Series 2 Episode 2: The Cat-Sit Written by Ricky Star
Gita had been delighted and excited for many days in advance of being granted what, to her, felt like one of the most exciting tasks of her life. Being permitted - nay, actually requested - to look after a cat for a week was a glorious thing, and she could not wait to begin her cat-sitting adventure, having got up extra early on Monday morning to receive her new lodger. This was to be entirely her responsibility, and Haresh and Alfie would have nothing whatsoever to do with her custody of Tricky the Cat. Tricky was duly delivered to her door at the allocated time of eleven in the morning - Gita having got up six hours earlier and literally bounced around in excitement for most of that time - and thus began what Gita entirely and wholeheartedly believed would be a beautiful friendship.
Little known to Gita, the cat did not like the name “Tricky”. She liked the name “Trické” far more; there was a neat sound to it. Tricky had not been looking forward to this particularly. That is, she had been vaguely aware of some sort of change - her diet seemed to have altered, and her owners had been packing bags, which usually meant that she was due to stay with someone else for a while. She was the sort of cat who enjoyed variety, and as such, made sure never to stay with any humans (other than her owners) more than once. This was easily achieved, mainly by forcing her temporary guardians to suffer a great deal of pain, such that they would never accept custody again. Whoever the next human was going to be, Tricky saw absolutely no reason why she should alter her approach, unless the food was particularly good (though sadly, humans never seemed to know what she really wanted to eat).
As Gita laid eyes on Tricky, a huge white hairball of a cat, for the first time, her heart melted. The cat looked utterly adorable! She would give it cuddles every day, and take it for walks, and feed it loads, and do all the things that cats loved! This was going to be a wonderful week.
As Tricky laid eyes on Gita, a huge, ugly human, for the first time, her heart turned to ice. The human looked utterly adorable! She would bite it every day, and force it to run, and eat all its food, and do all the things that humans hated! This was going to be a wonderful week.
Gita endeavored, first, to inaugurate Tricky into the house. “This is the mat where you’re going to sleep,” Gita informed the cat, “and this is your food bowl, and that’s the door over there. Oh! There isn’t a cat flap! How will you get outside? Oh, never mind, I’ll think of something later. Perhaps I’ll drill a hole in the door or something. If I can find a drill. Anyway, I think you’re going to like it here very much! Now, I bet you’re hungry. Do you want some food? I’ve been given some special food for you!”
Tricky watched on as the human went off to pick up a big box of dry food, like she was always given at home. Yuck! There was no question about it; she was not going to eat that. Not a single bite. Not when there was human food to be sought out. She duly wandered in the direction of the fridge, and began to mew, mustering all of her powers of complaining.
“No, you’ve gone the wrong way! The food bowl is over here!” Gita poured some of the dry food into the bowl on the ground, but the cat turned its head only for a moment. Perhaps it was confused, thought Gita. A new place, after all, can be daunting, so maybe she should demonstrate a bit more.
Tricky watched with glee as Gita mimicked being a cat, and pretended to eat food from the bowl on the ground. But she did not move; soon enough, surely, the human would give her what she wanted…
Gita wandered downstairs a tad later than usual, having overslept; she had been up longer than usual watching telly the previous night, mainly because the cat had had its claws digging into her for three hours, and she hadn’t dared to move, lest they dug in deeper, or else the cat fell out. However, she was shocked to discover that the carpet downstairs had been torn apart, and the house generally was in quite a state!
Tricky had heard the human coming down, and made herself scarce. It would get cross about the carpet, and Tricky could reveal herself once it had calmed down, in order to maintain a level of friendship with the pitiful creature, mainly so that she would be given more meat; the human had relinquished thus the previous day, so there was no reason to suppose that breakfast couldn’t be similarly delicious.
By the time Gita had eaten some toast, she was feeling a bit better. It occurred to her that she would be late opening the shop, but it mattered not; after all, she had a cat to look after now, which was a perfectly good excuse, if anyone asked. Come to that, this was a good point - where was Tricky the Cat? Perhaps some more of that chicken would entice her to come out.
Tricky came running, once the chicken was safely and securely inside her food bowl (still on top of the ghastly dry food, which had not been cleared out). For as long as this meat kept on coming, she resolved, she would be nice to the human. It was simply a matter of time, of course, before the human changed her mind and refused to give her the good food… That would be no less than a declaration of war.
Gita picked up the cat, once it had finished rapidly eating the chicken, and put it into a basket, to take it to the shop. It would be quite the novelty to show the customers!
Tricky wondered with alarm why she was suddenly in a cage. Was it time to go to the vet? No, it couldn’t be; temporary humans never worried about such things. It was, nevertheless, frightening and intrusive.
“Welcome to Bloomin’ Lovely - now with added cat!” smiled Gita, for the umpteenth time, as a customer came in. The reply of “I’m allergic to cats” was a new one, which she had not anticipated, but it would surely not be too much of a problem. How could anyone not fall in love with Tricky - even if they were allergic?
Upon hearing that this new human was allergic to cats,Tricky could not resist leaping at them, and causing them to enter fits of sneezing, a noise which she found endlessly hilarious. This was a great game! She could have played it all day, if she had not been violently pulled off the innocent human, and forced back into the cage for the rest of the day.
It was time to put her foot down, decided Gita. She had been given clear instructions to feed Tricky only the dry food with which she had been provided, and although her heart had initially been claimed by the cat, it was time to comply with this original instruction. Only the prescribed food would be provided from now on, she decided, with a stern determination, as she poured a fresh quantity of the dry food into the cat bowl.
Tricky looked at the food with disdain, and returned to her original tactic of making noises at the fridge. The human did not budge; instead, it pointed at the bowl of yucky food! Very well, thought Tricky; she had been very well behaved up to now, and hadn’t even ripped up the carpet this morning, but now it was time to pull out all the stops, and ensure that she was never given to this human again.
Gita returned from the shop without the cat this time, not having brought it along, following the unfortunate incidents of the previous day. This did not mean that she was angry with Tricky; how could anyone be angry with something so cute? But there would be no more compromise. The cat would live there on her terms.
Tricky heard the human’s footsteps approaching, and fled upstairs, to hide on the bed there, and probably fall asleep and shed hairs on the pillow, partly to annoy the human, and partly because it was incredibly comfortable. It did not take more than a few seconds for sleep to claim Tricky, once she had sat down on the pillow and shut her eyes; the bliss of a snooze was all she really needed from life anyway.
As Gita entered the house, she saw a scene of utter horror. There was carnage everywhere; food had been sprayed all over the floor, there seemed to be wee and poo all through the house, and it all seemed as though it would take a terribly long time to clear up. This was a problem. Haresh had better not find out, she reasoned.
Tricky did not like being forcibly pushed outside, but could see why, in this case. She had barely started in her efforts to upset and annoy the human; there was a lot more to come. She mused with the possibility of running away and leaving the human with all the stress of a lost charge, but decided against this course of action, on the basis that she would be unable to see the reaction.
Gita awoke early that morning, and left the house shortly after waking in order to place a sign on the shop, explaining that it would be shut that day due to “urgent business”. She proceeded to the local pet shop, to buy a number of essential goods, which would be key to her success in getting this new temporary pet under control. A cat could not stand a chance against Gita Chandra, and if it was not going to play ball, she would simply have to force it to!
It shocked Tricky to see the human leaving the house without even feeding her the disgusting dry food first. This had not been the plan! After all, she did require sustenance! Perhaps the human would return soon… Or perhaps the human had gone to the place of many flowers, not intending to return until much later! This was a pitiful state of affairs. It was good that she had been let inside after her overnight stay on the front porch, but less good that she was about to starve to death.
Gita returned, and poured a large quantity of dry food into the cat bowl. “You’re going to need that,” she warned the cat, who duly ate it all. While the cat was eating, she sneakily attached a collar around its neck, and dragged it out of the house with her. She had a clever plan…
As Tricky finished consuming her food, she became aware of a pressure around her neck. A collar! She had never been so insulted in all her life! She attempted to resist, but it seemed to be of no use; she felt her entire body being pulled from the neck. There seemed to be no hope of escape, pull as she might; she therefore decided to simply go limp and allow the things to happen to her, without any further attempt to flee, until such a time as it became practical.
“Fetch!” cried Gita, throwing a ball across the park, and releasing the dog-collar that was around the neck of the cat. The cat bolted, and appeared to have enough energy to go on running forever; it was quite remarkable how it did not stop moving, even as it had crossed the entire field, and went on, seeming not to notice the huge dogs nearby. Gita gave chase herself, but was unable to catch up, and was soon so out of breath that she needed to sit down on the nearest bench, puffing.
Freedom! Tricky ran and ran and ran. The human had been foolish in letting go of her restraint, and she had no intention of being recaptured and similarly humiliated. Even as she began to feel tired, she continued to pursue some sort of unknown sanctuary, some heavenly place, beyond what she could see before her. There were terrifying monsters nearby, also known as dogs, but they seemed disinterested in her, and she had no time to be afraid of them; there was only running, running away from here. But soon, Tricky could run no more, and found herself being captured once again, unable to do anything besides being picked up and carried, hearing the whispered, patronising words, “alright, Tricky, that’s probably enough exercise for one day”.
Gita was watching the Corrie omnibus, one of her favourite Sunday afternoon activities. It pleased her that the cat was sitting on her lap, purring, and making no particular moves towards any sort of attack or lamentation. She was not ready to give up the cat, not yet! They had hardly started to get to know each other at all! It was all just at a beginning! She liked the warming sensation of the furry animal on top of her, like a miniature radiator, except more huggable.
Tricky supposed that Gita the Human was not so insufferable after all, and that, in the end, she might not even be particularly averse to returning to this place someday. The whole business hadn’t been entirely bad, despite the food being too dry and the exercise being too vigorous. She purred; she could not help herself. The human was a good one - why waste it?
Presently, the inevitable knock on the door came. “Coming!” cried Gita, as she stood - the cat leapt off as she did so- and went to the door. The person in the doorway made the usual pleasantries, and looked around for a cage containing a cat, but instead found one wandering free. He enquired as to whether Gita needed help forcing the cat into the cage, but Gita responded by simply picking up the cat and passing it over, without needing the help of the aforementioned prison.
Tricky sniffed the visitor. Yes, it was indeed her original owner! An acceptable human, if there ever was one - though Gita had passed the tests similarly. It was a pity to be leaving her, in fact - why did change have to happen all the time? Tricky hated change, and hated trying to adjust to it. It was always bothersome, every single time. She mewed her final goodbye to Gita the Human, and then departed from her life forever… Until the next time!
The second series of Bloomin' Lovely will continue next week in The Campaign...