a sticking plaster on. Grumble stared disbelievingly as though to say “you needed a dressing for that??”
An old china table lamp was pushed off a table onto a decorative plant pot below. The lamp survived but the plant pot was chipped in two places (actually the lamp was dropped on it twice before we learned). The old lampshade unstuck itself from its wire frame and became unusable.
Mum rolled her eyes and said “why did we think this was a GOOD idea??”
Today a lady came to the house and paid me for guinea-pig-sitting. I put the money on my desk and carried on typing on the computer. After a little while, there was a rustling, and when I looked round, Delilah was having a good look at the ten pound note. “What’s this? Very interesting. I like the crisp noise it makes.”
I retrieved the tenner hurriedly, then tried to get my pound coin back, but Delilah sat down on it very firmly.
I suppose it teaches us less slovenly habits and not to do daft things like leave the toilet lid up. Samson loves water so much that he gets into the toilet bowl to dabble. It’s not that he’s thirsty – they have a big bowl of fresh water. He just loves the way water looks, sounds and feels. He says it’s utterly magical, and comes thundering into the bathroom to watch the bath water draining away.
Life is not quite back to normal, then… but we’ll get there, one day at a time.