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Treacle's diary. Extracts from the blog of a feline secret agent.

Monday October 17 18-18.30 hours
Fast track
Female staff is in a panic. It happened when she turned on this new machine that was installed yesterday in the basement. Something about the sound it makes set her fleeing for her life. What the silly woman has not noticed is that she has been running on the same strip of rubber for the last few minutes. As fast as she runs forward it carries her back.

Come on, have you not noticed that I am sitting right here watching, when by now I should be a tiny speck in the distance behind you? But it's no good, you can see that pure terror has set in and she is oblivious to reason. Her face is scarlet, she is breathing in great gasps and there is a vein throbbing in her forehead that looks set to blow. As for the perspiration, eeeeew, let's not mention the perspiration.

In fact I'm getting out of here for less malodorous climes. I remember once seeing a hamster sending a wheel going round and round in a very similar fashion. Female staff will be all right. The hamster figured things out eventually, and so will she.
Sunday September 11. 11-11.15 hours
Lean times
Look, forget breakfast. Breakfast was hours ago. At least two. It's ancient history. I forbid mention of breakfast in the current conversation. Yes, tea-time was more recent, and very good it was too. But we all know that morning tea is a kind of culinary placeholder between breakfast and elevenses, and elevenses is what I now need to be getting through until lunch.

E-leven- ses. It does not have to be much. A half sachet of cat-food, maybe supplemented with some tuna, or a bit of minced lamb, or maybe both. Come on, hand it over. Noooow. I was in the garden you know, catching a bird. Well not exactly catching it, but I lay on the mat and very clearly visualized doing it, so now I'm physically and mentally exhausted. My reserves need topping up. It's practically a medical emergency. I won't survive until lunch.

Well! I've just been to check my bowl just in case you managed to slip the food into it while my back was turned. It's empty. Empty. Really, the service here makes one despair. I'd complain to the management, except I am the management and cursed with the most obtuse, boneheaded staff that ever failed to grasp the concepts of basic nutrition.

Humans. They have just one job, and they can't even get that right.
Monday August 11. 17.00 -19.00 hours
The cat who is only a shadow ..
The thing about being black is that shadows are too, though shadows don't carry off blackness with the same flair as I do. So, like any good agent, I hide in the shadows, and I hide in plain sight. Female junior staff has been out in the garden looking for me several times in the past hour. Every time, she looks behind the lilacs, and never once thinks of looking at the deep shadow in front. Once I had to move gently out of the way or she would have trodden on me.

The game is evading surveillance, and I win every time. This time it's the male staff, so after he's checked behind the shed I silently flow from the shadows and park myself between the two flower pots he's just looked behind. Thereafter I watch his methodical and fruitless search of the garden with interest, noting the places he's missed as future potential hideouts.

Now it's time for the coup de grace - the demoralizing master-stroke that teaches these amateurs not to play in the same league as the meister cat. It's female staff again. So as she checks the garden I remain carefully under cover. ...and now! While goes up on tip-toe to peer over the back fence and look up and down the alley, I sprint and plonk myself behind the petunias by the back door. This is the bit that takes careful timing. I watch carefully as female staff walks back down the path. As she reaches the door and turns to study the garden one last time, I slip in between her leg and the door-frame.

Female staff abandons her search in despair, then turns to see me sitting on the rug behind her as though I was there all the time. 'You were looking for me? For ze Phantome? Quelle naivete!'
Friday, July 31. 15.00 - 17.00 hours
Let's face it. Humans are rotten hunters. Have you seen female junior staff trying to catch a mouse? My point exactly. Yet give them credit, they are persistent. Male junior staff sets out from the house every morning, and almost invariably comes back empty-handed. Even I, who leave hunting to those who have to do it, bring back a bird or disembowelled rodent more frequently. Female junior staff is more succesful on average, but then, how much skill does it take to track down and capture a white plastic bag?

Sometimes when female staff goes out hunting she comes back with something practical in the bag, like ham, or cream (mmmm...). Sometimes she is selfish and only gets muck that humans eat, such as bread or lettuce. On occasion she triumphantly returns with something absolutely pointless such as a block of paper with printing on it. This makes a kitty litter of last resort, but its hardly worth a hunting trip for. It's all pretty pathetic, to be honest.

But, once a week on average, they hit the jackpot. They return laden with plastic bags and scurry proudly about the kitchen putting things in the fridge and cupboards. I always check to make sure they have found a few pouches of my favourite food and a treat or two, and I've got to say,they manage this with reassuring regularity.

It does not seem to have dawned on them that Friday evenings are almost the only time they score a major kill in the white plastic bag department. The rest of the week they might as well stay at home. The late-night expeditions they groom so for so carefully yeild almost nothing. And they generally return in such a tired and emotional state afterwards.
Wendesday, July 15. 7.00 - 23.00 hours
Extreme sanction
Yes, it's difficult, but in the course of time I've managed to get some basic instructions drilled into the junior staff. Yes, they squawk and protest, but deep down they know its for their own good. I hate to get nasty with such well-meaning but clumsy and frankly dim-witted individuals, but tough love is still love, and sometimes you have to show the iron fist in the velvet paw.

For example:

This is my house. You may have guests, on sufferance, occasionally. I have my ways of letting you know if I don't like them. Let them consider a pee-soaked pillow as a hint.

If I walk determinedly towards a door, try to get that door open by the time I get there. You know I'll eventually shred my way through the wood otherwise.

If the padding has been chewed out of an underwired bra, its time to increase the frequency of mealtimes. More roughage is also advisable.

Feel free to disturb me when I'm sleeping in the sun on my favourite chair. Your wounds will heal eventually.

It's time to ignore the TV and pay attention to me. Especially when I pad through the china figurines on the mantlepiece.

Climbing the curtains is my way of signalling I wish to be taken outside.

You take me to the vet, I crap in your shoes. What's hard to understand?

Remember, humans have simple needs. They need to be told when to feed you, when to open doors and when to keep out of your way. Apart from that, they practically run themselves. With a bit of patience and firmness you can have your household running perfectly smoothly in a matter of months. Never let anyone tell you that humans are impossible to train.

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