MY LIFE WITH STALIN
AN EVERYDAY TALE OF ONE BLOKE AND HIS CAT
PART 2: THE HOME VISIT
It was love at first sight. Having spent nearly eight years sharing a house with The Evil Woman Who Hates Cats, I had forgotten what it was like to fall truly, madly, deeply in love. But that’s when I set eyes on Stalin and his little brother Lenin – and boy, did they do it for me! Blokes don’t really like to get romantic, but it was the sight of those two gorgeous, homeless little kittens, shy and nervy, that persuaded me to do something that I really don’t like doing. Those cats persuaded me to part with money. More than that, those cats persuaded me to cough up a pony each!
A pony each, I ask you? That’s half a ton the pair. That’s more than I’d spend on a bird even if I was on a guaranteed ‘promise’. Up until that point I had scoffed at the very idea of getting caught up in some kind of ‘Cash For Cats’ scandal. I live in the countryside for chrissakes – just step out of the front door and you’re knee-deep in the things. Every time The Evil Woman Who Hates Cats suggested that we comply with the Cat Protection League’s policy of a ‘voluntary’ donation, I had laughed out loud. Voluntary, schmoluntary! “Just give me the cat,” I thought, “and then you won’t see me for dust, never mind my cheque book!”
But it just took one look at Stalin, followed by an aggressive bloke-style rough and tumble with the little fella – all sharp claws and real biting – to persuade me that here was money well spent. He played hard and fought hard. I had to have him.
I went along with the program and parted with the cash, but before I could have them giftwrapped and take them home, it turned out that there was more red tape to go through still. You can’t just go off with a cat, you see. You have to pass the rigid vetting procedures designed to weed out any potential threat. After all, the last thing you’d want is for some kind of feline ‘stranger danger’, or a bizarre and twisted Jeffrey Dahmer-style incident involving kittens and a fridge. To those ends, we were more than happy to go through with the home visit – but it was a still a worrying prospect.
After seven days of sleepless nights and paranoid fantasies about the Cat Police raiding our home, I found myself pacing around the living room alone. By chance The Evil Woman Who Hates Cats couldn’t make the appointment – quite a relief given her complete aversion to fur, as I had actually been wondering whether this would have reflected badly on our chances of acquiring the little fellas. I also caught myself nervously worrying how deep the CPL investigation would go? Would they, for instance, start digging into our personal lives? Would they care that the cats would be coming into the kind of environment that would make Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in ‘War Of The Roses’ look like a rather well-balanced couple? And if the CPL really were concerned with the moral well-being of the cats, would they allow them to come to a home where the air could regularly turn blue at the mere waving of a linesman’s flag or slightest hint of a Conservative Party Political Broadcast?
After a tense 30 minute guided tour of the house, followed by a detailed examination of the vicinity of the roads and an assessment of the levels of traffic in the area, all my worries were laid to rest as the home visit was completed. With the adoption formerly rubber stamped, we found ourselves in sole possession of two cats. All we had to do now was come up with their names – but as you’re aware, I already had a couple of names under consideration. It was just a case of persuading The Evil Woman Who Hates Cats. But that’s another story!
NEXT MONTH: Naming the cats!
© Words copyright Chris Hunt 2007