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In The Company of Cats


At long last my art deco sofa arrived from Germany. It is a beast of a thing and it took two men to get its massive frame through my front door. Finally, it came to rest in my front room. I was still feeling rather pleased with myself when Nixon, a young, French, ginger Tom, arrived a few days later. His owners had recently emigrated from France and Nixon had travelled from Paris to the UK to join them. At the last minute Nixon’s owners were told that their new residence does not allow cats. I was to look after him for the day while they searched frantically for more suitable accommodation.

Still traumatised from his long journey, Nixon made a quick appraisal of his new situation. He took one look at my new sofa and then, to my surprise disappeared beneath it.

Peering underneath the sofa, I could clearly see his front paws planted firmly on the floorboards. His legs stretched upwards and disappeared into the innards of the sofa. I craned my neck and stared into the blackness. High amongst the springs, I could see, half lit by the light from the window Nixon’s frightened face.

It was difficult to tell if he was stuck or just hiding. My various attempts at coaxing him out with food and the most basic of French, failed. I waited, hoping that Nixon would come out of his own accord and worried that his owners would arrive to find their beloved cat lodged in the guts of my sofa.

When after an hour Nixon failed to appear, I had no choice but to attempt to lift the sofa.

Driven by fear I managed to summon previously unknown strength and raise the sofa a few inches from the ground. To my relief and Nixon’s surprise he dropped out of the bottom, and scrambled to find another hiding place.

Somehow I managed to prop the sofa up and staple a large piece of canvas to the frame, preventing it from swallowing up any more of my unsuspecting guests.

Sometime later Nixon, given privacy and time to contemplate, emerged from his hiding place. Curiosity having gotten the better of him he patrolled the front room, initially avoiding the sofa. But by the time his owners arrived at 4pm he was nestled comfortably on top of it giving himself a quick once over with his tongue.

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