Thursday, December 7th, 2006:
A short-legged cat in Helsingborg
Firstly, totally off-topic, I've been watching Sky News on telly because there's been a tornado in residential Kensal Rise, Northwest London. Weird. No one was killed - it happened at about 11:00 a.m. GMT, so most people were at work - but six were injured, one of them seriously.
Hundreds of people have to find somewhere to sleep tonight because their homes have had their roofs ripped off, or have been severely damaged. My mate Roland lives within walking distance of Kenton tube station on the Bakerloo line just seven stops up from Kensal Green, so try him if you're really stuck. But beware his rabid sock monkey.
What was I going to write about? Oh yeah, OK...
On October 25th, I got a lift to go pick up a cat in Svedala, which is a little town outside of Malmö. I wanted a cat because I missed having another living creature walking around my flat. And I like cats. And I guess I was a bit lonely.
As luck would have it, I met a girl a few days earlier, on the 21st, so I didn't really think I'd actually need additional companionship anymore. But I had made a commitment, I still like cats, and she seemed adorable (judging from the photo I'd seen).
So I went for it (after having asked my new "girlfriend" if she's allergic to cats, of course. I added the quotation marks because I couldn't really assume that she'd be my girlfriend at that point. We are still together six weeks later, so I guess she's my girlfriend now. More on her later. If she'll let me.).
Isn't it cool how a five-word sentence can become a whole bloody paragrah if you just stick a load of stuff in brackets?
About my cat: She's just under two years old, apparently, and she comes from a harbour town called Ystad, which is on the southern coast of Sweden. And she's got uncommonly short legs.
Her name was Lucy when I picked her up, but I've since re-named her Mini-Minus, after Minus, my ex-girlfriend's cat, who's getting quite old.
Here's a pic:
Mini-Minus was a bit fat when I met her, as she lived in environments in which she had to eat as much as she could, when she could. Good survival instincts.
But, because her belly was almost dragging on the floor due to her short legs, I felt that she needed to lose some weight. I had considered putting a stick up her bum to use her as a mop, but I soon dismissed the idea; it would have been too time-consuming to prepare her fur to make it really effective.
I had a weird conversation in the smoking room at work. I was telling some girl about my new cat (as you do when you get a new cat). I told her that she was "rescued" from the harbour in Ystad.
Her first question, without any other information, was:
"Has she got short legs?"
According to this girl, cats from Ystad are known as "pallet cats", meaning that they're cats that have evolved to have short legs because they live under wooden shipping pallets. They run under them when they're afraid of potential predators (i.e. me or you - yes, you), they make their homes under them, and they give birth and raise kittens under these wooden pallets in the harbour.
I tried searching - sorry, "Googling" - on the Internet, but could find nothing about this phenomenon.
The day after I got her, I couldn't find her anywhere. I eventually found her under the bathtub. My bathtub's front panel is nine centimetres (3.5 inches) above the floor.
Yeah, short legs.
Here's Mini-Minus spouting out obscenities.
Luckily, I don't quite understand enough Swedish to work it out.
Not enough is known about this phenomenon, and the cat-buying public needs to know about it. It's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.