Sunday, June 03, 2007

Owly Lone

200th Post!

Back in October, I revealed that I had purchased at great expense, a hypo-allergenic owly cat called Barney. He has the body of a cat and the head of an owl and was especially designed to meet my personal lifestyle needs. I wanted company but didn’t necessarily want an active relationship with that company, if you see what I mean. I could have gone out and got a slothful, disinterested boyfriend as there seem to be plenty of those out there. It would have been cheaper but I still wanted the sofa to myself. Barney has been the perfect companion as he lives in the loft and I only ever run across him occasionally in the kitchen when he is fixing himself a smoked salmon sandwich and a saucer of Rachel’s organic semi-skimmed milk. He is a bit jowly, even for an owly.

Now the flat is sold, incredibly to a man called Barney. What are the chances of that happening? I am faced with a dilemma. I have asked Barney (the owly cat, not the man), if he wants to come to Australia but he has said he prefers to stay put. This is a trifle annoying as I have gone to a lot of trouble to get permission for him to immigrate to Australia. It’s a very strict country when it comes to imported wildlife so why they let Leo Sayer live there is anyone’s guess. The Australian authorities were very impressed with Barney’s hypo-allergenic status and as his DNA is predominantly feline, I have been able to get him classed as an exotic breed of cat which means that he would only have to spend six years in quarantine and be sprayed with triple strength DDT three times a day. Small price to pay for a simple tax system, I think.

Barney has pointed out to me that he neither pays taxes (hypo-allergenic hybrid pets are tax exempt, which is worth bearing in mind if you are put off by the US$4,000 price tag), and he has no desire to spend six of his nine lives in prison being poisoned. Leaving aside the slur on my native country’s paranoia about protecting its unique nativeness to the point of causing permanent insult to the rest of the world, I find his attitude thoroughly disingenuous. It is true that there is still some dispute about how many lives Barney is entitled to. People wonder why I get so annoyed with British officialdom. Here is a classic case in point.

The Department for Animals and other Furry Things (DAFT), which is responsible for the classification of genetically engineered pets, originally ruled that Barney was only entitled to 4.5 lives as he was only half cat. Barney’s fear is that if this ruling stands, he’d have to spend one and a half years of his afterlife in quarantine as well as his whole earthly one, and he really doesn’t want to do that. He has heard that in cat heaven there are smoked salmon the size of killer whales and Rachel herself pours the organic milk into your saucer. I am hoping to have the ruling overturned on appeal on the grounds that, not only is Barney’s DNA predominantly feline, but he has the wisdom of an owl. Theoretically, this superior reasoning would prevent him from doing a lot of the crazy things cats do to endanger their lives in the first place which is why they need so many of them. He ought to be entitled to at least nine lives, if not twelve. I think if I could get him twelve, that would swing it.

The worst case scenario has to be considered. I can’t really let him go in the woods, although that is tempting, especially in the light of his present intransigence. The cat part of him might turn feral and remember that, in the wild, he would eat birds and then he might devour his own head. It would be cruel to let that happen (although rather fun to watch, I imagine). I tried putting him on e-Bay but the fashion for fake fur has waned with everyone now wanting the real thing again. I got no bids at all for him but I did get an offer from Springwatch for just his head. Unfortunately it was was not enough to justify shredding the last of my morals.

In the final analysis, I think the best solution is to include him in the sale. I have a form to fill out which describes everything in the flat that stays behind after I have taken out all my personal possessions. This form is so long, I doubt that anyone is going to read all the way through it. I suppose there are some unscrupulous people out there who might take out the bath and sell off the roof tiles separately but it seems unlikely. Anyway, I might slot him in between the light switches and the door knobs and hope no one looks too closely. The new owner might wonder for a while why his milk and smoked salmon keep disappearing from the fridge and why there is a funny hoot-meow sound every time someone says his name, but I expect he’ll get used to it…

Original picture from


Reading the Signs said...

Pants, this is an extaordinary and beautiful-looking cat. If I didn't have one of my own I'd be tempted to offer to adopt him, in spite of the smoked salmon habit (Whiskas not good enough for him?) - but the coincidence of the name is just too pregnant with signification for words. Your buyer will surely rejoice.

That's so pants said...

If you like, I can send him down to haunt, I mean live in, your new house. As far as I know he has no objections to moving, just as long as it's not to the far side of the world.

Quink said...

If I didn't live in a first floor flat, I'd give him a home straight away. I've wanted a cat for nearly a decade, but have had nowhere suitable to put one.

And it would have solved my earlier mouse problems before they started.

That's so pants said...

Quinkie - you're in luck - the owl part also eats mice. Could you not lower the ceiling just a little and put in a false loft? I think he'd like you.

Ms Melancholy said...

Barney has to keep Barney. Ms Signs can read the signs, and she says so too. It is all just too perfect.

That's so pants said...

OK. I'm hearing, so I'll just slip him in before 'door furniture'. It's the right decision.

Janejill said...

I wouldn't even mention him; just slip away. That's what the owner of the finca in Spain which we bought,did...except he left 7 cats. He had also trained them to appear gradually, over a period of weeks (really)
Jack put his foot down after number three was found entwined around number two in front of the fire. For three years I lived with the guilt of chasing away 4 moggies - hardest thing ever. When I move,I want another cat, but I want a lovey dovey one, and Barney sounds too independant for me.

That's so pants said...

Must be a Spain thing. I found a mother cat and three kittens curled up on my bed.

Boris said...

Poor Pussydinkums.

I can't help but wonder if this is all wrong. I find the name coincidence strangely disturbing.

Won't the new owner have to change his name so the cat dosen't get confused or worse - he may get in the way at an intimate moment!

It is too cruel to consider - you must rehouse him. There is an excellent owl sanctuary in the South Lakes and they don't have a c'owl so I'm sure they would take him in.


Bwca said...

'Barney and Barney' - it was meant to BE.
oh he is gorgeous though and I feel so sorry for you having to leave him.
quarantine here for 6 months is an awful (and costly) thing for pets and their owners.

and a PS to Reading The Signs who asks is Whiskasnot good enough?
of course it is not.
it is not food.
it and all similar products, is
emulsified extruded 'matter' coated in a 'sauce' of artificial 'meat' flavours with 'stabilisers'.
not food.

peace and love to all

That's so pants said...

Hi Boris

If only I'd known about a c'owl. All that wisdom and fresh milk too. Still, I suppose you need quite a bit of space. I'll check out the sanctuary, thanks.


Barney has always been very fussy about his diet. I've never known an animal take such a keen interest in reading food labeling. I didn't realise that the owners have to go into quarantine as well. That more or less settles it. I like him but not enough to spend six years in a cage with him.

Ms Baroque said...

:gulp: the far side of the world...

That's so pants said...

Hi Ms B

I guess it depends on where the moon is pointing.

Ros Barber said...

Oh, what a delightfully superior animal. Before you leave these shores, you and Barney could stage a theatrical adaptation of Edward Lear's "The Owl And The Pussycat" with Barney (the hypoallerginic one) playing both parts. I was thinking of you as the narrator but you might have to double up as the piggy-wig, if you didn't find that beneath your dramatic talents.

I'd have him, too, but my own cat would be likely to suffer psychological damage - it's bad enough being beaten up by the black and white bruiser next door, but to have a genetically engineered owl-cat lording it over one and competing for the tuna juice - no, too much.