The Snip


There comes a time in every male cat’s life where he becomes obsessed with populating the local area with kittens sporting his genetic imprint.

Why making small versions of oneself should entail brawling with other local males, roaming an impossibly wide territory and spraying everything that does not move (and a few things that do) with scent which would make a vulture wince, I have no idea. But it is this skillset which has long necessitated drastic action when a young adult cat reaches maturity.

The question is: when is a young man, all be he feline, mature?

The question taxed us over the breakfast table. How could we possibly tell whether Clive Bond is mature enough to have The Snip?

“Do you think Clive Bond is mature?” I asked the kids as they bustled about getting ready for school. Maddie gazed thoughtfully at the cat who was stood on two hind legs trying to prize the cat food cupboard open. After fruitless attempts he wandered off to ride the bike in the porch.

Maddie shook her head. “Mummy, I am afraid Clive has a way to go before he is mature enough to be neutered,” she declared sagely.

Still, it might be meet to get a professional opinion.

I walked the dog in haste and put the cat in the basket, and thence into the car. We sped to the vets and when the time came I was invited to put the cat box on the vets table.

In time-honoured tradition the cat straddled the exit to the box. Who teaches them to do that? Expertly, each of those four feet anchored him soundly within its four walls, though just minutes before he was fixing himself to various parts of furniture rather than enter the same small space.

I hauled him out. He sat down. This was new.

The expanse of glossy black tabletop was interrupted by the gleaming white scales. They looked promising, Clive thought. Maybe they’re a game. He tried a paw on it, gingerly.

“Mrs Shrewsday,” the long-suffering vet instructed, “I wonder if you could keep Clive off the scales until I have calibrated them? Thank you…”

I made apologetic noises and removed all trace of curious cat from the scales.

When his presence on them was finally desirable, he considered them passé. They were just the route to somewhere else: the keyboard of the vet’s computer.

Oh, help, I thought. Bond has already renamed my Twitter tab on my Mac computer jkjjjjjjjjdfllllllllltmnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd. I hate to think what he might do if he got hold of the vet’s computer records.

Yet removal, with Bond, is a cyclical thing. You have to say NO very loudly indeed twenty times at least before he gets the wider picture. This, in a vet’s consulting room, could become embarrassing.

But the vet says he’s almost mature enough. In January, the vet said, he will be ready.

I looked doubtful.

The day sped by in a blur. At four o’clock my niece arrived for tea. We had put all the lights on in our main sitting room in her honour,  and a cheerful fire was burning in the grate. The Christmas tree glimmered pleasingly.

And then, the three of us, myself, my son and my niece, watched as something appeared to happen in slow motion.

The seven foot tree began to list crazily in our direction. And then, slowly, majestically, it leaned, like a pine on an alpine slope, and fell.

And finally, like an executive stepping out of the lift on the ground floor of some smooth and swanky hotel, Bond emerged from the undergrowth and strolled off into the hall.

I thought, then, of Corporal Clinger from that peerless television series, MASH. Is that cat smoothly evading a diagnosis of Mature Enough, simply to avoid The Snip?

I wouldn’t put anything past Clive Bond.


27 thoughts on “The Snip

  1. Go Bond, you can climb that tree, woohoo! Shame poor guy, my boy cat sympathies with you…good luck in January with the big snip!

  2. And this is why I cannot have a Christmas tree.
    My 6 year old Siamese cat (Keona) is large enough to take a tree down with one well placed jump–which he absolutely loves to do.
    He has an innate love for felling trees and dismantling decorations, so the “snip” made no difference at all.

  3. Bond is an endless source of enjoyment—at least for those of us reading about him 🙂
    To snip or not to snip—yet. That is the question. On the date of his return visit to the vet, you might be asking another question before you can pack him in his traveling case: Bond, oh Bond, wherefore art thou Bond?

  4. As you know, I adore Clive Bond (and Bowie). On this side of the pond, we were required to do the snip when we adopted the feline boys at 12 weeks… I was horrified, but those seem to be the new rules of shelters here (control the ‘out of control’ population). Dylan and Bagheera are both healthy and lovely- although kittenhood was, well- you are living it…

  5. Ah, I remember the kitten in the tree scenario quite clearly, especially the year that Parlsey, whom we didn’t have snipped soon enough, had a bit of fun with Sage, producing Rosemary, Thyme, Frankincense, and Myrrh twenty days before Christmas. Then there was the Christmas the cockatiel hid in the tree most of Christmas morning.

  6. Many years ago, we knew it was absolutely, positively, beyond-a-doubtedly, immediately, do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-200-dollars time to have our cat, Jasper, snipped when he sprayed our bedroom closet! Holy Moly! That smell is horrific and hard to eradicate! It stinks and sinks into the floor and it stays there.

    Luckily, it was the only instance. We’d heard cats might continue spraying, once they’ve started, even after being neutered.

  7. Vets in the States generally neuter at 6 months or so. (I learned the hard way that neutering a male after he starts spraying will not stop the spraying.)

    As for your picture, I love it. Witnessed an identical scene two nights ago at my son’s house. A fluffy gray tail twitching madly from the side of the tree as its now full-grown owner tried to figure out why the tree that was so much fun last year is now much too small.

  8. They are starting to neuter early here. Especially if you adopt from a shelter. I think it’s to ensure that the snip is done because it’s so easy to let it slide. Jake was neutered around 16 weeks. A year later we adopted a cat mom who already had a litter. She came home and was scheduled for her “fixing” the following week when she went into heat. Good lord! What a ta-do! Howling, prancing and sticking her butt in poor Jake’s face. Poor guy had no idea what to do. It was almost hilarious except for the howling!

  9. That photo would make a great holiday card.

    So Clive likes to climb the Xmas tree and Macaulay would probably love to lift his leg on it — but no doubt he’s mature enough to know better.

  10. That photo speaks volumes . . . he’s hiding to avoid the “snip.” 😉

    We’ve had our cats spayed and neutered at about 6 mos. of age . . . before they start howling and yowling and spraying.

  11. Lovely Christmas picture for cat lovers. I remember my two-year-old sister had just mastered tricycle riding and she kept charging our Christmas tree full tilt on the cycle. The tree was listing to one side and quite battered by the time Christmas Day rolled around. Nothing could stop her. She was a juggernaut. At least Clive Bond isn’t riding the porch bike into the tree (yet).

  12. Cats and baskets are fun Kate! Simba, my brothers cat, will not voluntarily get into one. At the vets, she will not get out of one and has to be tipped out… but then, and only then, will she do her best to get back in! She has mastered that four-pawed grip to perfection! 😀

  13. Priceless! I think you should be given some kind of emergency dispensation so that poor Clive can get beyond this fear and dread, and you are able to move through the holidays without fear that his Ninja habits are going to create Christmas chaos!

  14. When we got our cats – one female and one male – from the shelter, they both had colds. They were allowed to come home with us, foster care. I didn’t return to the shelter to have them both “fixed.” I feared they’d catch another kennel cough or cold. So our vet took over and peace reigned supreme in our humble domicile. Our vet is convinced that Jean-Louis (our male) remembers and has not forgiven her. 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Kate.

  15. I wonder if it’s something with male black cats. My male black cat, Noir, has a thing with climbing the Christmas tree. He feels sly and steathy. One time, I didn’t even know he was in there until I saw a pair of yellow/green eyes staring at me through a branch. Good thing that tree is only up once a year.

  16. We’ve got a new girl labrador that we’re preparing for the same feat! She doesn’t climb but alas, she has energy. Merry Christmas Kate.

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