Thursday, 14 July 2011
Ramblings: The Kitler
One of my earliest memories is the arrival of Whiskey, the cat. It was 1974 and I was three years old. Me and my brother, Steven, were watching television in the lounge when the door swung open to reveal the imposing figure of my father (he was short but I was shorter, aged three) returning from his allotment. He and my mum had a large allotment and grew all their own produce, a complete nightmare for a vegetable hating child. He had a twinkle in his eye behind his heavy 70's glasses and he pulled back the oversized lapel of his sheepskin coat. A tiny head appeared from his pocket. It was a black and white face with a flicked hairstyle and a Hitler moustache. It was my first sight of Whiskey, the original cat who looked like Hitler. A beautiful friendship began.
Whiskey was drafted in to deal with a mouse problem and luckily, unlike Hitler, he didn't only kill Jewish, disabled or gay mice. He was indiscriminate. He just liked, to kill, maim or injure. Our boxer dog, Benny, would have testified to that. He was ruled with a rod of iron.
Whiskey was a very grumpy cat right from kittenhood. He didn't like people at all, except for me. The nicer people were to Whiskey the more disgruntled he was. He hated to be stroked, wouldn't be picked up and would never sit on anyone's lap. Oddly he formed a bond with an impish three year old who liked to pick him up by the feet, throw him over his shoulder and cart him around the house. Whiskey was often to be seen draped around my neck like a stole, looking slightly peeved at the indignity of it all but tolerating it nonetheless. Things got worse for him.
One of my favourite games of the 1970s was "single mum". My teddy, Snowdrop, had her own family allowance book for her son, Timothy and was a member of the Gingerbread Club for one parent families. Whiskey became my bastard love child. I was the single mum. I improvised a push chair out of a children's wheelbarrow and he'd patiently sit still with his rattle as I pushed him round to the post office to claim his benefits.
As I got older I developed an enquiring mind and decided to conduct experiments on the cat. Nothing too sinister, I just wanted to test the theory that a cat always lands on his feet. I constructed a set up whereby I'd sneak up on Whiskey, grab him by his feet and drop him from a variety of heights, back first, onto a settee cushion. I recorded the measurements on a chart. He didn't seem to like this and I had to leave a gap of a few days between each attempt. He could move fast at times. I was often to be found sporting bandages to my hands and arms. I loved a bandage.
Another favourite game of ours was "Mousetrap". I loved the game, especially the bit at the end where the little cage fell on the mice. I nominated Whiskey as chief mouse and attached a piece of string to a laundry basket and the pursuit would begin. He always forgave me.
He vented his spleen on Benny. Being a boxer dog, Benny had the standard issue protruding scrotal sack which bounced along as he walked. This was a very tempting target for a Nazi cat. Whiskey would hide in the shrubbery and pounce on the offending ball bag, often drawing blood and always occasioning a loud yelp and a rapid scuttle away. Benny was, quite rightly, in awe of the power of the furry Fuhrer. When Whiskey was feeling a little more kind he would wash Benny's ears. With one paw on his snout, he'd hold down the poor dog and lick his ears clean. If he was feeling especially kind he'd lick the dog's testicles for him too. Benny didn't seem to mind.
Come bed time Whiskey would follow me up to bed and lie on my bed. He'd brace his back against the wall and try as hard as he could to push me out of the way. The bed was rightfully his. Given that there were a lot of synthetic fibres about at this time, I often slipped towards the edge of the bed.
During the late 70's Whiskey was hit by a Mini Cooper outside our house. There was an almighty shriek and a screech. Me and my Dad ran out to see tufts of fur floating in the air and an ashen faced driver looking shocked. There was no cat to be seen. He'd run for it. One week later he still hadn't returned.
"I think he's dead, son." My Dad said, with his usual tact. I was devastated. Another week passed and I still wasn't getting used to the cat shaped gap on my bed.
A few days later there was a scratching at the door and standing on three good legs and one twisted one, was Whiskey. We carted him off to the vets. He'd broken one of his back legs and it had reset itself. Whiskey was alive and kicking and not deterred by a twisted leg. To be honest, what better accessory for a sinister embittered cat than a mysterious limp?
Whiskey lived till he was about 16. He finally succumbed to renal failure and developed a series of nasty boils all over his face and neck. He was covered in pustules. We bundled him up into a blanket, like a mummified skittle and wrestled him into Fifi, my Mum's Fiat 500. His claws of power were restrained and just his head poked out of the top of the blanket. He let out a loud keening "Seig Meow" which almost deafened us and he kept this up all the way to the vets. As we stopped at some traffic lights Whiskey exploded. My Mum turned to me with a look of horror. There was pussy cat pus covering her face and her spectacles. I swear he had a look of satisfaction on his face. If a cat could have laughed he would have done. We sold the car not long after that, after a dousing with Zoflora. The smell was permanent but could be masked for an unsuspecting buyer.
As a testament to Whiskey, I posted a picture of him on http://www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com/. He very quickly rose to number 3 in the Kitler parade. The Kitler community is very competitive though and he soon dropped out of the top ten and inferior Hitler look-alikes took his place in the charts due to tactical voting. He's currently hovering at number 56, which smacks of injustice to me. The cads. Some of those cats are more like Stalin, Tom Selleck or the leather clad one from the Village People. I'm sure he was the most Hitler like cat that ever lived. If he had had thumbs he would have been busily making lampshades out of Semitic mice. Long live Whiskey the original and best cat that looked like Hitler.