Bilberry the Cat

Thoughts on life with my human mum by Bilberry the cat by Judith Kelman

Lately, mornings have begun with a bang!
The man of the house broke his leg a few weeks ago, and every morning he throws his crutch down the stairs and frightens everyone to death…..
Normally it’s me who wakes our mum.
I can tell she doesn’t appreciate my gentle approach to getting up as she squirts water at me!
Wouldn’t you think she would like to be woken up with little meows as I prance over her body towards the window to let her know it’s time to get up and let me out?
I even pat the curtains to make the wind-chimes jingle. I think they sound pretty.
That’s when I get an ear full of water…..
It’s hardly fair. I have been very good all night, even when my brother Bramble tried to wake me up for a wash in the early hours. I soon put him right!
Mum likes us to be quiet at night, and, to be fair, we don’t like it either if mum wakes us for a midnight cuddle when we are TRYING TO SLEEP.

So, I retreat to dry myself off and look to see if any cat biscuits have got stuck under the tray. It’s not my fault if the dish is on top of them and I have to make a noise in order to get at them, so why do I get another squirt of water? It isn’t fair.
I go and have a sniff at the litter tray, but find Bramble has already used it. I can hang on.
Like a good cat I go back to bed and look innocent.
Out of the corner of my eye I see Bramble, who has the privilege of sleeping closer to mum than me, watching me closely and looking as if butter wouldn’t melt….
I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep.

Suddenly, Bramble takes it into his head to attack me! There’s me, doing my best to be a good cat, and Bramble goes and messes everything up!
I scream, mum sends another squirt of water in our direction, and we both leap off the bed. I try the window again, but that has the same result, so I try a different approach.
Being careful to look all coy and sweet, I sidle up to the side of the bed and meow prettily, rubbing my head on mum’s hand and purring like an engine. She loves that.
It works because mum gets out of bed and the day can begin.

It does take a while though, for mum to get going, so, while she is sitting on the edge of the bed thinking about standing up, Bramble and I sit side by side in front of out dishes, waiting for cat biscuits. Sometimes we fight, but that’s not really a good idea as mum might shout at us and forget the biscuits, so I tell Bramble to be patient.

While we are eating our biscuits my ears catch the sound of the dreaded collars!
Mum won’t let us out without them you see.
I lost my collar somewhere. It was probably when next door’s cat decided to pick a fight. He hurt me. I even got a nasty abscess on top of my head. I don’t like fights.
But, to be honest, I’m glad I lost the collar. It’s got 3 bells on it! How can I be expected to catch anything with that racket going on? And it is very annoying to have those bells constantly jingling every time I move. I can’t do anything on the quiet.
Yesterday I managed to catch a blue-tit. I took it in to show mum, as I was so pleased I wanted to share it. But she wasn’t pleased at all. In fact she gave me a tap on the nose and growled at me! Can you believe that?
While I watched in amazement, she held the blue-tit in her hand and stroked it, then she wrapped it in a hankie and put it in the compost bin. Worst of all, she put the lid on, so I had no chance of getting it back. I try so hard to please my mum.

I must confess I don’t understand my brother Bramble anymore. We used to always cuddle and wash each other, and our fights were only play-fights. Lately he has been getting rough with me, and I’m only little. He’s quite big, and a bit of a bully.
Also he has been spending a lot of time next door with the new cat if he isn’t off out in the field looking for mice and rabbits. He should be looking after me.
The dog next door is very scary, and I feel it’s my duty to protect the family from him. I have risked my life to stop him from attacking them, and Bramble should be here helping me do that.
Mum gets cross when I try to get that dog, because I keep cutting my feet on the fence, and then I go indoors, hoping mum will be kind to me. Once I ran all over the house, upstairs and down stairs, looking for her, but she wasn’t there! I cried and cried.

Then someone came home and started screaming, which made me run about some more because it was frightening. The people who came home caught me and shut me in mum’s room. I hid under the sofa. They said I was spreading blood absolutely everywhere! It looks like someone has been murdered, they shouted. It wasn’t my fault!
I came out from under the sofa, noticed my foot was bleeding and I shook it and tried to lick it a bit. It was hurting badly, so I shook it some more.

Thankfully my mum came home then and I tried to tell her my foot hurt. I know she worries about me when I cut my feet because she gets bowls of water and bandages out and rings the Vet, and things like that.
Then she makes me wear baby socks. I mean, baby socks! The indignity of it.
Of course, it’s my duty to pull off the socks as many times as I can and rip open my wounds in order to spread a bit more blood about because Mum enjoys scrubbing carpets and washing chair covers so much. She said she’s amazed I have any blood left.

My brother likes to go across the field, especially in the summer. I don’t follow him though as you never know what might be out there.
I do like to catch mice and birds though, as you might have guessed.
I remember when we first came here to live, Bramble and I used to spend all day catching everything that moved. I don’t think there is anything much left to catch in the garden now as we’ve killed them all.
Anyway, mum doesn’t seem to appreciate all the presents we bring her so I now spend most of the day asleep instead. Let Bramble do the hard work, I say. Staying at home means I get more chances to talk to mum, and if I’m good she gives me lots of cuddles too.
She tells me I’m lucky to have her as my mum and I think she’s right.