Yesterday Buster died. Asleep in the sunshine, aged and content. Always the spirit that moved ThursdayAgain (hopefully) beyond the mundane his silent voice still shouts from every room and every tree. His loss is beyond tears.
Farewell old friend.
This morning the Rhino House is under attack. What appears to be hundreds of small birds keep lifting off simultaneously from the trees & flying around the house. Nothing too dangerous there it would seem, but the birds in these parts have some strange habits when it comes to life around the Rhino House.
Unusually for this part of the world, the Rhino House has a large numbers of oddly shaped windows, glazed doors & a floor-to-roof glass area that resembles nothing seen before on this planet. For some reason the smaller local birds seem to regard this as a challenge & regularly fling themselves at the glass resulting in either instant death or an extended period of stunned recuperation while struggling to sit upright on the terrace. This latter state would around most local houses, result in a handy supplement to the feline diet; around the Rhino House it merely distresses Buster, who chooses to try & hide until he can work out if the victim is stunned or dead. If the bird is dead he will often play with it for several minutes before forgetting what he is doing, if it is alive he will wait cautiously until it has flown-off.
This morning we had half-a-dozen bird strikes on the windows within an hour & Buster had taken to hiding under my desk, where he was trying to look unconcerned & appeared to be attempting to work out what his tail was for. An unusual but hardly dangerous morning I thought; then disaster struck. As one bird flew in through the front door (which I had opened earlier for Buster when he had forgotten how to step through the (open) cat flap) another came through the study window. Fortunately I was in the kitchen pouring tea (for myself, not for Buster) & so I was spared the immediate chaos of 2 possibly related birds meeting in the doorway to my study as Buster attempted to leave it via the open window.
Now Buster, you may recall if you have read “Adventures with wildlife” before, is not an agile cat & what he lacks in poise, balance & athleticism, is balanced by his unerring ability to miss anything he leaps at, onto or over. In this case the window was never going to be even a slight possibility, but he did manage to hit the shelves on a completely different wall, removing most of their contents to the floor & the birds into the kitchen – thus helping me to redecorate by throwing tea everywhere.
The birds are now sitting on the wall cupboard & the extraction hood in the kitchen & Buster is now settling down to sleep in the fridge (which I had opened before dropping the tea).
It’s going to be a long, long day.
Today the wind has blown & the blue morning skies have been replaced by grey autumnal evening gloom. Flurries of wind carry collections of orange-coloured leaves around the Rhino House – where they mainly seem to settle on Buster, our greyest & most intellectually challenged resident. In fairness, apart from being our dumbest resident, he also does the best sleeping cat imitation around these parts. It is only when he moves that you realise it must be an act because cats posses a feline grace & certainty of movement that is unmistakable, what Buster possesses, in large quantities, is an ability not so much to always land on his feet, as to occasionally miss the ground altogether.
The combination of intellectual weakness & physical incompetence (possibly enhanced by a memory of almost goldfish capacity) means that Buster is forever surprised, usually confused, & often dangerous to himself & anything close by. These remarkably un-catlike attributes have surfaced this evening with a vengeance as he has woken suddenly & leapt from the pile of leaves, yelling in terror. In doing so he had forgotten that he was sleeping on a tile-topped table on the terrace, & his leap for safety from the ravening leaves have taken him just beyond the edge of the table; the good news is that he has found the ground, the bad news is he landed with all 4 paws in the air.
At moments like this Buster adopts a slightly resigned attitude that seems to imply that all his actions were carefully planned & he has shaken his head & begun to clean one of the “ungrounded” paws while looking unconcerned at his unceremonious arrival on the terrace floor. What he has not noticed, only having sat in the same spot for 8 years, is that he is on the edge of the steps which lead down to the drive.
As certain as night follows day Buster has now discovered the steps down to the drive through his usual forensic technique; he leaned backwards & is now on the drive below the terrace – again with all 4 paws safely in the air.
I have opened the door as Buster has wearily climbed back up the steps on to the terrace (because I am certain he will not remember where the other door with the open cat flap is) & he has limped to the door & sat on my feet – in the middle of the open doorway, of course. I try to say something encouraging, or at least kind & express, through my tone of voice, sympathy with his unfortunate experience. He looks up at me with a certain degree of sympathy for what he perceives to be my problems, walks into the house, & falls over the cat toy he has been ignoring for a couple of weeks since we bought for him to encourage his co-ordination skills.
I have closed the door & Buster gives every impression of preparing for an evening napping on a cushion, & appears to have completely forgotten everything that has happened to him in the last half hour.
It could be a long evening if he wakes up.