There is a scene in some god awful teen horror film where in one instant a girl is waving goodbye cheerfully to her friends, and in the next blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment has been flattened by a speeding bus. My life is currently a repeat play of that scene, following the addition to the Amnesiac household of el wagh el gedid, new cat el Safeer.
El Safeer is so named because:
1. I found him in front of an embassy (lucky I didn’t find him in front of a brothel, eh? El Me3arrass doesn’t have the same ring to it.)
2. It gives me secret pleasure when people inquire after the health of el Safeer, and I inform them that he is A OK, but that I noticed slight diarrhoea in his litter tray this morning.
Needless to say the name has not met with the approval of the family. Downstairs Auntie has approximately ten cats (not including the vagrant cats which she feeds in the soup kitchen which is our building’s stairwell). Like high profile belly dancers and Yugoslavian dictators, all are named on variations of a two monosyllables sound combination (Meshmesh, Loza, Coco etc), which of course cannot accommodate a Monika incorporating the definite article. My mother has also rejected the name, presumably for the same reason, given that her cat is named Kanga. She also only likes pedigree cats with 100% pure bloodlines, and one can only hope that she does not harbour the same attitude towards her own offspring.
El Safeer is roughly the size of a grapefruit, and when I found him was virtually comatose. I knew that he possessed a fighting spirit however when the first thing he did after I brought him to my flat was do a poo on the floor - I always employ the same policy when visiting a friend’s home for the first time. In hindsight his offering also made me want to exclaim "Ambassador! With these Ferraro Rocher you are really spoiling us!"* but unfortunately I hadn't named him at that point.
El Safeer then remained immobile and silent for twelve hours apart from when he would startle everyone with a fit. It transpired that these fits were caused by general malnutrition and particularly a lack of calcium, and they ended after wonderful vet Dr Amir (discounts for vagrant cats!)
Once el Safeer was mobile I discovered that he seemed to enjoy walking into walls and falling off beds. When I call him he comes sprinting towards me before passing me by entirely, and stopping suddenly two yards beyond me looking confused - which is a reaction I generally only inspire in humans. My extraordinary powers of deduction informed me that he is probably partially blind, particularly given that there is a definite Stevie Wonderness about his head movements. This suspicion was confirmed by his complete inability to anticipate and thus avoid Lupin’s attacks. Lupin is mildly psychopathic, and generally attacks anything smaller than him which moves. This natural instinct is only intensified by the fact that el Safeer’s eyes are permanently open at full stretch, as if his bottom has just been pinched in a lift full of strangers. I am given to understand that cats interpret staring as hostility, and if this is so, el Safeer must constantly look as if he is declaring war given that he resembles this:
Lupin’s boisterous excesses have thus found the perfect receptacle in the form of el Safeer, who at least 397 times a day finds himself suddenly sat on, knocked over in the style of the horror movie alluded to above, or in a headlock. Lupin means well of course, and I draw the line at him using numchucks. The odd thing is that while el Safeer is briefly stunned by his sudden and involuntarily participation in a WWF contest, he seems unfazed by it, and goes about his business unconcerned. It is exhausting however to have to constantly separate them, particularly at 6 a.m. in the morning, and I am considering sending Lupin to a borstal.
One unasked for addition to my general knowledge gained through cat ownership is the discovery that the perfume used in a certain type of cat litter is identical to that used in ladies' fragranced panty liners, which quite frankly I find troubling.
* Was this advert only aired in the UK?