ABC: A is for … Ailurophile


The first in a regular series in which I lasso a letter and then blather all over its back.

Today’s letter is A. And A is for Ailurophile

An ailurophile sounds like somebody who’s French, and like they’re into something shimmering. Something, well, alluring. But an ailurophile is a cat lover. And cats are not alluring.

I mean, I guess she’s cute enough, right? Even though she’s nothing special. Anthony thinks she looks like a street urchin. You cannot get more standard cat-looking than Biscoe.

Indeed, she was a street urchin. Or more like a backyard urchin, really. I discovered her hanging about around this time last year. She’d obviously been around people before, but where her people were now was not here. She would come and hang around when we were feeding the kookaburras. We started throwing her a bit of meat here and there, which she’d gobble.

Fast forward a few months after that and she was turning up her nose at those littlr balls of raw mince because now she much preferred the Dine tuna with saucy morsels and the dry food which she ate now out of new bowls which meant we now had a cat.

Now, I am very fond of Catsy Biscoe. I like her. But really, the reason we adopted her was because (a) I couldn’t bear to take her to the pound where her average looks would see her quickly snuffed out and (b) because of her awful appetite for stalking destruction. I mean, who comes along and drags a kookaburra off the table, a bird that is just about the same size of you? If she moved in with us and became an indoor cat it would be one less murderous feline off the Belgrave streets.

Last night she scooted when the door was open a sniff, and then 20 minutes came back with a live mouse which she dropped and then proceeded to torture until it scuttled away and hid. Until she caught it again and bashed it round some more till it ran away. Until u.30 this morning when she was batting at it in the bedroom and its little squeaks invaded the earplugs I wear each night. An unpleasant way to wake up. I spent an hour trying to work out what to do, looking up how to kill a mouse so I could put the poor thing out of its misery.

I hate this world. I hate how we eat each other. But playing with your food before you kill it? It would be more forgivable if she ate it. But no.

I mean, who tortures some poor creature that it’s not even going to eat?

A cat does.

This kind of scenario isn’t what ailurophiles think of when they think of cats, is it? They think of lovely pastoral scenes of cats looking out of doorways while dappled light angles in through the door and across their backs. Of the ways cats find new and different spots to sleep in that are kinda cute and charming. The way they walk past you and say, “Brrr” in their throats, which is like a miaow when you can’t be bothered opening your mouth but which feels more intimate somehow than a standard miaow. (Did you know cats do not miaow to each other? Babies miaow to their mothers, and then they learn to do it with us too).

I like to see Biscoe in the best possible light, too. She doesn’t know that she’s a fucking evil bitch, after all. That what she does is revolting. I know she doesn’t, because when I told her this morning how wretched her behaviour is she just gazed up at me all sleepy-eyed and cute and squidgy and looked very innocent.

But she is a fucking evil bitch, when it’s all said and done. And so no, I’m not an ailurophile, because even if she wasn’t a disgusting Idi Amin, her and her kind, she still wouldn’t be a dog.

Now, maybe there are people out there who are both ailurophiles and cynophiles at once. That would be cool. But for me, dogs stole all of my heart, with their fine sense of interaction, their willingness to love and be loved any ole time, their inability to play aloof, their functional central nervous systems.

And yes, dogs kill things too, like cats. They just don’t do it for pleasure … I think.

Still, I guess she can stay. She is at the mercy of her genetics, after all. I just hope she knows that one day she’ll have to share her space with a dog. The true pet friend.


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