Hello again every one. In case you've forgotten my name is Amy and I'm leader of the Rat Pack. After having been a little unhappy over the name the humans refer to groups of my kind, I've decided that Rat Pack sounds quite cool and compared to some sounds quite reasonable. After all I wouldn't want to be part of a 'Murder of Crows'( and believe me that's quite fair because their sound can be murder on the ears). A 'Dissimulation of Birds' doesn't sound all there does it? How about a 'Chatter of Budgerigars' that one's true enough, a 'Clowder of Cats' that one means nothing unless Clowder means nasty, a 'School of Dolphins' makes them sound intelligent, a 'Skulk of Foxes' Hmmm, reasonable that one, a 'Mischief of Mice' and sometimes people refer to us that way as well. But in the end I think Rat Pack will suit me very well thank you.
Sometimes settling into a new home is difficult but there have been no major problems here after teaching the humans ( a Pack?) that my teeth are quite sharp if they try to handle me and sometimes just when they stick their fingers through the bars. After all, if you stick fingers in to offer treats we have to bite, you mustn't be surprised to be bitten if you stick them in treatless and expect us to notice.
Anyway, I want to introduce the family. Obviously there's me and like most of my kind I'm very intelligent and very underestimated. But there are exceptions to every rule I suppose so here's Penny. She's my sister and I love her dearly but she's not the brightest jewel in the box. Fortunately she's playful and very affectionate so the humans don't notice.
Next we have Bernadettte, or Bernie who is a lot younger than Penny and I but who is a quick learner and copies Penny's every move. She makes me laugh when the humans get her out as she pees on them a lot and hasn't quite learned to keep her soiling to one particular area yet. They have a lot of cleaning up to do once she's been out to play. Finally we have Priya, the youngest and smallest of our pack. She's most like our original ancestor Rattus Rattus except it looks like she wears white socks.She's starting to get used to the humans but hasn't properly learned about getting treats yet.
As I say the humans aren't too bad here and they're learning quite well. But for some strange reason they also have a cat. Hmm, just one of a Clowder but that's enough. It's taken a little longer to train him since all he seemed interested in was catching us before. Penny taught him a bit of a lesson by climbing up his back leg when he happened to be on the seat when she and I had been got out to entertain the humans. He was so surprised he ran away. Though he's ventured close a few times he keeps a wary eye out.
It was funny a few days ago when I managed to reach the floor and ran towards an open door. As I reached it he was on the other side. We both saw each other at the same time and were startled. I was surprised long enough to be caught and my escape foiled, he was just stunned into inaction though he claimed afterwards to have helped catch me and basked in the credit even though he'd done nothing. He's a sly one and bears watching. Don't get the wrong idea about the escape either. It's not that I don't like the humans or the house they've given us but I like the idea of the open spaces outside. So, you may just hear of more attempts. If I ever make it of course you won't hear anything except from the cat who is the only other one who can use the computer which I've 'borrowed' while he's asleep.
So there we are. You've met me and my family now. Oscar the cat claims to be a Superior but I think you can work out for yourselves whoever you are that he's fooling himself and that we by dint of our brains ( well maybe not Penny) are the superiors round here. We just don't need to brag about it. I hope you get to enjoy more of our activities and adventures when we venture forth from our house within a house. As for me, I'm delighted to meet you.
The heat from above has been shining down for a few days. It's actually made me quite sleepy. ( I refuse to say a little dozy since I know the Longlegs sense of sarcasm works well on remarks like this). It was my feeling a little sleepy that got me into a mess, well that and the terrible mistake My 'The Him' made for which judgement will be rendered.
So, the heat made me sleepy and I curled up inside a flower bed to relax. Before My 'The Him' went to his sleeping place he closed and locked the clearway. He had not noticed me ( or so he said), had not called me ( as he thought I was in) and didn't bother to check. You can understand my decision to play Solomon here can't you.
It started to get darker and cooler causing me to think I should go back inside and settle down on My 'The Hers' sleeping place and spend the dark time guarding her as I usually did. But on rousing myself and moving over to the clearway I found it closed. I called out but to no avail. I walked round the building to see if a small clearway was open but I found none. There was light from My 'The Hers' room but it seems she could not hear me sing either. I'm reluctant to try at His clearway since he throws things at the slightest sound. You really wouldn't believe he doesn't recognise my voice after all these years.
The woods lie very close to home and some very inviting rustling sounds stirred memories of my great hunting days when I was wont to leave my Longlegs superb gifts every day. Surely I had lost none of my skills and I needed to occupy my time before returning home to find the clearway open again.
I stepped into the woods and the dark became more absolute as the night light could not break through the branches of the trees. There was a sound to my left and in one lithe move I turned and pounced. Ugh, it was one of those long things with hundreds of legs where not one of them tastes like chicken. I let it go and moved further into the trees. Another noise, another pounce and under my paw was a mouse. I was tempted to eat some and take the rest back to the Longlegs until I remembered they seem to like live things like that to play with and might not appreciate such a gift. I let it go also and moved further into the trees. Then there was a rustle and as I pounced I was met with a fox pouncing in my direction and how he smelled ( yes I know, with his nose)phew ! It was a shock to both of us but foxes don't tend to hang around us Superiors for long so he turned tail and walked away. I suspect I should have been insulted that he didn't run but perhaps he perceived I was not looking for a fight.
I was turning round to retrace my steps out of the woods since the time was passing and I'd proved I can still hunt when there was a loud scream and a whooshing sound. My automatic response was to duck ( not fear you understand, just the opportunity to assess the situation) which I did and as I did I felt something touch my back. A screech of disappointment followed and as I looked up I saw a pair of claws rising above me attached to a great bird who'd been hunting me as I hunted. My departure from the woods speeded up at that point and the morning light was just coming through as I reached safety, erm I mean reached home. I strolled across the lawns towards the clearway and saw My 'The Him' just open it. I picked up speed and made it before it was closed again.
"Why Oscar. where have you been? Don't tell me you've been out all night" said My 'The Him' never the brightest bulb in the box.
"You must be hungry old boy. Let's get something for you." But he's not too bad though sometimes. Maybe I'll forgive him this time.
I ate and went through to where My 'The Her' was sleeping. I jumped up and curled up beside her tummy and fell asleep.
We all know the house is not really my sanctum any more. For some perverse reason the Longlegs ( I hesitate to call them mine now) seem to have formed a bond with the ever increasing pack of rodents, and that's despite one of them chewing a hole in the fur The Her wears when she gets up from her sleeping place. How well I remember the roar of disapproval from 'The Him' ( I trust the lack of the word MY here hurts and chastens them) when I 'accidentally' unravelled part of the sleeve from his fur.
There is also the problem at the moment of having fallen backwards off the seat when one of the rodents surprised me and tried to run between my legs. When I enter that room now there is an outbreak of laughter from the four who seem to think I might have run away rather than just fallen a great distance.
So, today here I am outside the clearway lying in the warm light from above and enjoying the odd snooze. I mean, we all have skills and this is one of my better ones.
I woke up long enough to greet the Longlegs who brings things to put through the door that makes My 'The Him' ( yes, I know I'm far too forgiving but one has to treat ones pets well) shout loudly at My ''The Her' " What on earth have you bought this time. Timeshares on the Moon"? The Postie as they call her seemed to recoil on spotting me. I know our previous encounter was unfortunate but be fair it was hardly my fault was it. I was being summarily ejected at the time and gripping her leg was an automatic reaction. She'd have been fine if her leg furs had been longer.
Anyway, I spent a lot of time dozing in the warmth till Ginger came round a suggested a walk through the village. This can often be a rewarding adventure given that some Longlegs leave their clearways open which must be an invitation mustn't it? And not being rude, it would be a shame not to take advantage of their generosity. After all, some of them don't have Superiors of their own to spoil. A nice roast chicken was our reward for a visit today which we ate in the shelter of the woods. Purely to shelter from the sun you understand. After which I decided to return home while Ginger decided to carry on exploring by which I expect he meant find some milk that hadn't been taken in yet.
I had just reached home and started to lay down when I heard a scream." Look out David, she's making a break for the door." I was startled by the noise and jumped in the air, just at the moment when the rodent called Penny appeared in the open clearway.
As I was already in 'alert' mode I couldn't jump any higher but surprisingly the rodent did. Seeing me and watching me jump she turned tail and retreated back into the house where she was scooped up by My 'The Her' and placed back into her cage.
"Oh Oscar, you brave cat, what a good boy you are. David, put Oscar some chicken out."
said My 'The Her' and despite no wanting more chicken some was placed out for me. My 'The Her' patted the seat beside her as an invitation to jump up, something that's been sadly lacking recently. But as I've pointed out I'm a forgiving owner so up I jumped to enjoy a period of stroking and praises about my bravery in saving the day. So I'm a hero again which is as it should be and all of a sudden there's no sniggering from the rodents who know I faced one of their own down and won.
The Longlegs had gone out and the smell was tormenting me. A lovely rich heady smell that tickles the nostrils and makes you want to eat it and here I was stuck inside with no clearways open and unable to get at it. I know I've smelt it before but I can't remember where. I suppose I shall have to be patient.
That's long enough. My patience has worn thin. I went to look through one of the clearways to see if I could see where the smell was coming from but I got a little tangled in the clearway covering. Trying to wrest myself from the grip of the covering I perhaps pulled a little hard because they came down with a snap and covered me even more. As they fell, unfortunately they brought down one of those tall things my 'The Her' puts her flowers in. I hope they're good with puzzles.
At last a key in the lock. I shot across the room and reached the clearway just as it opened. I shot out. "Oscar" they shouted in unison and my 'The Him' tried to grab me as I went past. Last I saw of him he was on my level struggling to get up. I admit I shouldn't have sniggered as I looked at him because before I knew it my feet were feeling warm and the smell was very close indeed. I finally looked down. My feet were black.
The smell was coming from the surface of the road which had been freshly covered in black stuff. I turned and pulled my feet from the road one by one moving back towards the grass of the garden. The heat was leaving my feet but now my pads felt quite hard. They were covered from pads to ankle in black smelly stuff that had been spread across the road. As I got to the grass I lay down and tried to remove the layer of black that had attached itself to me. I went home through the still open clearway and as I hit the wooden floor my pads were tapping as though I wore the Longlegs shoes. It was undignified to have people hear me coming. I went to my 'The Her and expressed my dismay that she would not try to keep me in, and dismay that she did not make more of an effort to keep me in.She as usual feigned indifference to my words as though I do not make myself understood. I'm sure I do.
So, I finish the day sitting by my 'The Her' as she gently tries to soap the black stuff they call tar from my pads with soapy water. This could be a very long job,
I've seen it but I don't believe it. It's uncanny just how silly my Longlegs can be the minute I let them out of my sight.
It was three lights ago when I saw them heading out of the clearway to their chariot. My 'The Her' even shouted goodbye but I was too busy yawning and stretching to respond properly, I did however send a thought in their direction that I required some nice fresh chicken. Sometimes they're quite clever and catch the thought, other times they're just so obtuse it a crime.
I occupied my time properly while they were out with sleeping, stretching and sleeping some more. After all, you must be very careful not to overdo things there days. I was lying on my 'The Hers' sleeping place basking in the warm light that comes through the clearway as I didn't want to go through to where she has those rats of hers. They can be very rude sometimes. Anyway, I have no idea what she sees in them at all and should really be reprimanding her for not being available whenever I want her. Even my 'The Him' seems to have more time than she does. There will have to be a reckoning soon.
Some time passed and the light had moved a bit. I roused myself as there was a need for food. Roast rat on a stick appealed but there was no chance of that. Just then the clearway opened. In came my 'The Him' carrying what looked like a kitten box followed by my 'The Her' saying "Hello my baby, see what Mummy has got, Such a surprise."
"It is a kitten " I thought, " but she'd better be referring to some nice tender chicken or else". She wasn't. Bags of shopping were strewn everywhere in their food room but nothing came out for me. Instead they gathered round the cages in the room of seats and started making the strangest cooing noises. My 'The Him' ran out and came back with a new cage like that of a Chinese bird, sat down, opened the cage door and proceeded to place some pieces of paper and food inside. My 'The Her' opened the kitten box. I was about to tell her no kitten was going in a cage in my home when out of the box she drew 'Another Rat'. Not just any ordinary rat either, it was obviously a kitten and quite small but it's ears, Ohh it's ears, they were big. I'm talking BIG here. They were like conch shells sticking out. Already I'm alternating between boredom and anger. After all, what need have we of another rat? What need have we of ANY rats I ask.
They spent more time putting the creature now called Bernadette in the cage and trying to stroke it before standing the cage on top of the big cage with the Cruella sisters in. I'm half past bored now so I wandered off to the food room. I could smell no chicken for which there bill be payment but I did manage to find a rather nice parcel of ham which tided me over till tea time. I even felt so much better when I heard the squeal later " Julia, that cat, YOUR cat has had my lunch". Soooo satisfying.
Anyway, I've decided not to let them out of my sight for a while. Three rats in the house is three rats too many albeit one is too young to be rude yet. I'm waiting till they realise that it's chicken or nothing next time. And in the meantime I'm going to occupy the knee of one or other of them and get all the attention I can.
It was CATastrophic. There I had been, contented after my sachet of prime beef and ready for sleep. Within minutes I was in a world I couldn't recognise, couldn't understand and didn't like.
I had walked to the village to check on my interests and seen small groups of the local cats and kittens along my way. In the centre by the Fursty Ferret sat Ginger or rather stood like a Longlegs reading from a paper tacked to the wall. "What are we to do Oscar?" he said "we can no longer be friends."
"What rubbish is this Ginger" I asked, " how can we not be friends after having been so for such a time?"
"Ti's no longer to be allowed since this new Cat Council has come into being."
"Cat Council? What are you blathering about Ginger."
"Read it" he said.
By Order of the Cat Council.
Let it be known in the world of Moggies that the Council has in it's wisdom decreed changes that are to be implemented immediately.
No more will there be mixing of breed.
From now on Pure White Persians are the true breed and are selected for rule. Only they shall sit on the Council.
Ginger and marmalade cats are to be the troops under the direction of the Council and who are to enforce the rules.
Black cats are the workers and are to perform all the duties decided for them by the Council and told to them by the troops.
Manx Cats are to be pitied and laughed at.
No groups are to socialise with each other since obviously only Pure White Persians are worth socialising with. We, the Council will decide whether anyone from one group can rise in the ranks to another- simply they can't.
All worship shall be decided by The Council. We shall decide on a deity suitable for each rank. That deity shall be governed by the rules of the Council.
If any kitten should be found playing in a way thought not suitable or playing with a kitten from another group, that kitten can be beaten by the Deity's Pastor of the flock. Especially if they are found to be playing with others of the same sex.
Any older kittens found to be with others of the same sex will be ostracised from all groups and deemed to be unclean.
" But this is patently ridiculous Ginger" I told him." We're far too civilised to live this way. Just ignore it, obviously a big joke."
"But......" he said, and at that moment I woke up. I laughed to myself. How silly, I thought. After all, no-one could live like that could they?