Have you ever lost your temper? Completely? I hope you have, because that would mean I’m not alone in my disgrace.

Bilbo and TammyI lost mine quite spectacularly the other day with the grumpy Tammy, bane of my life. She’d been getting preferential treatment from Mum and Dad and it hurt my sense of justice. I mean: why should she be served her special delicious chicken dinner three times a day while I only got one and a measly bowl of dry biscuits in between? And why did Mum fuss over her every time she had a little sniffle or was off her food? She never worries about me when I’m out hunting all day. All I get when I come home after a hard day’s stalking in the field next door is a quick ‘hello’, if I’m lucky. Tammy is allowed to sleep on Mum and Dad’s big bed and behaves as though she owns Mum’s lap. It just isn’t fair!

The other morning, when Mum and Dad were still asleep, Tammy came downstairs and planted herself by the back door, expecting someone to appear magically and open it for her. When nobody did (Hello! They were asleep upstairs!) she wandered over to my bowl and helped herself to my meagre rations, leftovers I had carefully saved up from the night before.

Bilbo on top of the cupboardI’m sorry to say I lost it then, charged at her from behind with a wild yowl and bit her paw hard. She jumped about a foot into the air and yelped before taking off across the kitchen, across the hallway and upstairs, trailing blood all the way. When I saw all the red paw prints I knew I was in trouble and swiftly retreated to my hiding place on top of the dresser.

Strangely, when Mum and Dad came downstairs and saw the mess, they didn’t yell at me at all. Mum spent a long time cleaning the paw prints off the carpet, but she didn’t tell me off, and Dad put my collar with the bell on me as usual before I went outside, and stroked my back. I was confused. Later on, I joined Dad in his woodwork room for a quiet chat, man-to-man. He told me Tammy was really old and had kidneys that weren’t working too well, which made her thinner all the time. I hadn’t noticed that, but once I thought about it, I knew he was right: she’s little more than skin and bones. He also said Mum was going to be very sad when Tammy finally left us to cross the Rainbow Bridge, which might be quite soon.

our Christmas treeI wandered off to think it all over and felt pretty bad about what I’d done. In the afternoon, Mum and Dad set up the Christmas tree and the house with the little humans and the sheep, ox and donkey that I like to look at. There was soft music in the room and the forest smell from the tree, and I felt very happy. So when Tammy came in and looked scared when she saw me, I held out my paw of friendship to her and apologised sincerely for my bad behaviour. She came to sit beside me and we purred together as we looked at the tree in all its splendour. The peace of Christmas filled my heart and I hoped Tammy would get to stay with us for a while yet.

I tell you what though: I’m going to make very sure I never get kidneys. They sound like a lot of trouble to me.  Merry Christmas, efurryone, and may the spirit be with you, too!

Till the next time,

Bilbo xx

Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)