The awkward incident of the cat in the afternoon

The lengths I go to to protect my cat. Honestly. It was so embarrassing I haven’t seen my next door neighbour since.


A few weeks ago my cat, Silver, was having a fight with another cat , a black and white tom, in the middle of the night. I went out in to the garden to see them eye to eye, daggers drawn, screeching, hissing, yowling and growling, sizing each other up.

Silver and I go back 8 years and we’ve grown closer and that night I helped her to chase off the aggressive tomcat.

I raised both my palms above my head, fingers like claws, hissed at him, gnarling my face, baring my teeth. It was a long elongated hiss.

It was more like a HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS and it did the job. The tomcat ran away up a wall, Silver and I eyeballed him till he was several gardens away and we stood there victorious. My cat stood majestic like an Egyptian cat statue, alert in her nocturnal prime; I stood there in my jimjams. Groggy. Not alert. 4 am is not my prime time. The things we do for our cats.


I got a lot of affection from my cat for whole of the next day; I suppose it was her way of saying thank you for helping her win the night fight. She was saying we are a team. We are in the same pride. She rubbed against my legs, gave me head bumps, stared deep and long in to my eyes with affectionate blinks. She even allowed me to pick her up and no longer reject the food I served at her because I hadn’t added treats to it.

A side note: my cat is very demanding. She even needs her cat flap to be opened for her when she is leaving the house, when she is entering the house and when she is undecided and just wants you to stand there like a servant keeping the cat flap open.

Will that be all m’lady? Very good m’lady”.

It’s humbling to know that after all these years my life has amounted to being little more than a cat butler.

The little bitch.


A few days after the incident, one afternoon Silver darted in to the house. She’d seen something in the neighbour’s garden from atop a tree and came in with dilated pupils, fur up and her tail curled round her body. She was clearly scared.

It’s that tomcat again I thought so I rushed in to the garden, looked over the garden fence, put my hands up in the air like claws and let out an almighty hiss, with teeth showing. 

HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Only there was no tom cat. Just a young man, with a golf club in his hand; he’d clearly been doing some putting practice against the fence. This was my new next door neighbour.

I had never met him before.

Sometimes micro-seconds feel like an eternity. It all depends on how uncomfortable the situation is. It was an awkward moment of suspended animation. I stared at him, holding the Thriller pose and then my face returned from a snarl to an apologetic, resting face, my arms returned by my side again.

My facial expression went from a war-like Maori haka to a Frank Spencer woops. I turned from The Mummy to Bambi.

He looked back at me perplexed. Unable to process what I was doing. I had a few options to retrieve the awkward situation. They were as follows:

1. To just go back inside (This would be weirdness level 10/10)

2. Just start a conversation and pretend I had a speech impediment and a tick.

“Hey how’s it going? “
<make a long HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS>.
“Doing anything nice this weekend?”
<raise hands in claw-like manner and make snarly face. Return face and arms to normal>
“Yes lovely day for golf practice.”

3. Admit that I thought he was a tomcat (until I saw him) and explain to him about the cat-fight a few nights before.


First impressions count and it’s going to take some time for our relationship to recover.

I chose option 3 third rather sheepishly although wisely. I haven’t seen my next door neighbour since. It would have been fun though to see how option one might end up (in a padded cell perhaps).


“The awkward incident of the cat in the afternoon” was first published on www.heyloons.com

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