Sunday, October 25, 2009
Lancelot The Scourge Of The Kelpies
With the number of pets I have, feeding timeis quite a chore. Every evening I feed the cats, dogs, ferrets etc around 5.30. A ritual has formed, complicating the proceedings and making my job just that bit harder.
About an hour before the designated dinner time, the cats start to feel the first rumblings in their tummy. The fact that dry cat food is available all day in their dish doesn't count when the time for delicious tinned food in approaching. Lancelot decides that subtle hints are needed just in case I forget my most important job of the day. He starts the proceedings by staring at me. He sits in my direct line of sight, even if that means sitting in front of the computer, and stares with the unblinking gaze that only a cat can pull off. If he can, he'll stop glaring and find Guinevere so they can stage vicious looking fights all over the lounge room, or whatever room I'm in, until I get up and get The Tablespoon. This is the spoon I use to dish out the tinned food and Lancelot recognises it from immediately. If I move to another room for any reason, they will stop their battle to the death, follow me and then resume hostilities. Tristan usually rises above the whole feeding time ritual and watches from a distance. There is only one flavour of cat food he will deign to eat and that is only served every fourth day so he doesn't tend to get excited about nightly feeding time.
As soon as they see the spoon peace breaks out and Lancelot then takes on a supervisory role.
Guinevere resumes her lady like personality and sits quietly waiting for dinner to be served but Lancelot is stuck to me like glue. I try to get out the back door without him following me, but I haven't succeeded yet. He escorts me to the laundry where the food is kept, but doesn't come in with me. Instead, he takes up a pugnacious stance on the top step of the back porch, raises the hackles on his back and glares at the Kelpies, Juno and Dione, who desperately want to come up onto the porch for their share of the dog food. Lancelot doesn't move a muscle. He doesn't say anything to the Kelpies, there's no need. At the first sight of Lancelot on that top step they turn into two quivering wrecks unable to think straight or take their eyes off him. They shuffle restlessly from one foot to the other and try to drum up the courage to mount those steps. Occasionally Juno and Dione will have a rush of blood to the head and bound up the steps only to meet with a hiss and a raised paw from their black Nemesis. The quickly cave and bound down the steps faster than they bounded up.
Now I hear you all asking, "Is Lancelot some giant, monster cat breed?" No he's a 12 year old cat showing all the signs of age that the average 12 year old cat shows. He just thinks he's some giant monster cat breed and has somehow brainwashed the Kelpies into believing it too.
I've found the only way to get Lancelot inside so the poor Kelpies can get their share of dinner is to feed Billy, who remains unimpressed by Lancelot's presence, close the laundry door (so I can bring in the ferrets later and the Kelpies can eat without Billy muscling in) and then open the kitchen door and insist that Lancelot go back in the house. He usually shoots one glare and one hiss at the Kelpies for good measure, before complying with my request and stalks into the house. The Kelpies wait until the door is closed and Lancelot is well out of sight before venturing onto the porch. I then feed them and get on with feeding the rest of the menagerie. I keep telling the Kelpies that they are dogs, bigger and stronger than Lancelot (whose threats have all been either via body language or verbal. He has never laid a claw on them - they won't let him get close enough to try), and that there are two of them and only one of Lancelot. Nothing works, they are terrified of him and insist that only one of Lancelot is more than they can deal with. Just the thought of him on the other side of the door is enough to send them scurrying for the porch steps again. I have to wait until they have finished their food before going inside or they will scarper as soon as the back door is open and they see Lancelot on the other side.
Once I'm inside and dishing out the cat food, Lancelot returns to his old mellow self, tucks in with gusto and doesn't give the Kelpies so much as a second thought. If only I could have that sort of power over the menagerie! Life would be so much easier.