My cat, Biffo, does an excellent impression of a car alarm, usually when I have to remove him from his favourite sleeping place, my computer chair. He retaliates by striding up and down the landing outside my work-room, going, 'Waaaa! Waaaa! Waaaa!' in a shrill, rasping, repeated wail which bores through my concentration in seconds. Throwing things at him distracts him only for a moment. Closing the door means louder wails and scratched paintwork. Shutting him in the yard means that he batters the patio doors with both paws, rattling them in their frames, still howling, until you'd swear looters were breaking in. He's a large and determined cat.
The only thing that shuts him up is allowing him to jump onto my lap. (Sometimes he's too idle to jump and waves his front paws at me, demanding to be picked up). Once on my lap, he settles comfortably, front paws folded under, assumes a smug expression, and vibrates gently with contentment. He watches the screen as I work, ears pricking with interest as it shifts and flickers. Happily, he's never shown any interest in getting closer to it, though once, when I printed off a book proposal, which showered from the printer onto the floor, he sprang from my lap and killed all the pages. (Critics! They're everywhere).
My partner once came home from the vet's and said, "Biffo is a Norwegian Forest Cat."
I'd never heard of a Norwegian Forest Cat, and scoffed. "You just can't bear it that he's an ordinary moggie."
Then, ages later, I was leafing through a coffee-table book in a friend's house. It had pictures of every breed of cat. I flicked over a page and there was a big picture of Biffo.
It wasn't a little bit like him. It was exactly like him. It was as if they'd taken a photo of Biffo to illustrate --- Norwegian Forest Cats.
I researched the breed, mostly to try and prove that Biffo wasn't an NFC. I found that NFCs have lynx like tufts on the ears, fur
between every toe to form in-built snow-shoes, and thick double-layered all-but-waterproof fur. They are highly intelligent and vocal. All of this described Biffo. I had to admit that my partner
might be right.
All we knew of his origins was that he was a rescue cat, originally taken in by a friend. But if he wasn't a Norwegian Forest Cat, he was a very acceptable facsimile of same.
And my favourite of all the cats I've known.
Sadly, my beautiful cat died in March 2011. I haven't replaced him, and I still miss him.
I wrote the above piece when he was alive.