A Cat In The House Is Worth None In The Bush

Carole and myself are currently in discussions regarding the fate of the “privacy bush” that grows outside out front room window.

Our house seems to be fairly unique on the street in that the front room window starts at about knee level from the floor. What this means is that anyone outside can basically see everything inside the house, and when you live on a street with children as feral as this one, the last thing you want is to look up and see them just starting in at you while they eat crisps with open mouths and then throw the packet into your garden.

Hypothetically, of course.

The privacy bush, as we have come to know and love it, has grown to cover a decent amount of the window while still letting light in. In winter it is an unsightly twiggy mess and in spring and summer it is a beautiful green barrier against nosiness.

And when it’s windy the branches beat against the window like a psychopath desperate to get on with the dismembering.

So the future of the bush is up for debate. Although we seem to have both agreed that it will be harshly cut back and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Today, I took the opportunity to have a look at one of the issues that the privacy bush raises with its wild growth – the fact that it is entangled in the wires that run down the front of the house – the telephone, the satellite and (I think) the aerial wire, because there is still an aerial in the house, albeit unconnected to anything. The bush has grown into the wires and as it swings in the breezes and storms that buffet us and have ridiculous names, it pulls at the wires. And then the wires start to swing free from the wall.

So I opened the front room window to have a looksee at them. It’s easier to get at the wires from inside the house than it is to fight through the skeletal branches of the privacy bush. My first move, I thought, would be to snip away a few of the offending branches before I tidied the wires up with zip-ties.

So I left the open window and went to the kitchen to find the secateurs.

I didn’t even make it to the kitchen – a journey of some eight to ten feet, before I was joined in the front room by Trixie, the cat from down the street. She had, bold as brass, just strolled through the open window and was peering round the side of the TV. If she wasn’t wearing her collar with distinctive bell, she could have gotten anywhere in the house and I wouldn’t realise, but as it was I managed to shut the doors to kitchen and hallway confining her to the front room.

I hate throwing her out, especially when the weather’s a bit cold and damp. I mean she’s so lovely and fluffy and her tail is all bushy and she’s cute and meowy and… but on the other hand Peppa really isn’t keen on her at the best of times, so were she to find her in the front room I think the fur would fly. Literally in this case.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to coax a cat back out through a window before. It’s not the easiest thing in the world. Sure, they’re all for it when it comes to entering a room that way. But leaving it offers them none of the comforts that, say, curling up on a couch or walking across the top of bookcase might bring. Outside is just cold and muddy and wet and not the inside of a house that you don’t live in.

I had to more or less post her through the slot. And then swiftly shut the window. Or as swiftly as it is possible to close a window while you’re acutely aware that the last thing you want to do is shut any part of a cat in it. Especially when it’s not your cat. But you wish that she was. Sometimes.

I managed to get her out, and she sat on the windowsill and stared at me like I was the worst person in the world.

And then she started attacking the privacy bush like it was the single best plaything she had ever come across. She was attacking branches left, right and centre. It was a joy to watch.

But does that mean we can’t cut the wretched thing down now? Is it fair that we remove something that is obviously so cherished by a cat that is not our own?