Fleas, release me

A visit to our friends Pip and Rob at the weekend brought home something about Bosco: at a year old he’s twice the size of their fully-grown cat. And he will probably grow for another year yet, at least if his appetite is anything to go by. Yet he’s still young enough to be kittenish in nature. Which is a euphemism for “a bit stupid still.”

In the last six weeks his confidence has grown enormously and his favourite new sunning spot is the deck in front of the wheelhouse. We leave the windows open so the plants don’t make it too humid and he’s happy to hop in and out for the purposes of adventure, food or attention. Unfortunately with his new-found love of the wheelhouse we’ve discovered that Hendrik’s previous owners left us more than just duvets, thermoses and tiny frying pans.

One of the crew in Hendrik’s former life was a dog who was by all accounts very friendly and happy. But on recent evidence I think it’s fair to say he was a bit of a fleabag. The astonishing thing is that it’s been at least four years since Hendrik did summer duty and yet this whole time there’s been a ticking timebomb of itchy death waiting to spring out at us. The combination of a few warm days and a lazy cat brought them to fecund, irritating life again.

So yesterday I had to seal up all the windows, put powder down in the wheelhouse and set off nerve gas in the captain’s cabin. Bosco took being locked out surprisingly well. After an initial ten minutes of unease and a comedy leap into a closed window, he relaxed and came to investigate the salon a bit more. But the real surprise came when I saw how he gets back onto the salon roof: A flying leap at head height from the top of the collar barge next door. That’s at least 4 feet across and a foot up, into a gap between railings only about 9 inches high. Close inspection of the streaky pawprints up the side of the superstructure there reveal he’s been doing this daredevil act for a while now. All this from a cat who, a scant six weeks ago, wouldn’t even poke his nose out of the wheelhouse window.

Once the cabin was aired out, he retook his rightful position on the bed, although when the clean sheets arrived fresh from the tumble dryer (thanks Padoue!) we couldn’t resist giving him a quick blanket toss.

He wasn’t amused.


- posted by James O'Brien on 3 July 2008, 11:01 in