Thursday, 20 June 2013

Ferdie the Fearless

Ferdie the Fearless lives in the cottage opposite ours. He's small, speckled, affectionate, blind in one eye, and very inquisitive! We first met him on a cold Winter afternoon, when leaves prickled with frost and the chill of the air cut each breath like a sharp knife, and he clearly thought that joining us in a warm house was a better option than exploring a frozen garden.

He's a Bengal x British Short Hair, one of two hand-reared brothers belonging to our neighbour - the other being more of a home-lover, curling up on the rug before a cosy fire. But not Ferdie, he's a curious cat. He wants to be in the middle of whatever is happening, and he loves people! If he hears voices, or if a vehicle stops outside the houses, he comes running, his loud MIAOW! is heard long before he is seen. Many is the time the doorbell rings, and opening the door we find a visitor plus Ferdie on the step. "Is this your cat?" they ask. "No" we reply, "but he would be if we'd let him!"

On the coldest days of the year our frog pond froze, so Ferdie became accustomed to walking across its glassy surface. After the thaw it changed from clear water to green as the floating pond weed grew back, making the surface look solid again. Approaching Election Day, on a sunny warm afternoon when I was stood in the garden chatting to one of the candidates, Ferdie appeared as usual. After climbing up my jeans for a cuddle - he loves being held - and having made friends with the candidate ("Even if cats can't vote for me!") he had spotted a frog so demanded to be put down again. Off across the garden he raced, and then pounced, only to find that the apparently firm green surface was really liquid. With a big splash, and a look of shock that would have done credit to any cartoon cat, he scrambled hastily out of the pond, sopping wet and covered in tiny green dots of weed. Glaring at us, daring us to laugh at his predicament, he hid under a garden chair feeling very sorry for himself before slinking off home to his bemused owner and an early bath.

Now that Summer has arrived and we like to keep the downstairs windows partly open - enough to let in the fresh air but not enough for a cat to squeeze through! Today with the arrival of the decorators Ferdie thought he had outwitted us. There were two painters up ladders painting the soffit boards, and as the upstairs windows were open Ferdie saw his chance - up the ladder he went after a painter, then realised he could not get past the decorator to get to the windows. What to do next? Turn round and come back down again, of course, which is not quite so easy, but he managed it until about five feet from the ground when we gave him a helping hand!

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