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by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


The cat has always admired great opera singers and thinks he is the cat equivalent. Pavaollie has a voice of gigantic proportions. His nightly conserts are for the benefit of us and all the neighbours. Not for Pavaollie the muted meows of lesser cat singers - he is the king.

I was gardening the other day when a woman strode up to me. "Does that grey cat live here," she said. Aggression was oozing from every pore of the woman, it was time I went into defence mode.

"What cat?" I said, smiling innocently.

"That one," snarled the woman, pointing to Ollie (he always likes to be helpful in the garden). "He always screams his head off in the middle of the night on our window sill; you should lock him up at night for the sake of your neighbours!"

I shuddered inwardly, thinking of the deafening shrieks if we dared to lock up the cat. Pavaollie is definitely an outdoor cat.

I started stuttering excuses. "There are a lot of cats here," I soothed. "It's probably some other moggy."

Pavaollie decided to put his paw in. He lifted his head and let out his best ear-splitting howl.

"That's him," bellowed the woman, "I'd recognise that voice anywhere. There should be a law against cats like that!"

Suddenly I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. Ollie was quivering from head to toe. I recognised that pouncing sort of look on his face. "No," I yelled, "don't". Too late. Pavaollie took a running jump and sped up the woman's leg. You should have heard the scream, she put Pavaollie's voice to shame.

She took off screaming down the street with the cat after her - he was enjoying the game. He gave up at the corner of the street, after all there is only so much time a cat can devote to his fans.

Last night Pavaollie outdid himself. He sat outside our bedroom window and gave us a perfect rendition of "My tiny Paw is Frozen" John had had enough. He jumped out of bed into the frosty early morning air and slammed open the window. "Shut up," he yelled.

Ohhhhh, poor Pavaollie. When I open the window a certain ritual is observed. As Pavaollie sits in the middle of the sill the window must be opened slowly to allow the cat time to shuffle backwards to the end of the sill. A sudden opening of the window threw him off the sill onto the ground. No big deal if you live in a bungalow with low windows I hear you say. But what if a large cactus lives beneath the window.

Pavaollie's high noes reached a peak of perfection. I expected the fire engine to arrive, closly followed by the police to investigate a murder.

It took ages to de-prickle Pavaollie. Do you think he has learned his lesson.


Editor's note:

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