Elizabeth Wright
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Twenty-One Top Tips For Cat Owners

1: Cats can read the words FLEA POWDER, DROPS, or FLEA SPRAY right through a paper bag at twenty paces. They will do a Reggie Perrin and disappear.

2: To retrieve an angry cat from its hiding place don a full suit of armour.

3: For a retrieval attempted without a full suit of armour, be prepared to unzip cat’s teeth from your flesh, mop up spilled blood (yours), and check date of last tetanus injection.

4: To treat the cat for fleas, hold down in the “flattened cat” position.

5: If unsuccessful, scrape furious cat off ceiling.

6: Give up. Put flea collar on cat adding a nice little identity disc, so if he gets lost, the finder can bring him home.

7: Go out and buy another disc and collar, as the cat will come home minus collar and disc.

8: Cats have worms. You can treat them with little pills, which the manufacturers advise you crush and sprinkle on the cat’s favourite food. Buy two packets. Always open the box with your back to the cat (they can read the words WORM TABLETS too). On putting the bowl down in front of your pet cheerily saying, “Look what I’ve got for you,” watch as he takes one disdainful sniff, gives you THAT LOOK, and walks away.

9: For the ‘You are going to take this tablet even if it kills me’ method, refer to 2 above.

10: Hold cat firmly and try to push the little pill down your cat’s throat past its firmly clenched teeth. As you vainly battle with this furry lethal weapon on four legs, the tablet disintegrates and spills on the floor.

11: Open box and take out another tablet. Keep trying. If desperate, obtain help from an unsuspecting friend. They hold, you dose. Raid first-aid box for large sticking plasters for ex-friend, throw empty pill boxes in bin and sweep up heap of crunchy granules.

12: Ask vet for help. Make sure cat is not within hearing distance, as it can understand the words VET and INJECTIONS and do a Reggie Perrin again.

13: Try to sneak cat-carrying basket out of the loft. If seen your cat will make itself invisible, only to re-appear 30 seconds after you have given up searching and packed the carrier away.

14: Shut all doors and windows, bung up cat flap. Refer to 2 above again. Try pushing extremely angry cat into upended basket. You will discover the cat can turn around and jump out quicker than you can close the little wicker door.

15: Ask the vet to do a home visit. Keep your cat inside; otherwise he will depart out the back door as the vet’s car pulls up outside the front door.

16: Fully experienced, the vet will get the pill down, but not far enough. Weeks late you will discover this congealed white blob spat up in a discreet corner. If the vet opts for an injection, your cat will withdraw all affection and ignore you for days.

17: And to finish—never buy an expensive three-piece suite. Your cat will immediately regard it as his personal upmarket scratching post.

18: Never buy a whole case of that cat food he has so eagerly eaten for the last five years. This will be the week he decides he’s fed up with it.

19: A cooked chicken on the worktop is fair game.

20: A cooked chicken in the fridge is fair game with a challenge.

21: And finally—fit a cat door with caution, otherwise you will find your home could be taken over by feline squatters, and your cat has packed his bags and moved out.

Published in the Daily Mail’s ‘Peterborough’ columns – Summer 2010.

© Elizabeth Wright