The Years of Peace
From 2006 until early 2012 relations between the cats George and Wilson were amicable. Territory was clearly defined (George had control of the bed, Wilson the sofa) with a shared corridor on the landing. Occasional territorial infractions were tolerated, with the formation of power-sharing executives affording the residents of the house peace and tranquility.
Despite the occasional skirmish over who would be allowed to eat a moth, the relationship between these two powerful brothers was good.
2012 – Casus Belli (or Vicki goes to Home Sense and inadvertently starts a war)
A pouffe seemed like a good idea – a handy extra seat for visitors, or a comfy foot rest, perhaps even one of the cats would find it a nice comfy spot for a snooze. It is only looking back on these small decisions that one realises the gravity of one’s actions. I now see that the purchasing a rather fetching Indian pouffe (at a great Home Sense bargain price) was a provocation on a par with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand or the annexation of Poland.
The movement from peace to war was insidious; the pouffe was initially treated with suspicion – indeed both cats worked together in an alliance of destruction. Pretty tassels were chewed off, and the sides were given an occasional scratch. Wilson was the first to occupy the new territory:
But it was only minutes after this first photograph was taken that George decided to commit a provocative act, while his brother was off having a wee:
The War Zone
Now, many months after these early manoeuvres, the pouffe has become the greatest source of conflict that our formerly peaceful house has ever seen. Attacks on the pouffe-occupant are often swift and merciless; Wilson prefers the use of chemical weapons – climbing over his brother and shoving his badly-washed bottom in his face, until the smaller cat can take it no longer. George’s strategy, I am ashamed to say, involves mounting his brother and performing acts that have been denounced globally, while making strange purring noises.
Peacekeeping attempts have failed, largely due to confusion over who exactly has the right to the pouffe. Mum-rules have been brought into play (‘If you can’t be nice, then NEITHER of you will sit on it’), but it is a well-known fact that cats largely disregard such regulation.
The Road to Peace
Talks were initially held regarding the purchase of a second pouffe, but broke down after it was realised that the house is already littered with items purchased specifically for the cats which are never used. Cats will not use something if it has been bought for them. This becomes truer in relation to the amount of money spent on the item.
An attempt to elevate the status of an armchair into the next ‘happening’ place to nap, with a blanket and selection of cushions is, at present, failing to ease tensions. The arrival of winter, however, may provide temporary respite, with new territories opening up on the back of the sofa (beside a radiator) and at the entrance to the spare bedroom (immediately above a hot water pipe) which are reducing the amount of pouffe-related violence already.
Given the British weather, this means that I have until May-June 2014 before the heating will be turned off again and the conflict will resurface. Talks will be ongoing over the winter months, and let us hope and pray that 2014 will be a year of amicable pouffe sharing.