Past conversations with my cat – 53


This is Chester.  He’s feeling poorly today.

When I used this expression, he looked at me quizzically, which is not bad for a cat with a constant poker face.

Where did you get that from?

It’s a favourite expression of my mother’s when she wasn’t feeling very well.  She had another, ‘not feeling elegant’ today.

It stops and makes me wonder where these expressions come from, and I suspect, because my mother’s mother was of German descent, that it was one of those translation to English things.

Chester seems disinterested.  I’m beginning to think there may be something wrong with him because he’s not his usual sardonic self.

Perhaps, I say, it’s time to go to the vet, get checked out.  You’re not getting any younger.

His head pops up at the mention of the vet.  He knows what this means.  The cat basket.

He leaps up with newfound energy and heads for the door.

I get out of my chair to follow, and he’s gone, moving quickly up the passage to one of his hiding spots.

Maybe he’s not that bad.  I’ll monitor the situation.

“You’re safe,” I yell out.  “For now.”

Conversations with my cat – 91


This is Chester.

We’re having an interesting time in the quest for self-isolation.

It seems he doesn’t like the idea that we are still going out, and coming back, potentially bringing the virus back.

This, of course, despite the fact that there are no confirmed cases of the virus attacking cats.

That doesn’t mean that Chester might be the first cat that does.

Out of curiosity, and perhaps against my better judgment, I have to ask what his reasoning is.

Old age, he says.  If you are telling me the truth then I’m about 18 cat years old, which means it’s about 126 of your years.

I can see where this is going.  It’s my fault because I’ve left the running count of Coronavirus patients worldwide on one of my computer screens.

As of this morning, there are 393,000 cases worldwide.  He was sitting next to me when I  was looking at the statistical data on the various ages and pre-existing conditions.

For him, apparently, there was only one statistic that mattered.  Anyone over 90 in human years had little chance of surviving.

I reiterate the virus doesn’t attack cats.

I also tell him that I have no intention of getting the virus.  But it raises a point I hadn’t considered.

Going out anywhere always has a risk, whether to the supermarket or the pharmacy which are basically the only places I go.  Then there is the situation of my wife, who is still working and has to go to work.  That is a bigger risk considering one of the staff will be coming back from overseas.

How successful the self-isolation rule is, and whether everyone complies, is a matter of conjecture, and one has to wonder if 14 days in isolation is long enough.

Chester has raised a legitimate point, not necessarily in relation to himself.

Perhaps he might be worried about us.

And if that is the case, will the specter of this virus finally become the catalyst for a change in the relationship between cats and people, where they might realize we are more important to them than they currently believe.

Let’s see what happens.

Conversations with my cat – 90


This is Chester.

He’s not looking forward to being in quarantine.

Yes, he’s been keeping up with the latest developments regarding the Coronavirus, but like many, he doesn’t seem to think it will affect him.

After all, he says smugly, there hadn’t been one recorded instance of a cat getting the Coronavirus.

Of course, he’s right, but I still search for a searing reply.

That may be, but what if they’re not reporting cat infections so as not to alarm the cat population?

Aha, got him with that one.  He ponders that for a moment or two.  I decided to add fuel to the fire.

Apparently, dogs can contract the virus, but after reporting one, there hadn’t been any more.  What if they’re not telling anyone that more dogs have contracted the virus so owners and pets don’t get alarmed.

A reply quick as a flash, Dogs get everything that’s going around.  We cats are more resilient.

Until you get cat flu.  Yes, my nana’s cat got cat flu and it killed him in 2 days.  This virus is a much deadlier form of flu.

A suitable look of concern crossed his face.

Maybe I’ll stay indoors for the duration.  It’s not as if you’re going to let me roam the streets any time soon.

Maybe I will, I say.  Perhaps it is time I started letting you out from time to time.

A shake of the head.

We’ll revisit this when the crisis has passed, he says getting up and walking off, tail flicking in annoyance.

One to me, none to him.  Yes!!!

Past conversations with my cat – 52


This is Chester.  He’s left a current edition of a news magazine on my keyboard.

And I think it’s meant to scare me.

The title is “Your cat isn’t trying to kill you, probably”

The operative word that goes with the malicious look on his face, is probably.  In a staredown I know I’m going to lose.

If I try to read his mind, well, all that’s going to get me is a migraine headache.

Perhaps I’m missing the point.  The first few lines tell me that cats don’t have the facial muscles that dogs do, so an expressionless cat is just that, they are not giving you the proverbial death stare.

I’m sure that it’s his way of reassuring me that I’m living on borrowed time.

Or, maybe not, because there are a few more lines further down telling me that cats are predators and they kill about a billion birds every year.  That, I’m guessing, hints that once the birds run out, humans are next.

Ah, now I know that benign expression holds no malice…

Past conversations with my cat – 51


This is Chester. Our standoff continues.

I can tell he’s not happy because when he’s going down the passage and I’m going in the opposite direction, he changes sides.

Instead of coming over to see what food he’s getting, he waits in another room. That is fine by me because it takes a little longer to find out he’s not in an eating mood.

And come to think of it, he no longer climbs up on the table when we’re having fish. I’ve told him more than once that eating off someone else’s plate is just not good manners.

Perhaps I should not be so concerned he’s not talking to me, because he’s almost become the cat I’ve always wanted.

What’s that expression, cut your nose off to spite your face.

But, it isn’t going to last. This morning when I go down to the library, which is just a fancy name for my writing room, he’s sitting on top of my closed laptop.

I never used to close it but the last time I cleaned it I found cat hair, an allegation he vehemently denied and tried to tell me it the dog we used to have.

I didn’t bother telling him the laptop is new, and the dog’s been gone for 12 years.

I ask him to move.

He yawns and makes himself more comfortable.

He still hasn’t realized that all I have to do is pick him up, and move him, which I do.

I sit down to start work, he jumps up on the table and gives me that ‘I dare you to do that again’ look, and I stare back with the ‘do you really want to do this’ look.

Fifteen minutes later…

Conversations with my cat – 89


This is Chester.  We have been discussing the possibility of being stuck in the house for anything from 14 days to 10 months.

Yes, the Coronavirus is finally arriving in Australia, and though it is slow to catch on, we are being warned that it could get a lot worse, very quickly.

Chester has suggested we barricade the doors and windows.

Alas, I tell him, this is not the same as the American cowboys fending off an Indian attack.  No circling the wagons, and definitely no John Wayne to ride in and save the day.

Too many westerns on Fox.  I keep forgetting Chester has mastered the art of turning the TV on and changing channels on the Foxtel remote.

I also tell him that the virus is not only airborne, spread by those who cough or sneeze, but also by touch, like shaking hands, and hugging.

At that, Chester takes a good three, four steps back away from me.  So, he challenges me, what are the options.

Well, firstly cats may not get the virus.  Only one dog, as far as I know, had got it.  You, I tell him, do not need to worry.

As for the humans, well, we are in trouble if it comes.

We will be staying in, in some sort of forced quarantine, trying to avoid the rest of the world until it goes away,

So, he says, that means you have enough cat food and litter, the proper one?

I shake my head like he does when he’s annoyed.

Well, if it happens, I’m sure we’ll find out.  Besides, I add, you need to lose a kilo or two.

Past conversations with my cat – 50


This is Chester.  He knows it’s time to visit the vet.

And we have the same problem every month.  Any other time he would be in one of three places, at the back door, watching the birds on the fence, in his basket contemplating whether to check out the mice situation or sitting at the front door hoping some kind person will take him away and give him a better life.

But, come vet day, he’s nowhere to be seen.  Or heard.  I suspect he hears the sound of the pet carrier.  Certainly, the moment he sees it, if he is anywhere near, he runs.

Odd that, because he has one of those bell neckbands that alerts us, and the birds, if we ever let him out.  Today, in fact now that I think about it, it is not to be heard.

Has he managed to figure out a way to walk without it making a sound?

So, it’s time to mount a search.  WE have to be going if we’re going to make the appointment on time.

He has six favourite hiding spots, one in a cupboard in the spare bedroom.  It took a while to discover this one, and the discovery he could open the sliding door with his paw.  What was hard to understand; he could close it too.

Today, he’s not there.

Under and one of three beds, all very low, and very hard for us to get down to see.  And dark, needing a torch.  Woe betide us if it is in the middle, just beyond our reach.

No, not hiding under the beds, but we do find one of his toy mice, destroyed.

Nor is he hiding under the lounge room table, a new spot since we put an overflowing table cloth on it, making it look like a tent.

Almost at the end of my tether, I hear a bell.

There he is, sitting on the end of the bed, a grin if it could be called that on his face.

Where have you been, we have to get going or we’ll be late, he says.

Yes, and all I have to do is get you in the carrier.


He realizes his fatal mistake and tries to run.

One day he’s going to make this easier for me.