T: Did you hear a meow just then?
Me: Yeah. Was it downstairs?
T: Yeah. I think it was Steve.
T: Yeah, it’s Steve.
Me: Was that Indi?
Me: At Steve?
T: Yep. He was meowing because we moved her food.
Steve has been breaking into our house on a regular basis to steal our cat’s food. Well, actually, it’s more Gary who does the stealing. Up until we moved the food, Steve was way more subtle about his cat-food-thievery.
You need to know about the cats in our neighbourhood. Specifically, on our side of the street. This’ll be a little bit like a Shakespeare dramatis personae, if all the personae were actually cats. Think of them as dramatis felisae (I’ve forgotten my Latin. Which declension is ‘felis’? Is it third?)
There’s our cat, of course. She’s called Indi after Indiana Jones, obviously. She’s very small and very pretty and very violent to other bigger cats she doesn’t like. Steve is her boyfriend. He lives down the street and is a gentleman charmer cat. He tours the houses around every day being charming and purring and probably stealing food.
He’s been using his relationship with Indi to get her food. Until we moved the food, which led to today’s crisis in their relationship.
Gary is the cat who lives next door to us. He’s an Old Angry Bastard Cat. He dribbles and starts fights, especially with our neighbour friend’s cat, Panther, the only cat on the street who has a cat name rather than a human one. Panther is large and black (as you’d expect) and looks like he goes golfing on the weekend. He’s a former stray and was probably once high up in the cat mafia. He sits outside his house and yells at his human to open the door because the cat flap isn’t good enough for him.
Walter is a tabby who also kept breaking into our house until Indi attacked him one lunch time. Both Walter and Gary have tried to steal Indi’s food, but they fail. Indi knows when they’re even near the house and goes out to attack them. Indi hates all cats except Steve.
Up until this week, we kept her food in the kitchen. We know Steve steals her food, but because she sits and just watches while he takes it, it’s been difficult to get him to stop. We don’t have a cat flap for complicated reasons to do with glass doors and people who fit cat flaps in glass doors being rarer than gold dust. Indi pushes the door open, and Steve gets in, and she watches him eat the food. Then she complains to us that she has no food.
T was torn between moving the food upstairs and giving Steve’s humans a bill. But we get on too well with Steve’s humans now, so that felt rude. Putting the food upstairs meant contending with the way Indi eats her food, which means painting the floor and walls with food flakes which are impossible to clean.
Nevertheless, since we still can’t find a Cat Flap Person, we’ve moved the food.
When Steve realised that, instead of a couple of plates* of choice cat food, there is a laundry basket, he bawled.
The house erupted. We all went downstairs.
T shouted. I shouted. Indi shouted.
Steve departed, ginger backside bobbling along behind him.
This is not the last we shall see of Steve, no doubt. But at least for now Indi’s food is safe.
*Indi has biscuits and wet food. You wouldn’t believe she was such a svelte cat given that it looks like a Toby carvery on her dinner mat.