Ginger Nut has staked his claim – is fur about to fly?
There’s trouble brewing in our back garden. Right now it’s under control, a Mexican standoff in which the participants watch one another warily, plotting and planning their next moves. But any time soon the uneasy peace could descend into open warfare. And if that happens, the fur could really start to fly.
Regular readers of this blog will know that ownership of our garden is claimed by two local cats. Milky Bar and Malteser love to hang out here, to snooze, to play, to hunt insects and to do a bit of casual birdwatching. We think they must live in the same household because, while they are clearly not close friends, they are tolerant of one another’s presence. That, however, is where their generosity of spirit ends. No other cat is welcome in our garden.
Over the years a few others tried to muscle in. Flake, Titan, Toblerone, Mars Bar, Minstrel and Yorkie have all passed through, but none has stayed for long. Milky Bar and Malteser have seen to that, and have remained unchallenged here for ages.
But that could be about to change. A few weeks ago a new cat appeared, walking purposefully along the fence that divides our garden from those of our neighbours. He’s a big bruiser of a ginger tom, a no-nonsense sort of cat who looks to be more than a match for Milky Bar and Malteser.
After checking out the terrain the new arrival – who we called Ginger Nut – leapt down from the fence and inspected the garden in great detail. Luckily our regular feline friends were elsewhere, so a confrontation was avoided. Ginger Nut quickly sniffed out that other cats had been here before him, and communicated his presence by liberally spraying a few bushes. It was like a gold prospector staking a claim, announcing to all and sundry that this is his patch now and he’ll have words with anyone who dares to disagree.
A few hours after Ginger Nut left, Malteser arrived. Cats have a good sense of smell, and he soon detected that his territory had been invaded and, indeed, desecrated. He responded with a spraying frenzy of his own, as if to say anything you can spray, I can spray better / harder / higher! War had been declared.
Since then, Ginger Nut has been back several times. He’s clearly a bit put out by Malteser’s resistance, but hasn’t given up hope that his attempted coup d’état will ultimately be successful. One day he appeared on the fence while Malteser was lazing in the garden. Mrs P and I watched anxiously from the kitchen window while the pair of them sized each other up. A fight seemed inevitable, but on this occasion Ginger Nut backed down.
I’d like to think that this will be the end of it, that Ginger Nut will take his territorial ambitions to another part of our estate. But I have my doubts. He looks like a tough nut, much bigger and bolder than any of the other cats who’ve contemplated staging a coup. I’m worried that one day he’ll attempt to prove his prowess by giving Malteser – and Milky Bar – a thumping. If that happens the outcome is far from predictable, but it’s certain that fur would fly. Let’s hope it never comes to that!