May 21, 2015

Horse 1903 - When The World Shrinks

Being a renter, some of the decisions that I have to live with are entirely the domain of the landlord; that includes our landlord's decision to take away half of our backyard and erect a granny flat. Of course, the landlord is perfectly entitled to do this and given their position, extracting another revenue stream from the same property seems rational and wise to me. It's just living on the other side of such a decision, my ability to do anything about it, is precisely nil.

It isn't just people who are affected by this. We also play as wait staff to two cats. Although people think that when they are getting a cat they gain a pet, nothing could be further from the truth. When you get a cat, you voluntarily become servant to a mostly selfish individual and sometimes highly irrational one. The fact that Schrödinger used a cat in his famous thought experiment says more about the sheer unknowability of cat logic than it does about nuclear chemistry. Probably as a result of watching Schrödinger's cats, the only rational outcome for Heisenberg was to declare his Uncertainty Principle in quantum mechanics rather than developing anything approaching a unified theory of cat logic,  which would be altogether more difficult but I digress.
When our backyard is cleaved in twain by a fence, Kipper's world is going to shrink, without anyone even asking his permission. Purranna though, will be totally unaffected.

- The kitties are conspiring something. I just know it.

Kipper (the grey cat on the left) is a selfish; sort of dirty looking cat. My sister found him patrolling the bins one night at a local supermarket and because he had obviously been socialised and learned that people can be manipulated into giving him things, he came to live with us. The two things which probably kept him alive were his wits and his nature, which is really quite friendly. In the legendary wars in his mind, he probably thinks that he's entitled to a cat medal of some sort - he's a real trooper. Kipper is a highly intelligent cat who probably understands something in the order of about 30 words but only pays attention when he wants to, when he thinks that he's likely to profit from doing so, which usually means that he's going to get fed.
Having come from the land of outside, he constantly wants to return to it but because he is maybe nine years old now, once he is outside, his favourite places to hang out are either under the house where it is cooler or somewhere in the sun in the winter. If the landlord takes away half of the backyard, opens the side gate for ingress and egress for our new neighbours and installs lattice work around the skirts of the house, then Kipper loses half his backyard and most of his favourite hang out spots. This is atrocious.

Purranna (the more browny cat on the right) who we got from the animal shelter, was named because she likes to bite things. Maybe she was the smallest of a litter and ended up at the animal shelter, maybe she just got outside one day and got really scared and hid. We just don't know. We do know that when we busted her out of cat gaol, she was very happy to be out. She isn't as smart as Kipper but has a more firey temperament. In counterpoint to this, she's also a skittish coward and flees at the mere sight of danger. She is afraid of outside and although she might like to attack lizards and bugs, if she were to go outside, she would freak out and be impossible to retrieve. Maybe that's how she ended up in cat gaol in the first place.

I will benefit from the loss of half of the backyard through having a smaller plot which I will need to now; so I suppose that that's some silver lining in this storm cloud. Mrs Rollo will lose prime garden space and yet again that's further proof that life is long and often marked with disappointments.
For Kipper though, his world shrinks significantly and that's horrible.

Ever since my little red Ford Ka was biffed in the rear end by a Yaris and it had to go on its last drive ever to the automotive morgue, I have missed having that particular sense of freedom. My car was my car and when it wasn't there anymore, my world shrunk a little bit. For Kipper though, this is more than just the loss of a tree or a hidey hole, quite literally his world which is bounded by fences, becomes physically smaller. He's either going to react to this badly and get really huffy (because cats as well as being sassy can also be quite grumpy), or he will do that other thing which cats are famous for and ignore it.
Purranna is the only one of four of us who won't be affected very much at all. Her world which is bounded by the windows and the doors of the house, remains exactly the same size. Unlike Kipper, her world neither shrinks nor becomes less fun. The view might change slightly but that's not a whole lot different to when a television network changes its programming; the favourite channel of cats all over the world is sky.

The point of all this is that I don't know which is worse: to have your world become significantly smaller, to lose one of your entertainment sources, to lose the utility of space or never to have had the world be that large. Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone? In Kipper's case it's either going to be disappointing or ignorable and for Purranna, it's practically a non event.

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