Example: We leave the cat flat open at all times - it's just easiest all round. However this does mean we are open to interlopers. Currently we are being visited by Julian Officer Cat (he's okay, he's very old and possibly a bit blind and just wants to eat some food, and far be it from me to deny a hungry, elderly cat a bit of extra tuck. We also know where he lives).
and The Singing Cat (no pic as yet) who is an intact Tom (i.e., still has his knackers) who is very well fed, handsome, stripy and ginger. He also announces his arrival onto the acres of Jones Towers by yowling. All the way round the house. Hence the name. He stops yodelling as he enters the cat flap as if he doesn't want to be discovered (duh! Hint - you're loud enough to wake the dead, dude....). We're trying to discourage this one because he sprays. Stinky. And we don't know where he lives. These are our current customers.
Several months back, before these two came knocking, we were visited a couple of times by an unknown cat that would scare the living crap out of our two and chase them round the house, even upstairs into our bedroom, in the middle of the goddam night. And believe me when I say you really don't want 14lbs of panicking cat galloping across your solar plexus at 2am as he tries to get to safety on the windowsill. The only thing we could do was to shut the cat flap when we went to bed. This necessitated retrieving the cat tray from the garage so that ours had somewhere to 'go' during the night.
All went well for a couple of nights - cat flat would be locked at bedtime, then opened in the morning. No unwelcome visitors, la la la, all was happy. Until, one morning, TLH was getting dressed in the spare room (I've taken up all the wardrobe space in our room, so he uses the one in that room) when he said, "Can you smell poo? I can smell poo. No, I really can smell poo......oh, Jesus Christ!!!!" He turned round to spot a neat little pile of kitty crap, perfectly placed right in the middle of the spare bed. We had no idea who had done it.
Fortunately nothing had sunk through the bedspread so that was removed and washed and placed back onto the bed later in the day.
I said that I had seen Sylvester using the cat tray the previous evening after the cat flap had been locked so my suspicions were that it wasn't him. We figured that she had probably objected to having to use the dirt tray after him and had been caught short. "Aww, poor Pepper" we said, feeling all sympathetic.
Later that evening, the dirt tray was refreshed, the cat flap locked, we went to bed.
Next morning - "Can you smell poo? I can smell poo......PEPPER!!!!". Slap bang in the same place as before. The dirt tray was also unused. She'd deliberately crapped where she knew we'd see it, just to make a point. She wanted to go out at night and she was damn well going to ensure that she could.
From that night on, the cat flap has henceforth been left open due to Ms Pepper's extremely effective dirty protest. This is not a cat to argue with.
So, following the posting of the humiliating pictures of her wearing a granny square skullcap the other day, I came down the stairs this morning to this:
She'd gone into my wool bag and had flicked out my most expensive ball of wool (it's a mixture of wool, cashmere and - can you believe this? - camel's hair) and had proceeded to dismember it on her mat (yes, okay, she has her own mat made from offcuts of recently laid carpet - do you think we'd dare defy her? You've seen what she can do......)
Therefore I'm making a very public apology to Ms Pepper Bean in the hope that she doesn't do anything else, like vomit in my slippers (there's a tale behind that too, but that's for another time....)
(UPDATE - 31 March 2010 - Pepper Bean vomited in my slippers. No kidding. Bloody cat....)