mumsnetBack along, my family and I swapped a house for a three-acre field in Devon and a leaky caravan where we lived off-grid for two years. Sadly, we failed to get the planning permission we needed to stay. We are now back within four walls, with a proper loo and everything in a cottage in Dartmoor. So this is now a blog about living ethically amid a fabulous landscape with our home educated kids while we adjust to being 'normal' - for a while... and what we plan to do with our land next

Friday, 7 December 2012

The dead of the night

Finally! After two years of pouring food and affection into a vacuum, the cats have covered themselves in glory.

Stumbling through the awning in the dim light of early morning, I nearly stepped on a large dead rat deposited with love and pride near the caravan door.

I say love, but I am not convinced, we are generally treated with disdain by the cats although one of them seems genuinely fond of the smallest boy. Aside from that they will suffer to be stroked briefly and then only when it's feeding time. Once fed, any hint of previous intimacy is erased like the memory of an embarrassing boyfriend. I am fairly confident that if some unfortunate accident befell me, they would be more than happy to tuck into my liver.

So just pride, then.

We have, as mentioned before, a gaping hole in the bottom of the door that leads to our sleeping area. The cats fashioned this themselves and use it to come and go when they please and to bring in small live mammals in the middle of the night, which they thump and crash about killing.

I have observed that they do this differently. Oscar, the boy cat, makes much ado about the whole thing. He heralds the return of the hunter with a loud mewing, then shows off, flinging his unfortunate victim around flamboyantly and with much accompanying noise. Once it is incapacitated, he frequently becomes bored of the whole scene and wanders off, leaving someone else to finish the job for him. Meanwhile, Tanny, the female cat, comes in quietly, dispatches her prey with ruthless efficiency and eats it quickly. I can't help feeling there is a metaphor for the difference between the sexes being played out here.

More to the point, it is being played out where I sleep. With the dead rat in mind, I have over recent days had cause to shudder at what might have been. So it is somewhat ironic for the cats, that the day they finally fulfilled their brief was also the one they sealed their banishment from the trailer. It's a bit harsh – but that's OK. They don't really love us.

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