Cat under a hot tin roof…


The day before the one in question, we had become aware of another presence insinuating itself into the tranquil peace of our home. This is a rare period of the year when there are very few birds in the garden and so individual bird calls are more easily distinguishable. As I lay in bed in the early morning, hovering between sleep and waking, I found myself intently listening to the insistent song of a lone bird which was chameleon like in its similarity to a small cat crying. How varied and wonderful is nature, I reflected, as I slowly raised myself to start another day. The bird song, which continued, relentlessly, through the morning was beginning to lose its charm to the point when I knew who would kill cock robin. Looking up, I scoured the branches of the trees in the garden for the feathered pussy-tit, but to no avail. It was only as I looked down that I noticed a tiny creature looking up at me, perfectly imitating the bird song to which I had previously been listening.

Our married life has been filled with cats, all of them now dead. There must be an ethereal Boot Hill filled with cats who came and died at the Stowells. I am not good at being sad and each of these deaths caused me a great deal of  that emotion, to the point where I don’t want any more so I shouted at the tiny creature and shooed it out of the garden before it could take my heart. Jenny was already leading a clandestine Fifth Column in support of the kitten, ably supported by Nancy, but I stood firm and sung Kumbaya, even though my principal opinion of that anthem is that it sounds like a crap scrabble hand.

The last kitten free day dawned and I steeled myself to stand firm against the waves of cajolement and bribery. We had now noted that the kitten was outside the front of the house and closer inspection revealed that it was sheltering beneath our car, in which I was about to drive away on various commissions. Jenny came out of the house with me to ensure that the kitten was clear of danger before I set off but, although there was plenty of aural evidence to establish the presence of a kitten, there were no visual indications to confirm this. I lay prone on the road, moving in an organised fashion to examine each quarter of the terrain beneath the car to be sure that the little heart breaker was not  trying to end my marriage by purposely lying under a wheel. The all clear was sounded and I started the car but, even  over the engine noise, a cat’s crying could clearly be heard. A full cavity search of the interior of the car was undertaken and revealed nothing. I had a feeling that this kitten’s ancestors might well have been the most ingenious of “priest hole” designers who drove the searchers to such extreme ends of frustration that burning the whole house down was their only recourse. I duly started to stuff petrol soaked rags into the petrol tank but realised that I had things to do and places to go. I jumped to the stirrup, and Joris and he….I should have called him or her Joris, come to the think of it. Once in the saddle I restarted the car and yes, you’re right, the fucking miaouing was still going strong and seemingly very close to me and I wished that I didn’t care. I can never find the bonnet/hood  release because the name makes me think of Little Red Riding Hood/Bonnet and I forget what I’m doing. Once found, the release was released to reveal a tiny cat sitting on the air filter. Molly is now resident in our outhouse, where she lives in the lap of luxury. I think I shall get on very well with this cat as he/she ( we’re still not sure) looks as though it will be happy to live outside which is a sign of a very independent cat which I already love.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, Digital photography, Emotion, family, Humour, Photography, photography course, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Cat under a hot tin roof…

  1. Mad Dog says:

    The cat’s strategy has obviously worked pur-fectly 😉

  2. sabine says:

    I like that kitten, she´s sticking to her goals. Oh, and I think she´s a female, btw 🙂

  3. You can not out smart a cat. A dog yes, but never a cat. I grew up with dogs, but have learnt the hard way about cats since we rescued our beloved Miles form Battersea Cats and Dogs home. My husband recently bought cat nav for Miles because so many awful things have happened to us this year we couldn’t cope with loosing him too. The only problem is we have never been able to get Miles to wear a collar so I was very dubious about the whole cat tracking device anyway. Miles lulled us into a false sense of security for a couple of days then went further than the 100 mile tracking range and disposed of his new cat collar. This is a real feet for him as he is very much a house cat. I now have a very smug cat and a very angry husband. Somehow I have managed not to say ‘I told you so.’ I have countless stories like this one. I knew where your story was heading as soon as I started reading it.

  4. I know from experience that cats and kittens can be very good at picking out their new family. When I got my first cat at a humane society I was looking for a kitten but Britne poked her paw out and tapped me on the shoulder. And that was that! It is hard because they don’t live as long but they are so hard to resist!

  5. Roger, you could have written. “A kitten came and demanded to be kept. We kept it.” and it would have told the same story. Not as charmingly as your story was, but nevertheless the same outcome. And may I say that I am happy that you did keep it, she is a delightful looking moggie.

    A technical question: did you drag Molly into a patch of light in the shed, or did you brighten the white part of her coat with Photoshop? I ask because you have struck a wonderful contrast between her eyes and white coat (I have made her sound like a scientist). Lovely photo.


  6. Best story I’ve read all week. And I read, like, four kitten stories a day.

  7. Sounds like a girl to me 😉 lucky Molly!

  8. Amanda says:

    Aww too cute. WE don’t choose cats. They choose us then control us. We just think we “have” a cat. Really the cat has us.

  9. jmcheney says:

    She looks like our dear old To-Be (To be or not To-Be our) Cat who sat on the window sills peering in & crying loudly till we finally opened the door. And there was Matilda who came from the Public parking lot 6 blks away somewhere up under a fender (apparently). When I stopped the car in front of our house to unload groceries, she began to cry at the top of her little lung s & had to be pulled out. And there is Little My who stuck her tiny head into our son’s VW’s oil pan. Talk about on your back under the car. He was for 45 minutes getting her freed. She’s our still extant Tortoiseshell. (a bit brain-pan damaged). To-Be & Matilda are on The Hill with many many others. We do remember them everyone and the love, antics, tears & heart tears. I look forward to many more Molly portraits & reports.

  10. margaret21 says:

    Lovely cat. Lovely story.

  11. Misky says:

    There’s apparently a rat in our neighbourhood. May I borrow your cat on the stipulation that I can return it when we’re rat-less. Dogs are hopeless with vermin.


  12. We just got a cat. I like the little fucker… 🙂

  13. Michelle says:

    I reckon she’ll be a house cat soon. Given her modeling talent, that outhouse will soon be history.

  14. EllaDee says:

    Beautiful page 3 shot of Molly, so she can only be female… It doesn’t matter if you are willing or not, cats know better and via divine directions from the denizens of ethereal Boot Hill it determines you are the ones, and bestows on you many years of opportunity for kitty devotion.

  15. fransiweinstein says:

    Glad you relented. I wonder what your wife would have done if you hadn’t. You might have found yourself banished to the outhouse and the kitty enjoying your side of the bed 🙂

  16. Ah … you old softie! And look what a beautiful model you now have…bonus 🙂

  17. Unbelievable!!

    We have so many stray cats in Tokyo and you can easily come across one. So whenever I travel to a foreign land I expect the same and try to locate local stray (or otherwise) cats because I just love watching them and taking pictures of them but they’re just not there in many countries. Climate maybe but I don’t know why.

  18. Tell me about it: our little terror, Gatsby “Le Magnifique”, was not magnificent at all when he adopted us. He was living in the dustbins at the local supermarket, dumped there most probably because he is black. Contrary to British superstitions, black cats are said to bring bad luck in France and many people either kill them or literally throw them out.Molly is very fortunate to have found you!

  19. Cats are and will be smarter than us to the end of time….and they can’t even use a computer…so there you go. Makes me wonder! I adore our feline friends and your photo is just fantastic.

  20. Karen says:

    I always love a “they lived happily ever after” story and this is a sweet one. 🙂

  21. Best cat photo/story of the day. I’ve resigned myself to hate cat stories and photos on social media but I just can’t pass them without a glance. I found myself shouting, ” Look under the hood.” Thanks for looking.

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