Tigger likes to persuade us that he is still a fearless hunter at the advanced age of 9. OK, so 9 isn’t very old for a cat - barely 45 in human years - but this summer, thank goodness, he seems to be losing the knack of trapping small, live things, and bringing them back to show me. As my longer-term readers may remember, he and I had an intense discussion about the bringing in of livestock after this incident.
In order to maintain his reputation, he has discovered a new source of presents for me. Let me explain: I live in a terrace of bungalows, originally built as a war memorial. The entire block is E-shaped with the central arm of the E being the communal hall and visitors’ car park. I live at one end of the E and Tigger’s hunting grounds extend over the whole site right down to the bottom arm of the E. Because I rarely go out I don’t know many of my neighbours - nor their strange habits, as you will see.
A few weeks ago, Tigger came charging in, making his giveaway preeping noise, with something unusually large in his mouth. I drew in breath to scream at him just as I realised what he had “caught”; it was a piece of ham.
I wrestled it away from him (those extending grabber sticks are really useful) and dumped it in the bin. He promptly went out and brought in a second, larger piece. Just as I was playing tug-o-war with him, my carer arrived. She got the ham off him, and was as bemused as I was about where he could possibly have found it.
The next few days were quite uneventful. Then he barrelled in again with a large, misshapen yellow thing which turned out to be the very tail end of a piece of battered cod. This one had me really baffled; it wasn’t as though he could be mugging people for their sandwiches this time.
Equally unsettling (not to mention smelly) was the following day’s offering: half a kipper. I was really starting to worry now...
The pièce de resistance, and the final explanation, arrived together this week. This time he appeared through the window with the remnants of a rather thick and overdone burger. This time I was sure I had him; he had obviously found somebody having a barbeque and had done his Oscar-winning poor-little-me-nobody-feeds-me-I-am-a-starving-little-kitten routine with the huge eyes of Puss in Boots from Shrek 2.
The truth turned out to be much weirder than a mid-week barbeque in a complex inhabited mainly by tough old ladies who don’t hold with soft, modern ways and wouldn’t go near a barbeque if their lives depended on it. Jacky-the-carer brought the final missing piece of the puzzle.
Apparently we have a new neighbour at the other end of the E. While perfectly pleasant, she is sometimes deserted by her common sense and does things which are rather... bizarre. She really enjoys feeding the birds, but occasionally forgets that all of our visitors are of the breadcrumbs and birdseed persuasion rather than carnivorous varieties which she seems to want to attract with ham, kippers, and burgers.
Although strangely enough, I did see a pair of gulls this week. Perhaps the word is out...
(If you look carefully, you can seem me reflected in his pupil; this is another of Richard's super photographs - please feel free to visit his website, richardwinskill.co.uk, where you can see more photos and even send Tigger an email!)