On the whole, Miss Kit has been good about the weather. Dogged, you might say, were she not a cat. However we have now passed the Christina Rossetti Line (’earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone’). Unfortunately, as constant readers are only too aware, there is a lot of Cat Politics about. There are the rough cats, there is Bad Leo. And in terms of inter-cat communication, an un-buried turd has is a meaningful object: it sits there humming ‘come on if you think you’re hard enough’. From time to time Bad Leo leaves one in a conspicuous place, and if I come upon it, I remove it in the hopes of discouraging him, or at least, annoying him. From the point of view of Miss Kit, smallest cat in town and quite pacific by nurture, if not nature, in any case, feeling terribly disadvantaged slipping about on the snow and ice which causes even blackbirds to advance within three feet going HEE HEE HEE (actually that is not what they are doing, they are desperate for food and following my footprints since I disturb the leaf litter, therefore insects, but it is true that they realise she isn’t a threat) — well, to get back to the subject, if you see it from Miss Kit’s point of view you can also see that not being able to dig-in her droppings is a crisis of vast proportions because it constitutes a challenge to the entire local cat community which is the last thing she wants. There have been three attempts at ablutions today, involving quite a lot of healthy exercise on my part. She may use her tray in the end but clearly it is all very difficult. The birds, meanwhile, are finding things even more difficult, as their encroachment on Miss Kit’s personal drama suggests. We have some difficulty in finding a feeding station which we can reach, they can reach, but which doesn’t leave them vulnerable to rough cats, but in the last fortnight we have had a brainwave, and have taken to chucking stuff out of our bedroom window onto the little roof-ette covering the bay window of the sitting room — sunflower seeds or peanut kibble for the vegetarians, and bottom-of-the-range loose-frozen mince for the insect eaters, since it consists almost entirely of lard with the odd shred of beef to add colour: therefore fat and protein. I don’t know what’s in the average grub exactly, but clearly bits of mince are perceived as highly acceptable. There are a lot of birds round here, and goodness knows what there is for them to eat at the moment.
PS. As for us: I came in after half an hour of buggering about at sub zero temperatures with Miss Kit, and made a boiled fruit cake. This is not the kind of thing I usually do. The Professor and Dr Biswell have since eaten quite a lot of it, and that’s not the sort of thing they usually do either. It’s just as well there isn’t any suet in the house (bird mince aside) or I might be tempted to whole fantasias of old-Englishry.