Remember how I said I was going to Learn to Draw a Cat? I did it! Here he is!
He’s four years old, and massive. Not in a fat way, more in a looks-like-he-could-do-you-some-serious-damage-if-he-wanted-to sort of way.
When he arrived his name was Noel, which didn’t suit him.
He looks extremely important; far more important than anyone called Noel has ever been. The vet said he looks extremely important because he IS extremely important, and she should know, she’s the expert.
We toyed with renaming him ‘No’, so then we could get another cat, call it ‘Yes’, and use them to make decisions. But it could be a while before we’re ready to add to our cat collection, so rather than create an unnecessarily negative domestic environment, we called him Rawdon, after Rawdon Crawley from Vanity Fair.
Before being very impressed at the literary influence in our pet naming, let me assure you that this is because Rawdon Crawley in the BBC adaptation of Vanity Fair is the only man in the middle of the ven diagram representing people that Tegan and I each have crushes on. He is also very big and important-looking.
Rawdon didn’t do much for the first couple of days except wander the house like a large, dignified moustache, sniffing suspiciously at everything. Not knowing much about his temperament, we were very wary of him too.
But it didn’t take long before he revealed himself to be as clingy as a puppy, with the intelligence of a concussed pigeon, and the grace of a drunkenly lobbed potato.
If someone is in the house alone, he will follow them from room to room, tripping them.
Sometimes he will follow us down the street, which can be particularly embarrassing if I am knocking at the door of a nearby house to check whether a parcel has been delivered, and he insists on coming with me, sitting next to me, and then entering the house as soon as the door is opened, leaving me to introduce myself, explain what I’m there for, and apologise for the fact that my cat is casually assessing their kitchen decor.
It can also be quite awkward if he follows Tegan to the takeaway and sits outside, screaming at her through the open door, only stopping when she leaves so he can follow her back to the house, making it obvious that – despite what she might tell everyone in the takeaway – he is definitely with her.
He is the most upside down cat I’ve ever seen, and will always work himself into a position where he can be upside down, even if it looks extremely uncomfortable.
If there is the choice, he will always go and sit on a boy, regardless of who that boy is. He gazes at them adoringly, and puts his head in their crotch if he can.
He does this a lot. Three of us stood in the yard yesterday, fascinated, watching him roll around on the floor from one side to another, meow, then roll back again, for ages, with no obvious outcome. It’s like a compulsion he can’t control, like those goats that faint. He’ll jump onto someone’s lap and then flip over so that the only way he won’t fall off is if they immediately catch him, which I think is why he never learns.
Quite often, his rolling over will result in a tumble, with nobody there to catch him, and I have witnessed him roll over and thus accidentally throw himself off walls, sofas, the washing machine, beds, stairs, etc. Bucking a species-wide trend, he almost always lands on his arse.
He’s never been banned from the furniture, and sits on it sometimes, but more often he’ll sit propped up against the skirting board, just a few centimetres away from something much comfier like the sofa or his bed.
He also likes to splay himself out in the middle of the kitchen floor, and will sit on any slightly raised surface such as pizza boxes, crates and other impractical, uneven and uncomfortable items.
For a cat, that is. Quite apart from his upside downness, he also sleeps on his back (and snores), and enjoys stretching to his full length when least convenient to do so.
His usual sitting position is hanging half off whatever he’s sitting on, as though unaware of his size and thinking he is a tiny kitten. Not being a tiny kitten, this means one of his legs is normally dangling stupidly over the edge of the chair / stool / table / shelf he is sat on. Sometimes he sits on his arse, slumped over, like people.
Although it’s not clear whether this is something he actually enjoys, when he does it, he does it spectacularly. For example, this weekend he managed to eat half of his biscuits and then throw them back up into his bowl perfectly on top of the half that he hadn’t yet eaten.
Recently Tegan got very excited about having bought some Nando’s Hot Sauce, because she really likes Nando’s hot sauce, so it was basically the best day of her life. Rawdon somehow managed to get into the bin and get to the chicken she’d thrown away, which he ate, before trekking all the way up to the top of the house to Tegan’s room, where he threw up chicken and Nando’s hot sauce all over her bed while she was in it. Apparently it really smelled of Nando’s.
Aside from the general gracelessness, a desperation for company at all times, and wanting to go out in thunderstorms, another way Rawdon fails at being a cat is by being shit at hunting.
We thought he’d be great, before we let him out, because of the amount of time he spends chasing his tail (even though he has been known to run headfirst into things trying to get away from it) and laying into the cardboard bit from loo rolls (even though he either doesn’t see, or pretends not to see, spiders).
Nevertheless, we had high hopes when we did let him out to go hunting, and we watched him from a distance as he appeared to be preparing to pounce on something he was watching over this wall:
But he didn’t move for ages. So we went outside to get a closer look:
Yep. He can’t even see over that. He’s just staring into a wall.
The only time he’s ever been known to hiss is the first time a dog came into our house, and he had to clear his throat before he gave it a try, it was a pathetic effort.
I’ll bring a dead mouse back before he does.
It’s not a real meow, it’s more like a constant, high-pitched chirp or wail, completely out of keeping with an animal of his size and apparent manliness.
It’s not always immediately clear what he wants. He was wailing constantly the other day, and I couldn’t understand why, because he had some food left over. After trying everything else, I picked up his food box and poured one biscuit into his food bowl, and he shut up and started eating all the biscuits that were already there.
Sometimes it only stops when he’s picked up, like a small child.
His meow has become the most effective way of letting us know when he wants to come in; he will do it constantly until the door is opened, which is usually quite quickly because we don’t want the neighbours to get annoyed or to mock us. He’s been fed by the neighbours in the past just to make him shut up.
This is why he’s not allowed out after 11, because I don’t want to get up at 4am or have the house egged, so it’s his own fault if he misses all the best parties.
So that’s Rawdon. Say hi.