"captain catastrophe"


Ros3wks.jpg (82802 bytes)All the names that Roscoe has inherited in his 4 years, from his registered name to his pet name, to his nicknames have all been chosen for one reason and one reason only - because he is quite simply a walking disaster area. Not for Roscoe the agility of all our other Somalis – even the very simple task of jumping from one chair to another across a 2 foot gap results in him falling down into it! He is quite simply hopeless at doing anything which involves any degree of dexterity. He has a most wonderful personality, he is very affectionate, such fun to live with, never ceases to amuse us but he is quite simply useless!

He was the last kitten in the litter to be born and was the most active kitten we had ever birthed. He presented tail and feet first, which usually takes longer for the queen and while poor Kisha pushed to get those big shoulders and head out, his tail was swinging round and round in circles frantically, like he was telling the world he was raring to go. He was particularly human oriented from a very early age and purred continuously when we paid him attention at only 28 days, so we knew he was going to be a "people cat".

Ros8wks.jpg (133740 bytes)When it came to registering him, there was no contest, he just had to be "Feorag Caveat Emptor". As a legal secretary I was very familiar with this Latin phrase, which means "buyer beware" and I felt that anyone who bought him would need to be warned about his basic uselessness! However, it was that very uselessness that endeared him to Barry and I and he wasn’t that old before we decided that we were just going to have to keep him ourselves. Barry chose for him his pet name of Roscoe because he reminded him of the useless sheriff, Roscoe P Coltrane, from the TV series "Dukes of Hazzard" who, try as he might, could never catch the Duke Brothers and always got it wrong too. Barry saw the similarity and thought it was extremely suitable for our odd-ball Somali.

But it is as Captain Catastrophe that he is most often referred because he has so many catastrophes in his life. As I have said even the most basic of actions usually results in catastrophe. He cannot jump onto the workbenches in the kitchen without falling, he cannot even step over a small gap, but somehow he manages to vanish from sight to a hail of laughter from us both as we shout "Captain Catastrophe strikes again"

Ah, but what a personality! There is hardly a day goes by but we treasure him and love him. He is an extremely affectionate cat, loves to be cuddled (unlike most of our other Somalis who are very much "sorry no time for cuddles, I’ve got things to do!" cats. Roscoe just loves attention.

At his first show, he behaved reasonably impeccably – climbed up the bars a bit like his mother before him, but was very relaxed and happy, which we were delighted about, because we felt he had such potential. However, at his second show he was very upset by the smell of the disinfectant at vetting in and it put him in a very bad humour for the whole show. In fact when he was put into the pen, he lay down, folded in his forelegs and scowled just about all day - no climbing the bars in excitement this time! He did go to the Supreme, but when he grumbled at Grace Denny during the Kitten Best of Variety judging and she waggled her finger at him to tell him off, he wasn’t impressed by that at all and Barry withdrew him before he had a chance to get away with anything naughty. We gave him a rest after that, but it was obvious that showing was not going to be his forte. I could cry each day when I look at him, because he is just so beautiful and I do believe one of the best Somalis we have ever bred, but if he doesn’t like showing, then what is the point? So he stays at home and is basically ruined.

Ros6mths.jpg (137439 bytes)Every night when we go to bed we call the cats out of the living room with the usual "everybody out, it’s bedtime" call and out they all go and head off to the bedroom – except Roscoe. If he is out the living room at the time, he rushes in. If he is in, he walks over and sits in front of Barry, who says "OK, son, time for bed" and holds out his arms and Roscoe jumps into them. I say jumps into Barry’s arms, but jumps into the knee to groin region would be more accurate, as that’s about as high as he can jump. Barry catches him and hoists him up over his shoulder and then carries him to bed. Almost every night without fail - it’s just so funny to watch.

However, my main reason for writing this story is to tell you about the latest escapade which happened some 2 months ago. It was about 8:00pm and I had gone upstairs to bath Cadbury for his forthcoming show and Barry had gone across to our neighbours to turn on their lights as they were away on holiday. I had shampooed and rinsed Cadbury and was doing his second shampoo when the smoke alarm in the hall went off. I stretched across the bathroom floor hanging onto Cadbury, who I knew would jump out the bath if I left him and scatter soapsuds everywhere, opened the bathroom door and called for Barry. No reply - he was still across the road. However, there was a really bad burning smell coming into the bathroom when I opened the door so I knew it needed investigating and pretty quick. I left Cadbury in the bathroom and rushed downstairs to see Captain Catastrophe (who else?) standing on the cooker in the kitchen investigating one of the burners, while a plume of smoke rose from the end of his tail! I screamed – what else would you expect me to do? – and he shot off out into the garden in a panic because he obviously thought he had been caught doing something wrong. When I called him in, he rushed past me upstairs and hid under the bed obviously thinking "Oh boy I’m in serious trouble here". However I could see that the tail wasn’t actually on fire, as he shot past me, but was considerably shorter! By this time Barry had come back in and he went to coax Roscoe out from under the bed while I went back to the bathroom and Cadbury, who shot out the bathroom door as I opened it scattering water and soap suds all the way down the stairs! I suppose if the house had been on fire, then Cadbury could have put it out!

What had happened was that Barry had forgotten to turn off the gas when taking a pan off the cooker at tea-time and the gas had been on since then. What amazed me wasn’t particularly that Roscoe had obviously gone on the cooker and set his tail on fire. But that in the time it had taken the smoke to reach the smoke alarm in the hall, me to get to the bathroom door, call Barry, realise he wasn’t in to deal with the situation, lock Cadbury in the bathroom and go downstairs myself, that Roscoe, in typical Captain Catastrophe style, was still standing on the cooker investigating, apparently unaware that his tail was on fire!

Fortunately, the damage was only superficial and cosmetic! He has a very long and very well furnished tail (or should I say HAD!) and I assume the thickness of the hair meant that it singed and sort of melted and smoked, but never reached the skin at all, so he was incredibly lucky. He ended up with a tail which in overall length was about 3 inches shorter than it had been. About 10 inches of the remaining tail was normal Somali feathery plumed tail and the last 2/3 inches was short coated rather like an Abyssinian tail! It was the following day that I noticed he had also managed to singe off one set of eyebrows! Had it been any other of our Somalis, we would have been very surprised, but not Roscoe – it was just another typical "Captain Catastrophe strikes again" scenario.

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