What are cat beds for? Does anyone actually know?
It is my contention that cats beds are, like gym club memberships, a conspiracy. A means to relieve those who have allowed themselves grandiose fantasies, of their cash. I have never actually seen a cat in a cat bed. Mine have always used my bed. Or the airing cupboard. Or the most advantageous pile-carpeted stair. Or the kitchen working surface.
The conspiracy works like this: one feels a void in the household. And to fill the void one decides the perfect thing would be to get a cat.
But you can rarely have your cat straight away. This is part of the conspiracy, for while you wait, you fantasise and plan. What does the ideal kitten’s lair include? You ask yourself. And you turn to the text books, which, of course, are generally full of rubbish. And they send you to Reputable Pet Shop Supply Merchants. Reputable means the shop smells better, but they charge you twice as much.
Oh, the things on the shelves of the Reputable Pet Dealers. Great babel-tower scratching posts; water fountains; deerskin collapsible cat houses which are not made of deerskin.
And you fill your house with foolishness. Expensive, fantastical foolishness.
Come the day the kitten arrives, you turn up and bundle the little skew-tailed condensed chaos receptacle into a cat box. It mews, outraged, but what it doesn’t realise is that this is nothing to what is about to happen.
The moment the car engine starts it becomes clear to the kitten that they are in the roaring belly of some great mythical beast and all reason goes out of the window. Outrage turns to fight- or – flight, and since neither is really possible, it settles for a very, very small corner of the cat box. And sits, big eyed, shouting its small head off at the beast and anyone else who will listen.
When your kitten finally reaches your self-styled kitten paradise they are freaked. A little bit terrified. And when the beast stops roaring, and the cat box swaying, and when everything comes to rest and becomes still in a place which smells and looks nothing like home, there is only one place to go, and it’s not the cat bed.
It is behind the piano.
Our new arrivals slipped out of the cat box on Friday night, and no-one saw them again that day.
My daughter sat in her room, the designated Safe Room, gazing glumly at the cat-paradise, wondering if having a kitten was going to be all it was cracked up to be.
The next morning, my mother in law arrived with a wonder toy, half mouse, half octopus, filled with kitty irresistibleness. The mouse-octopus was dragged furtively into the lair behind the piano.
And then they began to venture out. Small excursions after the mouse-octupus first, and gradually bolder explorations. Finally, even Columbus would have had to hand it to them. They were venturing out into a new world, sniffing duvets, turning over water bowls, scaling chairs, falling off shelves, chasing cat toys. Millie, the tiniest tiger-tabby, permitted herself to be stroked.
But when the land of nod beckoned, so did Behind The Piano.
They’re there now, as I type. Very happy in a small dark dusty corridor, encamped safely where no beast, mythical or otherwise, friend or foe, could possibly find them.
Cat beds. They’re a waste of space.