When I first went freelance a few years ago, I was grateful for the chance to work stress-free and uninterrupted. I reckoned without my two rescue cats – Cleo and Twinkle. Here is a typical day.
6:15am Alarm. Writer gets up to make tea. Cleo and Twinkle rush to show her route to their food bowls in case she has forgotten.
6.45am Writer working in bed with tea and iPad. Cleo snores peacefully at foot of bed. Twinkle outside in pouring rain looking at writer through bi-fold doors. Writer stops work to let in Twinkle plus blast of icy air. Twinkle runs off to lie in puddle.
6.46am Writer working again. Twinkle reappears looking sadder and wetter. Writer ignores her, knowing her game.
6.47am Writer stops work to open bifold doors. Twinkle runs away again. Writer runs after her in PJs and bare feet.
6.48am Twinkle is dried on towel and attacks it. Emerges looking like pom-pom.
6.49am Twinkle runs through house to perfectly functioning cat door and goes outside again.
7.30am Writer at desk. Cleo still on bed so Writer cannot make bed. Benefit of cats. Twinkle returns and leaves trail of muddy pawprints. Drawback of cats. Jumps onto end of bed surprising Cleo. Cat fight. Writer stops working to break it up, sooth ruffled egos and pick up clumps of cat fur. Writer makes bed.
8am -12pm Writer at desk. Cats join her. Cleo walks across keyboard to give writer “cat tail moustache”. Twinkle sleeps on Writer’s notes. Cleo squashes onto writer’s chair. Writer perches on edge of chair until back pain makes her move Cleo who complains loudly. Writer picks up her notes. Twinkle has rolled over them adding pin holes, creases and paw prints.
Midday Writer walks to kitchen. Cats rush to show her route to their bowls in case she has forgotten. Bowls half-full. Writer rattles bowls and cats walk away.
12.15pm Cleo goes crazy with tennis ball. Writer wastes half a writing-hour playing with Cleo and becoming pin cushion.
12.45pm Twinkle finds pile of clean, folded washing. Goes to sleep on white items. Note – if Twinkle was white, Twinkle would sleep only on black items.
1pm Writer returns to work. Makes phone call to client about newspaper feature. Cleo leaps onto desk purring loudly and head-butts Writer and phone. Cleo put on ground. Repeat several times.
2pm Writer goes to run errands.
2.30pm Writer returns. Cats appear suffering from separation anxiety. Writer consumed with guilt gives them cat treats.
2.31pm Cats eat treats, ignore Writer and go to sleep.
4pm Cleo realises she has not forced Writer to unnecessarily let her in through bi-fold doors. Sits looking mournful outside study. Writer disregards her. She knows this game. Writer opens door. Cleo walks away. Writer closes door. Cleo returns. Repeat several times.
5pm Return of husband who is possessed of most comfortable lap. Cats jump on him and ignore Writer. Husband explains he cannot make dinner as cats are on his lap.
10pm Writer goes to bed.