MasterB is under the weather. He went out a happy healthy boy last night, and came in a quiet limping ginger.
All he wanted to do was to get to bed, and being examined by me wasn’t on his wish list. I let him sleep, having seen no obvious injuries. He moved about in the night; sofa, his bed, sofa, his bed again. He seemed happy enough this morning, lying on his back, but not hungry. I had a telephone consultation with a vet nurse. Actually I had already had a telephone consultation with another vet nurse last night. Somewhat reassured I set off for work, a niggling worry in my mind that he had been hit by a car.
In the garden I discovered the cause of his injury: a fight. His collar lay among a pile of fur, mostly grey I was pleased to note, only a little bit of ginger fluff in there.
I put the collar in my bag, left the fur where it was, headed for the bus, and another telephone consultation with the second vet nurse.
The thing is, and I may have mentioned this before, MasterB is not a natural fighter. Cat loved a scrap. Intimidating other cats out of the garden, and getting his teeth and claws stuck in to any foolish enough to challenge him, was a daily pleasure. For most of his life, a day without a fight was a day wasted.
Not so MasterB.
He has tended to be friendly to other cats, and upset and surprised when his amicable overtures have met with hisses and unsheathed claws. About a year ago, it seemed to occur to him that he ought to learn to fight. He wasn’t very good at it.
I suspected he had been watching reruns of Braveheart on the television. Historians roll their eyes at the historical inaccuracies and downright fantasist storyline in that film. Most of us also now understand that Mel Gibson is not a man to emulate. However, MasterB seemed to like the battle cry and think it was a good idea. He tried it out a few times in my presence. Whereas Cat would have glared at any intruder and intimidated them into that slow motion pavane cats adopt when trying to make themselves invisible, MasterB skipped the preliminaries and went for the full throated yell. Startled, the intruder cats would flee. MasterB, pleased with these results, would bound after them, perhaps hissing feline obscenities I could not hear under his breath. That’s when it all went pear shaped. The foe, now able to gather his wits and reassess the enemy, would stop, look at MasterB and recognise him as the Beta male of the neighbourhood. The tables would turn, and I would intervene to save him from hurt.
“Gibson has script writers,” I told him. ” He’s not really an action hero. Life isn’t like the movies.”
I don’t know who he is taking lessons from now, but his desire to defend his territory remains. He has come home with the odd scratch; the other week I found I was removing tufts of hair attached to healed scabs. It was almost like the old days with Cat.
But last night’s fight has upset him, he has eaten little and although I have established the site of his wound, he doesn’t want me bathing it. Being MasterB, he has been quite polite about it. Cat would hiss at me when I investigated his wounds, well the ones that hurt, the ones that turned into abscesses or required stitches. MasterB has just pushed away from me, hung his head and let me know that this is torture.
But as he has moved from sofa to his bed, I have learned the feline for ouch, that little noise he makes each time he puts his foot to the ground.
Tomorrow, he is going to see the vet.