More news in the regular soap opera that is my family of cats. Regular readers will remember I adopted a gangsta' cat who had been shot in the mean streets of the Cheltenham hood. We named him Captain Kangaroo and despite him showing gang boss-like tendencies towards our other animals we presumed he'd eventually settle down. But then, two months ago, our other two cats disappeared and having searched high and low we presumed that they had been the victims of a gangland "hit" and were sadly never going to be seen again. Captain Kangaroo was now the undisputed "Cato di tutti Cati" – there was very little we could do but accept the situation.
Two nights ago however, a black ghost appeared at the window of the kitchen. It was Dr Pepper, one of the disappeared and he appeared to have returned from the dead. Apart from being remarkably hungry he seemed fairly healthy and the family were all delighted to see him back…well, nearly all. About half an hour after Dr Pepper's return, just as he was finishing a third bowl of milk and appeared to be on the verge of telling us where he had been, Captain Kangaroo appeared in the kitchen and went mental. He spotted Dr Pepper and emitted a chilling low growl that I interpreted as "How the fuck did you get out of that well?" Dr Pepper froze as he spotted his nemesis. Then it all kicked off.
Using instincts honed in the killing fields of Cheltenham Town, Captain Kangaroo launched himself at Dr Pepper. There ensued an almighty catfight that only ended when I unwisely shoved my hand into the melee. I got bitten quite incredibly hard on my hand by the gangsta' as Dr Pepper took the opportunity to bolt. I was left with Captain Kangaroo hanging off my hand, the kids screaming and blood starting to spurt as I began to redecorate the kitchen in the style of Jackson Pollock. You just don't get this hassle with Labradors.
Within three hours my hand had swollen up to twice its normal size and I was in considerable pain. Using my uninjured right hand I gingerly typed in "cat bites" online and opened up a whole new world of panic. It turns out that 50 per cent of cat bites get infected due to the extreme dirtiness of the average cat's mouth. There were stories of people dying, blood poisoning and a rather wonderful newspaper article about a cat that was rampaging around some village in Cornwall attacking anyone who ventured outside. The villagers lived in fear of this killer cat and were demanding action.
Being something of a hypochondriac I headed for the doctor to be prescribed some quite serious antibiotics. He turned out to be not quite as worried as I was. I suppose he had the benefit of perspective – one of his sons lost a leg in Afghanistan and is currently walking to the North Pole with Prince Harry. I am now looking into the feasibility of donating Captain Asshole (as he is now known) to the expedition as some form of mascot. God help any polar bears that might be tempted to approach them. They wouldn't stand a chance.