Pet hate: Wilbur gets the rough edge of Roo's tongue

Blue is a Persian, but this doesn’t mean he is a supporter of the Iranian revolution
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The Independent Online

Roo was having a huge hissy fit about Winston Churchill. I couldn't work out why. When he calmed down and I managed to get some sense out of him he kept hissing this quote: "I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."

Roo was incandescent. "Pigs are … pigs … and that is all they are. How can Winston, of all people, think this swine can wander into our life and talk about equals and becoming top dog?"

Huxley, the wisest of my hounds piped up: "To be fair Roo, I think you might rephrase that. He's not exactly top dog … I think you'll find I'm …"

Huxley got no further as Roo disintegrated into a feline Tourette's bomb. Roo, an aggressive cat at the best of times, was not in the mood to be challenged by a handsome Labrador.

"Oh shut up Huxley – you loaf around, sucking up to the humans with your puppy-dog eyes … you are a failure … your entire breed was created for you to find and fetch dead birds … oh what a tough career choice … and then you end up with a couple of townies who feel sorry for a stick if you maltreat it … what did you do in a past life to end up so emasculated?"

Huxley retreated to a quieter part of the house as Judge Judy was about to come on, and no truculent cat was going to come between Huxley and the Judge.

This left me to face Roo's wrath. "You've got three dogs, a rabbit, two chickens, a playboy wannabe cockerel and now you need to bring a bloody dwarf pig into the mix because, what? Because we're not good enough?" Roo was positively bristling with rage.

I tried to explain to Roo that Wilbur, like himself, had been rescued from the urban chaos that was Cheltenham. Roo was having none of it. "When I was in da' hood we had no time for pigs and I feel the same way now … look at him – coming in here, taking all the food, making his stupid grunting noises, everyone thinking he's really cute … makes me sick … I need a strong owner … someone who'll stick up for cats and not go all gooey the moment he spots a pig wagging his non-curly tail …." (expletives deleted).

I'd never seen Roo so angry; not even when I suggested he might want to meet next door's cat, Blue, a Persian who was having difficulty making friends. "Oh great, what are we going to do, hang outside the pub throwing stuff at people coming out?" I had explained that, although Blue was a Persian, this didn't mean he was an avid supporter of the Iranian revolution and wanted a return to the Caliphate in the village.

Roo stormed off to kill some mice. This is how he relaxes, so I let him go. Wilbur and I were left alone in the kitchen. There was an awkward silence."I don't think the cat likes me …" grunted Wilbur.

"Don't worry," I said. "I'm not sure he's overly fond of me either." We sat in silence for a while, lost in thought. It's not easy this farm lark.