It’s all terribly catty

IT’S all been a bit catty of late – not least at work, where the flawed equation of an increasing workload and a decreasing workforce leaves tempers frayed. It’s a bit like Lord of the Flies, sometimes. Or is it The Lord of the Rings? I can never remember. (Lest I’m given my Saturday marching orders from this page, I hasten to add this is not the good ship EADT I‘m talking about, of course.)

The real cattiness involves . . . well, cats. Sophie is the semi-feral one of our adopted pair. Her behaviour never much varies, apart from staying out most of the summer and retreating indoors at night from autumn. Tiger, meanwhile, favours a Madonna-esque image change at the first hint of chill winds. It’s gone into overdrive this year – which, if I were a superstitious type, I would take as the harbinger of a harsh winter.

He’s pretty scraggy-looking during warmer weather, but the arrival of October sees him eating more and more food . . . and eating and eating and eating. We have to keep him away from Sophie’s bowl so she gets her share. The result is positive: he fills out (and out and out) and his coat shines. His mood – default setting grumpy and selfish – takes a turn for the better. He’s not exactly a tortoiseshell Cheryl Cole, but neither is he Simon Cowell with furballs. Behaviour changes, too. After a brief morning stretch, and breakfast, it’s back to a dining-chair for another arduous three hours of sleeping. Repeat twice and then turn in for the night.

It’s not a bad way of coping with our cold and dark winters (which now seem to last at least half the year) and I’m thinking of adopting it myself at work. Should anyone come near, I shall simply hiss. (You already do – Editor.)

I laughed on Thursday when I read that scientists with too much time on their hands had used cameras trained on a moggie called Cutta Cutta to discover how cats lap up water so elegantly, whereas dogs make a right old mess.

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Seems the tip of a feline tongue curls backwards, not forwards, as it darts towards its bowl. It lightly touches the surface of the liquid, rather than penetrating it, and then the tongue being brought up very quickly makes a liquid column. By closing its jaw, the cat grabs part of that liquid. “I would say cats know more about fluid mechanics than dogs,” said Dr Roman Stocker. Yeah right – and my guinea pig has a degree in philosophy.

I look at Tiger the next morning. He’s had food delivered to him, gratis, and has his feet up. I’m heading off into wind and rain to graft for eight hours to pay for the car’s servicing.

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