Past conversations with my cat – 78


This is Chester.  He doesn’t like stormy weather, particularly at night.

We’ve been having a lot of hot days with no relief in temperatures.  From mid-morning, the air conditioning had been running until midnight.

But, Chester’s usual hiding place has been in the non-aircoditioned part of the house, so he’s had to come down to join me.

There’s been no rain for weeks and although some days are cloudy all it does is worsen the humidity which at times even the airconditioning can’t relieve.

But when the storms come, after a long dry period, they are intense, and when the lightning strikes the thunder is particularly loud, and the cat jumps.

Never let a scaredy-cat sit on your lap in a storm.  I did.  Once.  Never again.

I put him on the chair next to me and covered him up.  It helps.

An hour later the storm has passed, and he goes back to lying on the floor.

Oops, was that another crack of lightning?

Past conversations with my cat – 77


This is Chester.  He’s not happy we’re cleaning the office.

I guess I’m not either.


It’s school holidays and it’s natural that while parents are working grandparents take up the slack as childminders.  The trick is keeping them amused, and away from computers or being planted in front of the TV.

Of course, knowing the level of fear the grandchildren can bring to the cat, he views their arrival with some apprehension, keeping his distance.

Based on previous experiences, he is assuming they will remain out of the office on the computer for one, and on the smartphone for the other, so he slinks down the passage and quickly runs into the office.

Is this going happen often, he asks.

They’re on holidays, it’s here or daycare, and I’d rather it be here.

Then they appear at the doorway.  “OK.  We’re here to clean the room.  Where do we start?”

Chester’s cornered.  He knows it.  I know it, and worse still, they know it.

He disappears under the desk, safe for the moment, but it’s going to be a long morning.

Past conversations with my cat – 76


This is Chester.  He’s resting after a rather traumatic morning.

He came down sometime during the morning, into the office, and found me asleep in my chair.

After a long night last night, working on one of my stories, the plotline stretched well into the night and the creative juices were flowing.

It was very late when I got to bed, and I was surprised that he was not on the bed waiting for me like he usually is.

He’s one of those cats, very hard to move, and very difficult to work around when you try to stretch your legs,  And, being summer, he tends to jump around thinking it’s prey, and bites.


He came down, saw me asleep and decided that I might be dead or something worse.

First, he jumped for the desk to my lap.  I didn’t move.

Second, he used a paw to tap on my arm.  I didn’t feel it.

Third, he did one of those hideous cat screams, and that nearly did give me a heart attack.

What is it they say, the cure is worse than the disease?

“What the hell is the matter with you,” I ask when finally my heart rate is back to under 200.

“I thought you were dead.”

“Isn’t that what you want, to become master of the house?”

“I’m already that, I just need a servant.  Don’t do that again.  Good servants are hard to find.”

With that, he jumps down and goes back to his lair, plotting, no doubt, the next lot of mischief he can get into.


Post conversations with my cat – 75

This is Chester. He’s now answering the phone.

I came down to the living room to find Chester on the counter next to the house phone, and the receiver sitting next to him.

I’m almost too afraid to ask, but, you know it is, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

“What have you done?”

“I thought I’d answer the phone for you. Thing is, they hung up.”

It’s a scam call. They ring up, you answer, they hang up knowing they’ve got a live number to call with their scam.

“Yep. Just sit tight, the scammers will start calling in half an hour.”

I put the receiver back.

“I’m getting back to work.”

“I’ll keep an eye on the phone. When they call, I’ll answer it.”

Yep. That’ll give the scammers something to think about.

Half an hour later, the phone rings. Instinctively I get up to answer it but Chester has answered it. That is, he has dislodged the receiver, and it’s sitting on the bench.

A voice is coming out of it. “This is Aaron. I’m from the Telstra technical department. Hello.”

Chester is looking at the phone, hearing the voice but not quite understanding.

He looks at me. “What is that guy’s problem. I told him I’m not interested. Doesn’t he get it?”

I hang up the phone. “They never get it. But don’t worry, they’ll call back again in an hour or so. Just tell them to go away.”

Chester looks at me with a whimsical smile. “This is going to be fun.”

My scam call problem is solved!

Past conversations with my cat – 74


This is Chester.  Somehow he has worked out it’s Christmas.

He comes down to the office and discovers I’m not there.  I can hear him wandering around until suddenly I realise there is a presence in the kitchen doorway.

Chester, a mischievous look on his face, sitting and waiting.

Waiting for what?  I stupidly ask why, and almost instantly regret it because I know what’s coming.

You’ve blocked off the path to my basket, again.  Why have you got a tree growing in the house?

You know why.

You mean to say it’s Christmas again.  I thought we got that over with years ago.

No, it happens every year.

So, what’s in the pretty coloured paper boxes?


Oh, is there one for me?

Several actually.  Everyone decided to get you something this year.  Especially since you decided to let the grandchildren pat you.

I see him visibly shudder.

Once doesn’t mean forever.

You want those presents?

He wanders off towards the tree, and I can see he’s working out if he can climb it.  He had tried before with another tree, and I will not detail the mess that turned out to be.

I come out of the kitchen, and see him sitting a few feet away.

Chester, I say sternly, there will be no climbing the tree, am I understood.

He turns his head.  OK.  No climbing the tree.  He heads off towards the new location for his basket.

Next morning, questions need to be asked.  Decorative balls on the ground, and tinsels bits in his bed.

Good thing then he’s missing.  I’ll be just another problem to deal with Christmas morning.





Past conversations with my cat – 73

This is Chester. He has suddenly become delusional.

I’m not sure if a cat can become so, but since I gave him a role in one of my stories, he’s started acting weirdly.

I’m sure if he could wear sunglasses indoors he would. As it is, it’s head in the air, looking straight ahead, ignoring everything and everyone around him.

I think about opening the concertina doors that lead into the dining room just to see if he crashes into them.

He thinks, no doubt, that I think he’s just sniffing the air to see if there are any mice to be caught, but I’m on to him.

As he strolls past I say, “Perhaps I might turn that role into a walk on.”

He stops in mid step, and turns his head.

“You can’t. I’ve read the latest chapter. I’m integral to the plot.”

I smile. “You do realise often the best roles end up on the cutting room floor, or in this case, perhaps I’ll start editing early. There’s such a thing as the delete key.”

Smug, or is that haughty, look gone.

“Just go back to being your usual self,” I say, “and I’ll reconsider your role.”

“Does that mean no fresh fish for lunch today?”

“Don’t push your luck.”

I’m sure cats can’t shrug, but he gives it his best shot, and continues on his way minus the attitude.

For now. Who knows what tomorrow will bring

Past conversations with my cat – 72


This is Chester.  He’s finally got a starring role in one of my stories.

The thing is, I tried to keep it quiet so he wouldn’t get delusions, but it failed.

I made the mistake of leaving the page with the ‘cat’ part on the screen.  The screen saver should have kicked in, but I think a well-placed paw brought it back to life.

So, the next morning, I come down and see him sitting on the desk, waiting.

It can either be good news or bad news.

“I see you’ve finally written a cat into the plot.”

“It was only a matter of time.  I think you made your case a week ago by sitting on the keyboard until I agreed.  Now, you’re in.”

“Yes.  I see.  Who’s idea was it to call the cat Herman?  I mean to say, really, Herman?”

“I thought it was a great name for a cat.”

“What type of cat is it?”

“I don’t know.  A cat’s a cat isn’t it?”

“Why not a Tonkinese, like me?”

“Alright, I’ll change it.”

“You made him jumpy, skittish even.  I’m not like that.”

“It’s not you in the story.”

“So you’ve found another cat, who is it.  It won’t last long when I get to them.”

Maybe it’s easier to write him out of the story.  I don’t think I can take this criticism.


Past conversations with my cat – 71

This is Chester.

When I come down to the writing room he’s sitting on the table next to the keyboard.

I take this gesture to mean that he’s not trying to be confrontational.

He’d be sitting on the keyboard if that was his intention.

Or, perhaps he’s trying to lull me into a false sense of security.

I try to read his expression, forgetting that cats down have expressions, just a single look.


I sit down and we’re now eye to eye. Could it be that he is doesn’t like the idea of looking up at me? Might that almost suggest that I am the master and he is the cat?

Perhaps I’m just tired and writing too much into it. Maybe he just saw a mouse and wanted to get an overview of where it might have gone.

Plenty of hiding places in this office. Chester knows some off them himself because there are times when I can’t find him.

Then he deigns to speak. “I think it’s time you cleaned this room up.”

It seems it’s a universal request from everyone, grandchildren included.

“Sorry. Not sorry. I’m going for the grumpy grandfather’s study children are forbidden to enter look. Piles of books, shelves overloaded with more books, messy tables, and papers scattered everywhere. And nowhere to sit because seats are places to pile more stuff.”

He looks around.

“Done a good job of it then. How do you find anything?”

“I found you.”

“I wasn’t hiding.”

“Oh, I thought you were.”

I’m sure there was that imperceptible shake of the head in disdain, before he jumps down and leaves.

Dodged a bullet there. I was sure he was going to complain about his food … again!

Past conversations with my cat – 70


This is Chester.  He’s checking the outside temperature.

And the heat goes on with no relief in sight.

Chester has taken to spreading out on the cool tiles floor, trying to get some sleep.

He tells me its too hot for the mice to come out.

I believe him.

I was going to chat about the so-called climate emergency, but here’s the thing. It’s been this hot before, endless days of relentless heat, days where the temperature hits 40 degrees centigrade in the shade.

It happened when we came to Queensland for a holiday 30 odd years ago, and long before Chester was thought of.

The first day it rained. After that it was nearly two weeks of very hot days.

We live in the tropics. You could expect more rain, but rain is a fickle thing.

We have bushfires everywhere, and Chester can’t sit at the doorways because of the pervading smoke permeating in the atmosphere.

I should be writing he says, but instead I’m on a settee in the living room, under a slowly rotating fan.

He jumps up and joins me, the sitting on my lap, not exactly the coolest spot to be. He’s getting the effects of the fan, I’m not and I’m guessing that’s the point.

I tell him he can go for a run outside, something I’ve never let him do.

He sees it for the gesture it is and climbs down, back to the cool floor. I get a long cold stare, and then he leaves me in peace.

No work today, for either of us. I can do without the verbal sparring.

Perhaps there will be a cool change tomorrow.

Past conversations with my cat – 69

This is Chester. He’s looking for a cool spot to lie down.

We’ve been having something of a heat wave for the last few days, temperatures soaring above the mid-thirties, and nearly as high as forty degrees centigrade.

So, this morning we watched the ice hockey, and even Chester stayed the distance, not so he could smirk when the Maple Leafs lost, but to channel the idea it was cold somewhere else in the world.

And it worked for a while. Having been to the ice hockey in Toronto in person, I know just how cold it was.

After that, it was a matter of leaving the doors opens to let what breeze there was flow through the house, so Chester first sat by the front door, then the back door, then came out to see me.

Time for the air conditioner.

Yes, we have air conditioning, and yes, the cost of electricity in this country is horrendous.  It was why we had solar panels put in.

I just leave it as long as possible before turning it on.

I thought about toying with him, but he’s sitting on the keyboard looking angry.

Now was the right time.