A relation of mine - he shall remain nameless here - is spoken of in family legend for his ability to eat rice pudding when small. He would eat it with his hands to begin with, then tip the bowl over his head. In the disrobing and washing that followed, he had managed to get rice pudding even inside his shoes.
Cats, of course, are meant to be less entirely disgusting than this. They are meant to have a certain grace and poise and elegance. They are, afterall, not dogs.
But not my cat. My cat is special.
Last night, while the Dr, M., Nimbos and I finished our decadent puddings, the shaggy cat wolfed down his own meal in a mouthful and then felt the need to make toilet. He clambered into his poo-box, turned himself awkwardly round 180 degrees and stuck his head brazenly back out into the daylight. He likes to oggle you squarely in the eye while he goes about making his bears.
Now he can be a pungent little blighter at the best of times but last night's effort has to be a personal best. The sort of sly fug you first notice when your nostril hairs catch ablaze.
The cat bolted from his box to escape what he had made and it was then the ladies squealed. Quite a lot of product was still attached to the little sod's back legs.
A chase worthy of the Best of Benny Hill ensued, women chasing cat up and down the stairs, him dropping moist morsels in his wake. I, heroically, stood my ground and let him come fleeing right to me.
Ensnaring him we discovered he'd even managed to get a splodge of his own poo-juice right on the top of his back. I held on to the twisty, turny animal thinking, "But cats just don't bend that way..."
My Herculean labour was to hold him pinioned while the ladies administered wet wipes and - because it was already setting in - the scissors. The hairy gent sulked superbly and scritched an artwork into my forearms resembling a later Jackson Pollock.
He then spent the rest of the evening wauing about the surprising lack of food on offer in his bowl.
I am reminded of the wisdom of my Best Man just a few weeks ago. "Your cat," he explained, "is weird."