Top

A Christmas Tail Rachel Wells

My kitten George was tangled in tinsel once again. I wasn’t sure how he managed it, but since the Christmas decorations had gone up – promptly on the 1st December, George had been up to no good. My owner Claire liked to enjoy the run up to Christmas fully, whereas her husband, Jonathan said it was far too early, but he was a ‘bah humbug,’ whatever that was. We all knew it wasn’t a compliment though.
However, since having to rescue George from the Christmas tree a number of times, untangle him from tinsel and keep him away from the dancing Santa who he kept trying to attack, I was beginning to feel on Jonathan’s side. It was exhausting and we still had over two weeks to go. I wasn’t sure the decorations, or me for that matter, would survive.

It was George’s first Christmas, so I was trying to be patient. Although I was pretty sure that when I was a kitten I didn’t cause this much havoc. George was so excited, but he wasn’t exactly sure why. A bit like the kids.
‘Thanks for getting the naughty tinsel off me,’ George said.
‘Again.’ I raised my whiskers. ‘Please try to stay away from it. And the tree, and well, everything.’
‘I really will try but I can’t promise anything. What I really want to know though, Dad, is what Christmas is actually for.’
‘Well that is a good question,’ I replied. And one I wasn’t exactly sure how to answer. I had gleaned a lot of information in my life, but still, Christmas was well, it was just Christmas. I had never really thought about what it was actually for. When I was a tiny kitten, Christmas was a quiet affair, just me, my sister cat Agnes and my owner Margaret, she would invite a friend who was also on her own for the actual day, and Agnes and I got plenty of treats. But then when I moved to Edgar Road (after Margaret and Agnes were gone and I was all alone in the world), Christmas was very different. Children were involved, presents piled under Christmas trees, there were parties and lots of noisy fun, although I still got plenty of treats. I looked at George, stalling.
‘Why do you ask?’ My go-to delaying question.
‘Well, there’s a lot of stuff going on and I don’t know exactly understand what it all is.’ When he looked at me with his big, innocent eyes, I felt my heart burst with love. I have loved many people, and cats in my life, but the love I have for my kitten, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I have heard many human parents saying this and now I understood.
‘So, son, what do you think Christmas is for?’ Yes, I was deflecting a bit, but I still needed more time.
‘Well, I have tried to pay attention but everyone seems to think it’s for different things. Summer says it’s for Peppa Pig toys which Santa is going to bring her.’ He looked so serious as I nodded. ‘And Toby, well he says, when we’re alone, that he didn’t much like Christmas before but this one is going to be the best one ever, but he’s nervous too because he doesn’t know what a Christmas really is either.’
I felt a stab of sadness when George said this. Toby had had a rotten time before we adopted him this year at the age of five, and he was the loveliest, sweetest child ever. This was the first year in his life that he’d even had a Christmas tree. A heart-breaking, sobering thought.
‘It will be,’ I promised, resolving that I would do everything in my power to ensure it was.
‘Claire keeps saying it’s a time to be with everyone you love and also to think of those who don’t have as much as we do. She says that it’s our responsibility to help those less fortunate. But I don’t know how to find these unfortunates.’
‘Well, son, there are lots of people and cats who aren’t as lucky as us, but we should just keep our hearts open and if we are needed, be there to help.’ As many parental conversations went, this wasn’t my finest. Sometimes the kittens seemed to be more intuitive than the grown-ups.
‘Oh, and Jonathan says Christmas is for throwing all your money away on one day, which goes past really quickly and, quite frankly, could be better spent elsewhere.’ As George looked at me in confusion, I felt my heart melt yet again.
‘I guess Christmas is all those things,’ I started, trying to ensure my voice was confident. ‘Well, apart from Jonathan’s explanation. It’s the presents that someone called Santa brings, it’s about family, it’s about counting our blessings, and most of all it’s about family and friends.’
‘And pilchards?’
‘Yes, if we are lucky.’ We both licked our whiskers.

George took our chat to heart. As December began to pass us by, George showed affection to everyone, cat, person, lamppost. He even tried to befriend a neighbours dog but, was growled at in return, so decided to take dogs off his Christmas list. It was a shame that he didn’t take tinsel off, because the tangling was still a fairly regular occurrence.
Just before the school holidays, Toby came home from school, and while everyone was busy in the kitchen, he ran up to his bedroom in tears. George rushed up after him before anyone else noticed. I followed him. As Toby lay on the bed sobbing, George curled up next to him, I started fretting. I knew that I needed to do something and fast. I ran downstairs, mewing at the top of my voice until I got Claire, Summer and Jonathan’s attention. It took a while but finally they stopped what they were doing and looked at me.
‘What is it Alfie?’ Claire asked.
‘YOWL,’ I shouted. I then went back upstairs, with them hot on my paws.
‘Toby, what is it?’ Claire said as she joined him on the bed, scooping the sobbing boy into her arms.
‘Meow.’ George took me to one side to explain. It seemed George wasn’t the only one a little confused by Christmas.
‘Come on Tobe, you can tell us anything,’ Jonathan coaxed.
‘And me too,’ Summer finished as she hugged her brother.
‘I don’t know how to do Christmas,’ he finally said, his words hicuppy.
‘What do you mean, darling?’ Claire asked, stroking his hair.
‘I know,’ Summer cut in. She was quite a madam, but one with a lovely heart and an even cuter smile.
‘Go on then,’ Jonathan grinned.
‘You have to be a good girl, or boy, Toby, and you write to Santa and ask for lots of toys, and you then keep being good, at least until after Christmas.’
‘That makes sense,’ George hissed in my ear. I shook my whiskers, it really didn’t.
‘Well, that’s one way of looking at it,’ Jonathan said, diplomatically. ‘But Toby, you are a good boy, one of the very best, so if Summer’s right then you are doing Christmas very well.’
‘But at school the teacher said that Christmas is about the birth of baby Jesus and he was a gift from God, and that’s why we give gifts to people we love,’ Toby explained. I glanced at George. Maybe I should have left the explanation of Christmas to the humans, I hadn’t quite got a handle on it, it seemed.
‘Well yes,’ Claire said. ‘What’s wrong with that?’
‘I don’t know how to buy gifts,’ Toby said finally. I saw Claire and Jonathan exchange glances.
‘I don’t know either,’ Summer suddenly looked panicked.
‘So, if we have to buy gifts for people we love and we don’t know how to buy gifts then how do you know we love you?’ Toby’s logic was, well, almost logical, I thought.
‘Oh Tobe, buying gifts is only one part of Christmas. But, you can always ask me to take you shopping, or Jonathan.’ They looked at each other again, as if it hadn’t occurred to them that the children would want to buy presents for them. ‘But we don’t need you to buy us gifts, honestly, you two are the only gifts we need.’
‘But I want to. I want to give you a gift because I love you so much. And I’ve got pocket money,’ Toby said.
‘Me too.’ Summer was definitely on this bandwagon.
‘How about we all go shopping this weekend,’ Claire said. Jonathan tried not to looked dismayed. He hated shopping.
‘I need to write a list,’ Toby suddenly dried his tears and jumped up.
‘Me too,’ Summer said.
‘Well you can’t write so maybe we could do it together,’ Toby suggested.
‘Yes!’ Summer beamed.
‘This is my first ever Christmas with a family, so I have to make sure it’s right,’ Toby said, seriously pulling out a pad and pencil.
‘Meow,’ George said, meaning ‘me too.’
‘It will be perfect, Toby because you are with us and we’re a family, a wonderful, perfect family,’ Claire said, teary eyed. ‘Me, Jonathan, you, Summer, Alfie and George, the best family ever.’
I felt myself choking up. Even Jonathan blinked a bit, I could tell he was emotional because he was staring at his socks.
They went in for a hug, all of them, with George right in the middle. I looked on feeling so warm and fuzzy; I was so proud of my family, and so, so lucky to have them all.

Later that evening as George and I went out for our last walk, he was quieter than normal.
‘Are you alight son?’ I asked.
‘I’m more than alright, Dad,’ he replied. ‘I know what Christmas is about now, it’s simply about love and nothing else matters.’ I was so, so proud of my boy. ‘Apart from Pilchards of course,’ he finished.

0

A Cat’s guide to Love and Romance, by Alfie the Doorstep Cat

Love makes the world go round. This is true for cats and humans alike. With Valentine’s day upon us yet again, I thought I would help you all by sharing with you my romance and love tips. I have had some experience in this, having wooed and won over the most beautiful cat in the world, so therefore I can vouch for my advice. Quite simply, it works.alfie-the-doorstep-cat
  1. Make your intentions clear. It is important to make the object of your heart aware that you like them. I suggest flirting, subtly but with meaning; no one likes an obvious cat. Oh and if anyone thinks that cats can’t flirt, that’s rubbish, preen your head, blink your eyes, let your tail swish in a sexy way… There are so many ways cats can flirt, but use your assets to your advantage in winning over the one you like.
  2. Ensure you look your best at all times. Especially when you may bump into the object of your affection. Make sure you are clean and well-groomed at all times. Any self-respecting cat does this anyway – humans, well sometimes they don’t always look their best, but this is important. You need to take pride in your appearance, as you should take pride in everything about yourself. I am not saying relationships are based on looks, but the fact that you make an effort with your appearance translates into you making an effort in other walks of life.
  3. Persistence. Sometimes it takes a while to prove your love, or for the recipient of said love to reciprocate. I believe persistence pays off, it did in my case. But beware there is a line between persistence and needing a restraining order. They don’t usually issue them for cats but that could change, so stalk like a cat, not like a psychopath.
  4. Be creative. Romance is creative. Love is creative. It’s about hearts, poetry, soul. Think like a romantic and then act like a romantic. It’s so important that you use all your creativity to win the heart of your loved one, because if you do then you’ll have that heart for keeps. I feel that I have the soul of a poet so it is easy for me, but for those who feel less like a romantic, you can study classic love stories and learn from them. Romeo And Juliet is a good one but I must warn you, it doesn’t end well.
  5. Don’t be arrogant. Some cats think they can pester the cat they like until they give in – and I have heard that humans can do the same. No, in order to truly capture a heart, you have to win them over, be self-depreciating, not arrogant, and woo them. You would rather someone dated you because they liked you rather than were scared of you, after all. Or at least I hope you would.
  6. Think about a grand gesture. I once took my true love some flowers – which isn’t easy for a cat – and I climbed a tree with them, so they would know how much they meant to me. It all went horribly wrong, I got stuck up the tree, dropped the flowers and had to be rescued. But my cat love realised how much I loved them, for me to put myself through that. I would always recommend a grand gesture. Just try not to involve too much danger to yourself or others.
  7. Once you have won their hearts, don’t just give up. Too many cats – and humans – rest on their laurels, thinking that once they have their relationship, job done. But love is like a flower, it needs feeding in order to grow. You must feed your love – pilchards always work for me. So always keep the romance alive.
Follow these simple rules and you are sure to have romance this Valentine’s Day either with a new love or an established one.
And a very Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

Alfie’s New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year to all my fellow cats and your humans. I am predicting that 2016 will be a pretty good year for felines and people alike and I wish you health, happiness, peace and lots of pilchards.

Humans do this thing every year, they call it New Year’s resolutions and as far as I can tell, they are things people say they are going to do so that after a couple of weeks they can absolutely not do them.

alfieThe most common resolutions I hear from my humans is that they are going to eat healthily and exercise more, and then they seem to forget to do just that, back to cake and watching TV every time. It is quite baffling for us cats but that is humans for you. Complex – they don’t altogether make much sense.

So here are my cat resolutions for 2016 and being a reliable cat, I will stick to them. So cat community, if you want to join me then please feel free.

I will enjoy every day that this year offers. I shall appreciate every leaf, butterfly and glimpse of sun that I get. I will not even let dogs dampen my spirits.
I shall appreciate my food, even when it’s not my favourite. Not every cat is as lucky as me and this year I need to remember that.
I shall shower my humans with affection and ensure they feel good about themselves. I do this anyway but I shall increase my efforts to make them happy.
I will have fun with my friends. Tiger, Snowball, Elvis, Nellie, Rocky and even Tom will be part of my daily quest for living life to the max. Whether they like it or not.
I will exercise regularly. No one needs to be a lazy cat. I shall chase butterflies, climb small trees and run around in circles when necessary.
Most of all I shall count my blessings every day. I am a very lucky cat and anyone who has a roof over their head, food in their bellies and love surrounding them is also incredibly lucky so let 2016 be the year that we all remember that.
Welcome to 2016 and everyone have the best year and be the best cat that you can be!

Chapter 4: Sleeping Arrangements

There is much that needs to be covered when it comes to where you sleep or rest round the house but for this section we will concentrate on your main place of slumber. After all, sleep is incredibly important to us cats, we are only as clever as we are because of the amount of rest we get.

alfie-sleepingJust as with food we do not all like to sleep in the same places and our humans need to be made aware of this. I, for example prefer to sleep on either the sofa or in a chair on top of a warm snuggly blanket, or the very least a soft cushion. My friend, Tiger, likes her cat basket which she says makes her feel cosy. So bearing this in mind I am going to give you the following tips.

– If your human buys you a bed you don’t like, refuse to sleep in it. If they put you in it, yelp loudly and jump out as if it’s on fire. They will soon learn!

– If they try to ban you from certain pieces of furniture pretend you don’t understand. Humans don’t understand how clever we cats are, so playing dumb is a very good tactic.

– If you like sleeping on a bed, which to be fair is where humans sleep so if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for some of us, then just sleep there. Some nicer humans will share with you, but if they don’t then just keep doing it. Sleep in the middle of the bed if you really need to hammer the message home. Humans tend to give up much quicker than cats do.

– If this doesn’t give you the results you desire, after all humans aren’t always that quick on the up-take, be persistent and consistent. Find your sleeping goal and refuse to sleep anywhere else.
Good luck, fellow cats and enjoy your rest on your place of sleep fit for a cat!

Chapter 1: About the Author

Alfie is five cat years old. He currently lives in Edgar Road, London, and has lived their for the last three years. He is a doorstep cat, meaning he has more than one family and more than one home. He visits various houses and has families in each. This makes him qualified to advise other cats on humans, having a wider experience than many cats have with them. He loves his humans but also understands better than most how important training them can be.

Alfie the doorstep catOne of his mottos is “an untrained human is like a dog without a lead.” And no cat wants that. Alfie has starred in two books, ALFIE THE DOORSTEP CAT and the new book A CAT CALLED ALFIE. He likes to think he is the Harry Potter of the cat world, only without the magic and Quidditch.

He decided to write A CAT’S GUIDE TO TRAINING YOUR HUMAN to share his knowledge of humans with his fellow cats. Alfie likes pilchards, butterflies, leaves and sunshine. He dislikes dogs, cat ready meals (especially tins) and water, including rain.He hopes you enjoy his guide to training your human and looks forward to any feedback the cat community would like to give him.

Chapter 2: An Introduction to Training

An Introduction to Training

Hello, my name is Alfie and I would like to welcome you to my new blog.

Follow me over the next few weeks and you will learn how to train your humans to be the best humans every cat needs and deserves. Use my friendly and gentle training methods and I will teach you how to ensure that your humans act in a cat-appropriate way.

We love our humans but they can be tricky. But here are a few simple rules:

– Treat them with kindness and respect at all times. Even if they are being difficult and not playing ball (literally at times).

– Kindness goes a long way with humans.

– Being loving toward your human means you will reap the benefits in the long run.

– Never get angry with them, it may be hard at times but anger makes things worse.

– Adopt patience with humans.

– Humans are flawed, after all they can’t be cats.

alfie-the-doorstep-cat-The key to training your human is to recognise that they think they are in charge. Humans seem to assume that we are their pets but us cats know better. We know who’s the boss and keeping that in mind will not only make it easier to get your human to behave the way you want them to but it will also ensure that within your household, your humans, and their pets, (i.e. dogs and children) will all bow to your superior knowledge and intelligence.

In a nutshell, my fellow cats, stick with me, follow my simple training methods and you will have your humans eating out of your paws in no time.

Chapter 3: Food

12233138_10153582627290795_1002708252_nWe all know how important food is to everyone, not just cats. You would think that humans understood the need for delicious nutrition for us cats but alas sometimes, yet again you need to spell it out.

Us cats are not all the same, we know that but, humans don’t always realise. We all like to eat different things. My favourite food is pilchards but my friend, Tiger loves the cat food that comes out of a pouch – I always say there is no accounting for taste. But the point is that we deserve to eat what we enjoy, but we just have to let humans this.

First, it’s important to establish two things:
1. Letting humans know when you are hungry.
2. Letting them know what you want to eat.

When you are hungry, there are a few actions to take:

1. Miaow loudly and urgently, especially if you are ready for breakfast and your humans are still sleeping.
2. Go to where your bowl is, or scratch at the cupboard where the food is kept. (I have been known to actually get into my food cupboard, but the problem is that I got stuck so be careful.)
3. Repeat above steps as necessary.

To let them know what food you like/dislike:

1. Eat eagerly if you like food, lick your lips and purr appreciatively once you have finished dining. Praise your human by making a fuss of them. Humans love praise and if you rub against their legs, purr, and snuggle into them, they know they have done something right.
2. Leave food if you dislike it. If you are very hungry eat a bit but make it clear you dislike it by miaowing loudly and leaving the bulk of it in your bowl. Refuse affection. It might sound harsh but, if you don’t stand firm on your paws then you might never get food you like.
3. If necessary jump on the table when they are eating, to show you would like food a bit more like theirs. If you really need to make a point lick their food – it might make your human angry at first but they will soon get the message.

As I’ve said before the key, in all areas of human training, is to keep things as simple and consistent as possible. Enjoy your purr-fect food after following my simple rules.

Author of Alfie The Door Step Cat