It is 2.33am precisely. It is the perfect time of night to stalk about the village, picking on unassuming prey. It is the ideal time to escort said prey home, over the rooftops and through a tiny tunnel of a cat flap in order to deposit the spoils of such successful hunts right on the bed…right in the middle…and then shout very loudly until someone wakes up with overflowing congratulations for such a victorious expedition.
I assume that this was the thought process that Otis employed last week when he brought the first of his trophies home for inspection. Luckily on that night the poor tiny creature in question was stunned into unconsciousness and easily deposited…his brother the following week was less placid and kept us all awake into the wee hours whilst we chased him around the bedroom.
Such is the life of Sir Otis, lord of Lowsonford and king of all he surveys. You’ll remember that when we introduced him to you last summer, I called him a loveable terrorist and as we sit here on his first birthday, I stand by that description. When he’s not busy pushing his older sisters out of their own food bowls, he is curled up angelically next to one of us as though butter wouldn’t melt.
Of course, nothing in the world is better than his best friend forever – more commonly known as your local landlord. Never have man and feline been so enamoured with each other. I accuse Nick of being soft on him (because he is) but, for balance, I think Otis is equally as soft on Nick, too. The sound of Nick’s voice, the call of his whistle, can bring the ginger ninja trotting back from whatever far flung corner of the village he’s pottered off to.
And that’s another surprising thing: an entirely fearless cat. Both Annie and Bella have an innate distrust of the world that comes from too long couped up in the city centre, but Otis feels like the world is his oyster. We stayed awake all night the first time he didn’t come home; Nick went looking for him in pyjamas and a Barbour, convinced some fatal calamity had befallen his little buddy, but he returned the next day without any fuss and a big appetite to snooze. We have no idea where he goes or what he gets up to, but on one occasion he did come home looking like he’d been down the mine.
He makes friends easily, does Otis. Even the greatest cat adversaries in the village have fallen under his spell, charmed by his cheeky behaviour and unapologetic fondness to poke his nose in and say hello. We suspect many of our neighbours are all equally looking after him and he’s just playing us all off against each other. He’ll square up against dogs three times his size but his real nemesis are children – it’s entirely possible that their hyperactivity outweighs his own and he doesn’t like that so much.
When he’s not busy bringing furry friends home with him, he has been known to emerge soaking wet from head to foot but purring like a maniac. Did he fall in the canal? Was he practising widths between the towpath? Or, as came to light this past weekend, was he following the footsteps of his mate Sidney from down the road and goading a resident family of ducks? We’ll never know for sure but we were, of course, delighted that he plonked himself down in the middle of our freshly made bed whilst dripping wet with stinky canal water.
It’s safe to say he’s not a baby anymore. We’ve had to take baby birds we’ve rescued from him to recuperative sanctuaries and we’ve berated him continually for relentlessly bad behaviour. But you know what? We were all young once and for all his faults, he’s pretty damn awesome for something so small and stupid. Sir Otis the Pub Cat is quite the character, it turns out, and it seems that before long he might be nearly as synonymous with The Fleur De Lys as pies. Long may his reign of terror continue!
If you’d like to keep tabs on what Otis is up to, just search for the hashtag #sirotisthepubcat on Instagram to find out just how much of a crazy cat lady I really am.