Written by Dotty Winters


My life with a feline super-villain

As our month-long celebration of pets continues, Dotty Winters introduces us to Pudding, her lasagne-stealing, kitten-punching bugger of a cat.

Pudding the cat asleep on a windowsill

Pudding: furry harbinger of doom.

I am, unashamedly, a cat lady. I have nearly always had a cat: sometimes I’ve had several. I had never met a cat I didn’t adore. Until, that is, Pudding. I live with a feline super-villain and he is the worst present I have ever received. Mr Winters presented me with Pudding to “cheer me up” after I had been ill for several months.

I have no idea why anyone would think that a needy, destructive and antisocial cat-beast of indeterminate breed and vintage was an acceptable gift for someone who was in the early stages of a chronic disorder that involved pain, exhaustion and not giving any fucks. Pudding, as it happens, also gives zero fucks.

I have compiled a dossier of evidence that this cat is not as cute as he looks:
• He spends at least 20 hours each day loudly demanding affection. He responds to all affection with violence.
• He does not respect personal space.
• He does not care whether his tuna is dolphin friendly.
• If he could vote, he probably still wouldn’t bother.
• Five years on and he still hasn’t made me better.
• He once punched a kitten.

I get it, I get it. He sleeps all day, he reacts violently to any touch, he is overweight and ginger, he is loud and annoying…but I was here first. If this were an episode of The Jerry Springer Show it would be ‘My husband bought me the feline embodiment of my chronic illness and he expects me to love it.’

Not long after Pudding arrived I met up with the person who had persuaded Mr Winters to rehome this monster. She runs the kennels that our dog occasionally stays at and had ended up with Pudding when he was abandoned there. She told me that Pudding had been rehomed a number of times previously, and had not lasted more than an afternoon with anyone. He’d even been rebranded as ‘Pudding’ to make him seem cuter (I can’t remember what his real name was, though I imagine it was probably Snarky McClaws or Trumpy Bum-Face).

Pudding wearing Easter bunny ears

“That’s SIR Trumpy Bum-Face to you.”

I wouldn’t want to create the impression that this cat is neglected. Indeed, the more I despise him the more the rest of my family love him. The children adore Pudding; to them he is a misshapen pool of fluff that spread-eagles on the kitchen floor, remaining motionless regardless of how much Lego you stack on him. Mr Winters is the beast’s favourite, though. He is allowed to pick Pudding up and his attempts to stoke him are met not with violence but with tractor-loud purrs. He demonstrates this every time I say anything mean about the cat. Let’s be honest, no cat can truly tell the difference between the words, “Good morning cute kitty, would you like a cuddle?” and “Holy cow, fleabag! Are you still here?”

I often work from home, surrounded by the pets I love, and Pudding. Pudding spends the day stealthily trying to creep up close enough to me to get a fuss, and then when I eventually relent and stroke him, claws the skin off my arm. This afternoon I spent 20 minutes looking for the TV remote while he snored on the arm of the sofa. Just after I gave up hope of finding it he yawned, stretched and changed the channel with his bum cheek.

“I can’t remember what his real name was, though I imagine it was probably Snarky McClaws or Trumpy Bum-Face.”

Last week he nicked some lasagne, like Garfield. I love Garfield. Pudding is even trying to ruin Garfield for me. This kitty has no shame. Sometimes I wonder what will happen when the cat goes. Maybe he is a Nanny McPhee feline – I must learn to love him before he’ll bugger off. As Emma Thompson would say (if she were an unwelcome furry houseguest): “When you need me, but do not want me, I will come; but when you want me but no longer need me I’ll go and shed fur on someone else’s sofa.” Or something.

I can’t deny that Pudding has his uses. On a regular basis I announce that all the toys on the floor are evidence that we definitely don’t have room for two cats, so I will have to post Pudding to a family that has more space, and, like magic, toys are tidied away faster than Mary Poppins could snap her fingers. You’d think the cat would be grateful that I let him stay, but no, my only reward is his constant, unwavering company, invasion of my personal space and a purr so loud I occasionally answer my phone thinking it must be vibrating. I suppose you have to admire his persistence; a lesser cat might have taken the hint by now.

I can see him sitting opposite me looking pleased with himself, so I am off to check my shoes for turds. Again.

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Written by Dotty Winters

Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.