Princess Ashlee is appalled. As an exotic short-haired feline, her snubby little nose is out of joint because of the recent revelation that dogs rule in Australia, not cats.
“Ow can that be? C’est umposseeble!”
This is where you have to understand that although Princess Ashlee’s pedigree is British, this cat is definitely French. She strolls around the house like she’s cruising the Champs Elysees, tail upright like a periscope, head tilted like she’s sporting an invisible beret, and a look of thrown together glamour which shouts “Je suis magnifique, n’est pas!”
Armed with a fiercely aloof attitude, she has the rest of us almost grateful if she bothers to acknowledge us. So, the discovery that our very posh furball is not the most popular pet in Australia can’t go down well with The Princess, particularly when she holds Archie The Blunder Dog in such contempt.
I can `ear `er now.
“What eez this? That reedikulous canine with the vehry ugleee long nose is more popular than moi? Umposseeble! I am the most gorgeous creature in zee world.”
It’s true, The Princess rules in our house, except of course when it comes to Charlie the galah – nobody rules the parrot. What is it about cats though that makes them so instinctively superior, collectively cool and remarkably regal? Why aren’t they more like dogs, or even rabbits, who come when they’re called, who respond to a command, who smother you with unconditional love?
Why can’t they realise that sometimes you have to conform, to stick to house rules, to muck in with the rest of the pack?
I admit, I’m probably more of a dog person. Our constant companions, our best mates, loyal buddies and cosy comforters as kids were big, boofy dogs. They’d romp beside us while we scootered, bark at us while we played in the park and collapse with us later in happy exhaustion.
Cats don’t do this, not because they can’t, but because they won’t. Instead of indulging in any sort of tacky interaction, Princess Ashlee spends hour upon hour sleeping, taking the expression cat napping to a whole different level. And when she’s not catching up on beauty sleep, she’s admiring the results of it, staring endlessly at her reflection in a window, or a mirror.
While Archie bounces off the walls, doing 360s with joy at the slightest provocation, The Princess has an attitude which shatters crystal. She stares down her nose at the dog, quite a feat considering that not much of a nose was included in her exorbitant price, her ears and tail flickering in distaste.
“What eez this little rodent, this abominable red `ead doing in my `ouse?” she sniffs.
That’s when she’s not winding him up of course, ambushing him from behind furniture while he turns himself inside out trying to find her. Even six-week-old kittens have it over poor Archie. We minded a pair for a night, and while The Princess emitted low guttural growls of abhorrence at the intruders, Archie tried to engage in play. The response from these two midgets was extraordinary. They puffed themselves up for maximum scary effect and sidestepped, I swear on their toes, before hissing and swiping at Archie’s “vehry ugleeee long nose”.
There is only one person to whom Princess Ashlee will defer and that’s Grandpa.
And he hates cats. However, he’s bewitched by Princess Ashlee, who upon his arrival rolls on her back holding her paws aloft in ecstatic surrender.
“You may peek me up,” she purrs.
And Grandpa does.
“C’est la vie,” sighs The Princess.