Ihave mentioned before that I have dropped a little faut pas with this column because as well as all the dogs we have had over the years, we have also had some cats. When I decided to call this series of posts “Jammy Toast Dogs”, I had forgotten that Davidd and I also had some very interesting cats over the years who you also might like to hear about – Tipsy was the first. Tipsy was a pretty average looking cat – he was tabby and white in colour but wasn’t that keen on cleaning himself. Most of the time the white part of him was more grey than white. I have no idea where we got him from, he just appeared one day and never left. He adopted us rather than the other way around.
He was however, the most affectionate cat we have ever known. Usually when you call a cat, they look at you with disdain as if to say, “What do you think I am, a dog?” Not so with Tipsy, he would come running at the thought of getting any attention. He would sit on Davidd’s knee for hours kneading his legs while he stroked him. He also loved rubbing his head against the side of Davidd’s to mark him as his own, personal property.
The one thing that Tipsy was known for around the neighbourhood was his bullying ways. He was a full male and so he would fight with other cats. Many a time at night, we would be lying in bed listening to him fighting with another tom-cat. Each screaming and howling at each other. Next day he would never have a mark on him.
It was not just cats either.
He would often come face-to-face with a dog and he would transform into a screaming, spitting ball of fangs and claws. It was not uncommon to see him chasing dogs around our neighbourhood. He used to wait for Davidd to come home from school on the door step of our house. One day, he walked up our road and Tipsy was sitting on the door step while a dog was barking into his face. I swear Tipsy was nearly asleep with his eyes closed. That is how worried he was about the dog. When he saw Davidd coming, he lashed out at the dog as if to say, “You can clear off now, I don’t want to play this game anymore.”
As he got older, he developed a liver problem. He spent some time at the vets for treatment. He hated the vet with a passion because, of course, he didn’t know the vet was just trying to make him better. The vet had to wear big thick gloves to handle him so that he didn’t get his hands torn to shreds. The veterinary nurse however, was fine because she took the time to play with him and stroke him on her lunch breaks. He used to like Kym.
Then they pushed it too far. They kept him in for a few days to run tests on him and he got fed up of hanging around the vets and made an escape. He got out of his cage and jumped out of an open window on the top floor and took refuge in a builder’s yard next to the vet’s surgery. All kinds of plans were tried to try and recapture him but nothing worked. The vet and the men from the builder’s yard were all walking around with gashed hands from their attempts to round him up.
Eventually they rang us up and admitted what had happened. I was dispatched down to the vets to go and collect him. As I arrived, I went and asked one of the men in the yard if it was okay if I had a search for my cat only to be told that Tipsy wasn’t a cat, he was a feral mountain lion who had escaped from Chester Zoo. I had no idea where he was so I just sat on a bench in the yard and called him. Tipsy came trotting out, jumped onto my knee and started purring and rubbing up against me like he always did.
The builder couldn’t believe it!
Tipsy had to be put to sleep not long after that because his liver problem got worse and he was incontinent and in pain. Although the neighbourhood was more peaceful without him – neighbours could even let their dogs and cats out of their houses – it was just not the same!