My name is Marmaduke Dittman. Or Marmy for short. Mum (she calls herself that) tells all her friends that I have a pedigree as long as your arm and my pedigree name is Marmaduke Dittman.
Mum doesn’t know where the Dittman bit comes in. She says it’s something to do with a prefix or a suffix or something like that. But the Marmaduke bit is because I’m orange. They call me orange with orange eyes, but really I’m ginger, just like the cat next door that often tries to pick a fight with me.
Mum shows her friends the enormous sheet of paper that has my pedigree on it. Hundreds of names and dates. My Mum was called Angelika Dittman and my dad was called Duke of Dittman.
I’m a British Shorthair and everyone on my pedigree is a British Shorthair. Not like old Ginger next door who doesn’t even know who is mum and dad are.
There were five of us in the litter and we were all given names, beginning with M. I was the only boy and the only ginger one. The girls were called Marianne, Marcella, Margarette and Micaela.
Mum is an A cat, and that is why her name begins with A. The lady who bred us all has a different letter of the alphabet for each litter.
I also heard Mum telling her friends that both my mum and my dad had won prizes at cat shows. She says she’s going to show me too when I’m a bit older. She can think again. I don’t want people thinking I’m all posh because I’ve got a long name and a long pedigree and I go to cat shows.
I like to be normal. I like to do normal cat things like chasing butterflies among the flowers or rolling on the lawn and getting green stains on my orange coat, especially when the lawn has just been mowed.
I enjoy sitting on the windowsill in the sun and just watching the world go by. I like to watch old Ginger from next door try to catch birds. He never has done yet. He creeps about, then stalks the bird, but he just isn’t quick enough to catch them. I don’t agree with catching birds, so I just sit and watch.
Sometimes I wander off and talk to the neighbours. I’ve been in old Ginger’s house when he wasn’t there and stole some food from his dish. I’ve also sat on the breakfast counter and let his mum stroke me for a bit. His mum is very nice. She gives me little bits of cooked chicken when she’s making her sandwiches for work. I can smell the chicken from a mile off and I know old Ginger is out somewhere looking for a girl to chase and so I stroll in the house, settle myself down and eat. Then I come home again and sleep on the windowsill in the sun.
I often go to the house at the top of the road. The couple there are quite elderly, or older than Mum. They are wonderful people and they sit in their armchairs all day long and I sit on his lap first and purr and he strokes me and then I sit on her lap and purr and she strokes me.
There is a lovely log fire with a fluffy brown mat in front of it and I lay on that sometimes and roll about too and that makes them laugh. They have no kids and no pets but they even bought me a toy mouse on a piece of string and they swing it about and I jump after it and that makes them laugh too. I love to make people laugh.
When it is nearly getting dark, I sit by their back door in the kitchen and they sigh and tell me not to go back home, but I must because Mum would miss me terribly if I didn’t. In any case, I can smell cooking wafting down the road and so I must hurry home, just in case Mum has a tidbit for me.
I’ve been to the butcher’s shop in the village. Mum doesn’t know that. The butcher asked if it was me, but Mum said I wouldn’t do such a thing. I wouldn’t beg for scraps. She said it must be old Ginger from next door, as he’s the kind of common cat who would scrounge off anybody.
The butcher gives me little bits of meat and liver and all kinds of yummy stuff, and that’s why I keep going back there. Hope Mum doesn’t find out.
The other day, I heard Mum talking about a cat show. She said she’d entered my name in it. She’s been brushing me every day since and even got the cat carrier out and put it near the umbrella stand at the front door. Well, if she thinks I’m going to lower myself and let her take me to some crummy old cat show full of goodness knows how many cats of all ages, sizes and pedigree, then she’s got another think coming.
Mum locks the cat flap as soon as it gets dark as she does not like me wandering about all night long like old Ginger next door does. So I’ve decided I’m going to sneak out before she locks it and wander down the lane and over the fields and visit the farmer and his new born cows.
I’ve been there before a few times. The farmer is very nice and always says hello and what are doing here, and then he strokes me. I like it on the farm. It has lovely smells. The hay is very warm and I easily fall asleep when I lay on it. Sometimes the hens are clumsy and they break their eggs when they lay them and I eat them. They are delicious.
There are also mice and I am good at catching them, not like old Ginger. He couldn’t catch a cold if he tried. I won’t go hungry even if I stay there all weekend until the show is over. Mum will never find me. She might be cross though when I turn up again, but maybe she’ll decide I’m not a show cat after all.