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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

“One day I was counting the cats and I absent-mindedly counted myself.”

I want to talk about a sentient being with which we share this planet of ours.

My position, based on many years of experience, is clear. Our cat Ginja the Ninja is as sentient, even more so, than most of the neighbours in our street.

Ginja, or Billy Bongo, or Gingi Pops, has been part of the Coidan household for at least 8 years. A stray cat who decided to call on us and stayed.

I can honestly say I have spent more time talking to him, stroking and dodging his well aimed swipes than I have with anyone else other than the missus. I have learnt to read his every expression, his moods, even appreciate his ambitions - to biff really hard that big black cat from across the road.

Billy Bongo is a big, ginger tom with eyes that you melt into. There he is on the kitchen window ledge, wanting to come in but...maybe the timing's not quite right. He stares into my eyes - I say I understand as he sniffs my hand and rubs against the wall. He raises his paw and pats my hand, I stroke his head and rub his back. He jumps down and in the kitchen waits for me to stroke him again, and then he moves off to eat his biscuits.

It's "Pointless" on the telly. Billy Bongo taps on the window to be let in. You open the back door and he segways in. He raises his head for a stroke and heads off to the front room where the missus is waiting with an accommodating lap and many words of love and comfort. He stares into her eyes, stretches out a paw and purrs himself to sleep. Two more contented beings in this universe you could not find.

It is half eleven, time for bed. This is the beginning of the bed ritual. Sometimes he's waiting on the window ledge, more often than not he's nowhere to be seen. The thought that we might pass a night without this lump of golden fur sleeping slap bang in the middle of our bed fills us with panic. Glass is tapped, door handles moved up and down,"Ginji Pops" echos through the night.

In the bathroom his glass of water is prepared. Filled to the top, he can't be expected to stick his head in the glass, the glass is placed in the middle of the bath. In the bedroom, his blanket, especially chosen, is laid out on the bed.

He scratches on the window and is let in. Having had a late supper of dried food  he runs upstairs into the bathroom to have his late nightcap of water. He may join me as I brush my teeth but otherwise he's focused fully on his glass of water.  Having had his fill he trundles along the landing to the bedroom and jumps on the bed. If I happen to be there before him we exchange greetings, he rubs up against my hand or iPhone and I stroke him and rub his head - he loves that. We might even have a goodnight kiss, but usually he too intent on bedding down to let any familiarities get in the way.

At 5 am his bladder is full and he pats the missus on the face. She gets up, goes down stairs, watches him have an early morning snack and lets him out. There is much talking between the two of them in the early hours.

On many occasions during the day he will engage with us. The latest cat on the block, his liking for cat nip, and the success or otherwise of the cat food manufacturer's latest creation.

All this congress is achieved by an animal on all fours, without an opposible thumb, whose vocal utterances are limited and who seems to enjoy licking his bum.

Many people have these furry persons as companions for more years than they are married. As you sit reading, writing or just dreaming this delightful creature sits, sleeps, stares lovingly into your eyes and you thank God for creatures great and small and for this miricle of companionship who ancestors a few thousamd years ago happened upon us.


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