Redundancy (Part 2)

By E.D. Wivens, April 2004

Well the newcomer arrived and was quickly smuggled upstairs to the general office. Of course, being a cat, I was well aware of his presence, but Jane, being a human, took it upon herself to introduce us.

Now I wasn't too keen on having another cat on the premises. I mean I'm the alpha male around here and the last thing I need is somebody else's offspring making my life difficult. I don't really get on with kittens anyway, they always have so much energy and enthusiasm.

The moment came and Jane duly carried me up to the general office to meet the newcomer who was sat in the transport box that had brought him to the office. He looked mildly anxious but generally content so I manoeuvred myself around to the grill end to get a better look at him. He was not, as I feared a kitten, but about two and a half human years old which makes him a teenager in cat terms.

"Morning", he said. "Morning", I replied.

Jane looked concerned. "Oh dear they growled at each other. I do hope they'll get on."
"I'm sure they will", reassured the Boss.
Ms Savage glared at us. "They better had do, as I, for one, do not intend wasting my time interviewing cats."

"Morning", I repeated gently wagging the tip of my tail, "Edgar, local alpha male, pleased to meet you."
The newcomer blinked in the traditional threat avoiding way. "Pleased to meet you. Do you think there's a chance I could get out of this thing, there's not room to swing a tail in here."

"I'm sure that can be arranged. I'll just wander over to the sofa and fake disinterest for a bit."
"I'd be very grateful."

"Oh look", said Jane, "Edgar's walked off. Can we open the box now?"
"I would think so", said the Boss opening the cage and gently tilting it. "Out you get Tiddles."

The room temperature dropped several degrees. "Tiddles?", said Jane.
"Tiddles!", said Ms Savage inhaling deeply.
"I gather that's his name", said the Boss, looking slightly embarrassed.
"Then he'll have to change it!", said Ms Savage exhaling and vibrating the notice board, "It's bad enough having an 'Edgar Cat' on the payroll without a 'Tiddles Cat' as well."

"Tiddles!", I said taken aback. The newcomer looked embarrassed. "You poor so and so.", I quickly added.
"My previous feeders had some odd ideas about names", he explained.
"I think I'll just call you Kit for the time being then."
"Fine - Anything is better than 'Tiddles'". He stretched. "Look I'm a bit new to this sort of thing. How do you want to play it?"

I thought for a moment. "Well, we could go for the full scale territorial show of force, but frankly it's a lot of fuss and I think we can take it as read who's the alpha male around here."
"Then there's the 'long lost pals' act, which quite frankly I find somewhat nauseating."
Kit nodded.
"So I suggest a few moments of tail wagging, hissing and raised fur before I jump forwards and you make a bolt for the door."
"Sounds good to me. Which way do you want me to go?"
"Left out of the office, down the stairs and then straight out to the car park. Just follow the cat flaps."
"And then?"
"Well I suggest the canteen roof. That's the large concrete building over by the fence you can get on the roof using the bins."

Kit advanced on my position. I stood up, fluffed up my luxurious fur, and hissed.

"Oh dear", said Jane.
"They're just establishing territory", said the Boss doing his David Attenborough bit, "they won't actually fight or anything."
"They'd better not - it's gross misconduct.", said Ms Savage.

Kit continued to advance, his tail moving vigorously from side to side. I sprang from the sofa. Kit rolled on his back and waved a paw in my general direction. I countered. Kit righted himself and ran.

"Oh!", said Jane. The Boss moved to close the door but Kit was already through it. Ms Savage moved to block my path but I dodged her grasp and dived through the cat flap.

We were about halfway down the stairs before the humans cleared the office, and we were on the canteen roof before they reached the car park.

"Well", said Kit staring over the edge, "that was invigorating. I needed to stretch after being in that box for hours."
"Yes", I said trying to conceal my heavy breathing, "and we just have time for a nap before lunch."

The three humans had arrived at the side of the canteen. I looked over the edge at them. "You're a naughty cat Edgar", said the Boss.
"Do you think they'll be all right up there?", worried Jane.
"I'm sure they'll work it out between themselves, Jane", said the Boss with only the slightest hint of doubt in his voice.
"Good!", said Ms Savage stalking away, "I've got better things to do than arrange counselling for cats."

The Boss and Jane lingered for about another minute before leaving us in peace. Kit walked over and lay in the sunny place beside me. "Who were they then?"
"Well the male is the Boss. He's the human equivalent of an alpha male on this territory. The small worried female is Jane who provides our food, and is generally a soft touch. The fierce female is Ms Savage. She's what the humans call a 'Human Resources Manager', which is a sort of alpha female role."

Kit reviewed this information "She doesn't like cats very much does she?"
"Don't take it personally. She doesn't like humans very much either."
"Any particular reason?", enquired Kit. "No", I said firmly. "Right!", said Kit doubtfully.

Clearly he has a perception somewhat advanced for his age so I thought it best to change the subject. "Where were you staying?"
"Well. I used to have in a small territory a few miles North of here. I had just about got the two humans on it trained, when they went and produced a child."
I nodded knowingly. and he continued. "Well you know the tale. One morning the child sneezes. They call their vet. The child is diagnosed as being allergic to cats. Within an hour I'm living in the garage and an advert is in the paper." He lowered his voice, "There was even talk of the Cat's Home!"

We both shuddered. The Cat's Home is notorious around here. I know many a promising alpha male whose prospects have been cut off by a visit there.

At this point there came the sound of trays clattering below us. With a quick glance at the sun I got to my feet and stretched. "Well Kit, I suppose I'd better show you around the place a bit. We'll start with the breakfast leftovers. Come and meet Cook."

The author and owner of this work is E.D. Wivens. See http://www.katzphur.co.uk/ for more details.
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