Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lovable Clutz

Before I got Bruce I thought that all cats were graceful, elegant, made things look effortless.
Bruce was anything but. In fact, bless him, he was positively graceless!

To look at him, you would've thought otherwise: he was slim, streamlined - with a tiny angular face - and had incredibly long legs. His back legs were particularly long... but also bandy; he always looked awkward when standing.

The first time I became aware he was clumsy was when he fell asleep on top of a radiator cover, with one back leg hanging down slightly. Slowly but surely, that leg hung down more, followed by his other back leg, then his bum, then the rest of him; with an inelegant 'flump'.
He didn't learn from this and did it on many other occasions.

Above this radiator cover was a big window. Bruce would spend hours trying to catch individual raindrops, and flying insects, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they were on the other side of the glass.
One time, he saw a bee at the window and ran at it, headfirst, bouncing off and wondering where it had gone!

One of his favourite tricks was to run, vertically, up the lounge door (about seven feet off the floor), get to the top - which was barely wide enough to contain all his paws - then miaow, with distress, to get down. However, if you went to help him he'd paw your hand away (never with his claws out, just gently). He'd stay on top of the door for up to 20 minutes, looking confused and wobbling, then leap, with uncertainty, onto the sofa.

He made quite a habit of getting stuck on high things. The first time he went into my parents' garden, when I had to move home, he jumped onto the fence... then fell straight over into next door's garden.
My parents have a big wooden arbour, also in the garden: he'd regularly run straight up it, get to the top, and miaow for ages to be let down, lost in the plants up there:

Between my bedroom wall and next door's fence is a little alleyway, full of brambles and odds and sods. Somehow, Bruce got stuck on the fence down that alleyway, right outside my window. I could hear his little 'let me down please' miaow. I opened the window outwards to help him, and the idiot stood on top of it! If I kept it open he'd be stuck on it, if I pulled it down he'd slide off into the brambles.

In the end I had to grab him near his back legs and haul him backwards, upside down, then under the window, just to get him into my room.
He miaowed, licked his front paw, then wandered off!

Not only could he not balance on high things, he was rubbish at jumping onto things and judging distances. Many a time he would jump up towards something and fall back down again! I used to feed him in my bathroom (as it was nearest the window where he came in).
I spooned his food into his bowl, in the sink so that he couldn't get to it before I was finished.
He would jump onto the toilet lid to see what was going on. He would then try to make the leap between the toilet and the sink. Not once did he manage it!

On one occasion he made the leap, missed the sink and fell into my bin: the silly sod!

To get into the house he'd have to jump through a window, but it was too high up for him to get to in one go. Instead, I set up a couple of steps for him to reach it: an upturned plant pot, then an old wheelie bin. The window opened out at about a 45 degree angle, pointing downwards. It had to be open to its furthest extent. I found this out when I was in my bathroom, heard him jump, heard a 'bonk', followed by a frustrated miaow. The plonker had jumped up, misjudged the angle of the window, hit the underside, and bounced back down to the floor. He was uninjured - only wounded pride - and he made it at the second attempt.

Finally, a nod to the first time he was ever let outdoors. Sal and I (at my old flat), worriedly let him out, and watched as he nosed around the garden; fascinated by everything. We stayed in the garden to reassure him, so he knew where we were and where to come back to.
We had some friends round for a Sunday lunch and drinks. After Bruce had been out four hours we were a bit concerned. When that became five hours we were really worried: it had now started raining too. The four of us had to go out, calling Bruce in the surrounding roads, with my friend Chris and I jangling a fluffy pink cat toy: how manly we looked...
We looked under cars, in gardens, I think we knocked on a few doors. After a couple of hours we heard a faint miaow, in the alleyway directly behind our garden.
Across that alleyway (so all of one yard from our garden) was another garden. We peered over into it. The owners of the attached house, saw us doing this from their kitchen. The husband came out and asked if we were okay, and we explained that we'd lost our cat.
We all heard the miaow again. He looked around until he heard another miaow, then headed to the fence next to which we stood.

'Is your cat black and white?' he asked.

'Yes' I replied.
'...he's here, sheltering under a bush'

With that he bent down, picked Bruce up and handed him, awakwardly, to us. Before we could grab him properly, he panicked, jumped over Chris' shoulder, up and over the fence to our garden... and into Sal's arms, as she was waiting there for him.
The daft creature had been stuck all of a yard away from his home, without realising it!

He was such a lovable idiot :)

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