Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fiona Hunter-Boyd : "The Cat-Walk"

" The Cat Walk"

I have an adorable 14 year old cat who's name is Yang
Yang is a very special cat because he goes out for walks
on a collar and lead (how many cats do you know who can
do this?).
I decided to record one of our typical walks to our local garden.
The garden is situated across the Terrace from our home.

23rd. October,06

( I used a dictaphone to record the details of our walk from start to finish)

"Yang would you like to go to the garden for a walk?" Yang looks up at me and seems interested.
How do I know this? Perhaps, it is the way he looks at me and moves his eyes in the direction of the collar and lead. Hmmm....I think to myself, he seems all fit and frisky...I glance down at Yang again to see if I can see a sign of his approval. As I bend down to fix on Yang's collar and lead he dashes in the direction of the sofa and just in the nick of time I have my hands around his body.
"Come on Yang! don't be a silly boy!" Yang glances at me and lets out a very positive meow...some slight dissent circles the air..."O.K. Yang let's get your collar on"...and after a few fumbles we are all set.

"O.K. let's go"...we head for the door...Yang is in my arms...I thought it wise to carry him until we arrive outside the house...will give him time to gather up his confidence to face the outside world.
We arrive outside the main entrance and step into the Terrace. Yang sniffs the air and casts an eye up and down the doubt to check the lay of the land. The traffic whizzes past along the is what we locals call the "rat run"...a one way Terrace that becomes a short Grand Prix racing track the minute cars enter this stretch of the road.

Yang wriggles around in my arms...I take it as a sign that he is ready to plant his paws on terra firma and sure enough he takes off very eagerly along the Terrace in a posture that can only be described as a "crouching tiger" mode. Seconds later Yang starts off at a cat-trot along the road and quickly appears like a normal walking cat. I drag behind with Yang going along at full throttle in the direction of the gardens. The traffic roars and Yang stops intermittently to check that the coast is clear and proceeds at the cat-trot until we reach the gates of the garden.

The noise of children can be heard coming from the garden's children's swing-area. Yang stops to cast a glance in their direction and bashes on towards the garden gate. In through the gate and Yang strides it out along the garden path. Yang knows exactly where to walk.He knows where he is allowed to walk. Years of walking on lead have given him this expertise (I reflect on my expert training). Yang makes a bee-line straight for the Bamboo bush and seconds later the sounds of chomp...chomp can be heard as Yang doses himself on some of the Bamboo leaves to aid his digestion. What a wise cat!
Yang springs up on to the garden wall and struts along stopping along the way for his usual strokes from his adoring owner and the proclamation "what a good are!" Yang raises his head and straightens his back and throws his tail in the air and struts regalian style along the wall. I pat Yang on the head (quite frequently) and say "what a good are!"
"Yes!" "A very clever boy!"

We walk on and a squirrel dashes out in front of our path and I say to Yang excitedly "Oh! look Yang there's a little squirrel!" Yang glances at the squirrel and quickly glances away again without any real sign of interest. Yang dashes here and there checking out thye various bushes.
The bushes are the cat's Post-Office where they leave various messages for each other via their customary cat-spray. Having posted his letters Yang moves on along the path pausing at benches along the way where Yang (when in the mood) likes to sit and view the pedestrians of the gardens. Wooosh! and off we go again and Yang trots around the far corner of the gardens.
We are coming into the home-run now.

The children can be heard playing on the swings and, almost simultaneously, Yang observes two toddlers advancing rapidly towards him..."A Cat! A Cat!" cry the toddlers. Yang's trot quickens to a run with a look of "Not today folks" and makes off speedily down the path. Yang,ofcourse, is quite used to the celebrity position and usually "Laps-Up" all the pats and praises. I chuckle at my own instantaneous Pun. It seems,however, that for Yang this is not one of his patting days.
Wooosh! and away we dash.

Yang walks gingerly towards the occupied benches. He always gives these benches a very wide berth when occupied and we pass the benches at top speed. Yang finds himself an empty bench and we sit down to spend a few minutes watching the world go by. The lady who lives across from the gardens gives us her usual wave and I wave back and a feeling of Motherly Pride surges over me." Oh! Yang", I say, "You are a clever cat!"

It is a dull,damp day and the rain is not far off. It will be interesting to see how long Yang stays in the garden to day. On sunny days,ofcourse, he never wants to leave! Yang continues with his collecting mail and this time he sniffs the rubbish-bins and decides to leave his calling-card there...spray...spray.

We are on our second lap of the garden and Yang charges on stopping at the grass verge and chomps away stocking-up on his digestive-aids. Seconds later Yang heads for the garden gate and he leads me along the Terrace in our homeward direction.
"Wait! Wait!" I say in a commanding voice because we are about to cross the Grand-Prix track.
Yang cocks his ears listening for when the noise of the traffic stops. Yang knows when the traffic noise stops the coast is clear and safe to cross the road. "Good Boy! Yang".

Yang strides down the Terrace pulling heavily on his lead as if there is not another minute to lose and heads towards our house door. I fumble for the door-key and in we go and again fumble for our apartment key. Yang carefully negotiates passing through the doors. The door opens and Yang dashes in and makes for his food bowl just to check thatit is still there!!
I bend down while Yang stands quite still to have his collar removed and receive my tender strokes. Yang walks around the apartment,no doubt to assure himself that everything is as it should be!! Yang then plunks himself down on to the carpet and proceeds to groom himself.
"Wasn't that a lovely walk?" and I say, "You are a good boy".

(Our walk lasted 45 minutes)


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