Generally, Ollie gets on well with cats. Though in some cases, he is quite scared of them, especially when they spit and growl as he approaches them. A few doors down on the same side, a fluffy black and white cat has taken great objection to him, and will go so far as to advance out of the safety of its driveway, attempting to attack poor Ollie with claws at the ready. Ollie will back away rapidly when faced with this courageous feline, and it has earned itself the name ‘Brave Cat’, a name which Ollie now recognises.
The bulky tortoiseshell cat from the house behind is not so bold. It will lurk under our bushes, hoping to be able to kill any bird that arrives to eat the food we put out. If Ollie spots that one, he goes after it like a rocket, and it scrambles back over the fence, to the safety of its home turf.
In a nearby street called River View, lives a dark brown cat that waits in the bushes in his front garden. If Ollie comes close, it squeezes back into those shrubs, until it is impossible for the curious dog to get close enough to even have a tentative sniff. This cat has been christened ‘Hiding Cat’, and even when it is absent from its spot, Ollie will still carefully check, to see if it is in fact ‘hiding’.
The most frequently encountered cat is the one next door, Alfie. He is normally called ‘Alfredo’ by me, and is very friendly. He also loves Ollie, and will rub his face around my dog’s saggy jowls. Ollie returns the affection by never chasing him, and allowing Alfie to roll about underneath him.
But one local cat brings out the tradition in Ollie. The tradition that states that dogs will chase cats, at every opportunity. A ginger cat that lives close to Beetley Meadows, though I am not sure of his actual address. He likes to spend his days in the scrub grass, close to the River View entrance. From there, the cat will pounce on small birds that fail to spot him, or even rodents that come across his path. The first time we spotted that cat, well over five years ago, Ollie took an instant dislike to it, and rushed into the scrub to chase it. The cat does one of two things, every time. If it sees Ollie coming, it makes a dash for the fence of the closest house on the corner, scrabbling up the wooden panels and dropping down the other side with a crashing sound. Because it is very pale in colour, it has been named Yellow Cat.
But if Ollie gets close enough without being detected by the cat until it is almost too late, it climbs the small tree close to its favoured spot, resting between branches just out of reach of Ollie, who will be standing on two legs, trying to get to it. This happened on our walk yesterday afternoon. I had hardly slipped off Ollie’s lead, when he took off as if fired from a cannon. I spotted his target, Yellow Cat, lurking flat beneath that tree. Ollie covered the gap in record time, and was almost on top of the cat before it realised what was happening. It scampered up the tree, with just a second to spare, then casually draped itself across the branch, leaving Ollie yelping and whimpering with frustration inches below.
After a few minutes of circling the tree, he walked back to me with a grumpy look on his face. I am sure if he could talk, he would have had something to say to that cat.
“One day, Yellow Cat. One day…”