A few weeks ago a reader asked who and what is Moriarty and why is he named after a master criminal? Well, be curious no more. Moriarty is a sleek black feline that my niece, Medusa, spotted among a litter of feral kittens some years ago. He clawed his way over his siblings to get to her and has clawed things ever since.
His brother, Geoff the God of Biscuits, went to live with close friends and for a while it seemed they’d got the better deal. A nicer, more placid cat you couldn’t wish to meet but then, Geoff was hit by a car and suffered terrible injuries. He survived – thanks to a truly brilliant vet – but he lost an eye and most of his teeth. His warm-hearted personality remains intact though. Meanwhile, Moriarty has led a charmed life. Signing a deal with the Devil has suited him.
Bird life and small furry creatures have all suffered at the claws of Moriarty. The mortal remains of West country wildlife have littered the kitchen floor and squelched between the toes of unwary, barefoot, early risers. Also, larger animals have come to dread his soft-footed arrival. Yes, even Rufus the Superannuated who is twice his size. Not that Moriarty dares to threaten the star of He’s Too Sexy. No, in his presence, Moriarty becomes ultra affectionate rubbing his head under Rufus’s chin and winding himself round and around until Rufus can stand no more and bats the black cat away with a huge ginger paw. Rejected and nursing a bruised ego, Moriarty saunters off to take his frustration out on Floyd – he of the short legs. Being small and close to the ground, Floyd uses the cat-flap when he needs to visit the garden and this gives Moriarty much amusement. He waits until the dog has gone out and then he sits directly in front of the cat-flap. Floyd is a brave dog but he’s not stupid, he knows that if he dares to re-enter the house, Moriarty will be on him with claws bared and teeth gnashing. The status-quo remains until a human hears the sad whimpering coming from outside and opens the back door to let Floyd in (And offers him safe passage past the cat).
For too long this bewhiskered villain has wreaked havoc. He’s a cuddly purr machine when occupying the lap of a fire-side human but he’s not the soft, silky, bundle of affection that he wants us to think. He is a small furry demon. But … the universe has balance – yin and yang, the pleasure-pain principle, equal and opposite reactions, etc – and now Moriarty’s nemesis has arrived. No, it’s not the great Sherlock Holmes, it’s better than that. I am talking of my one true love (well, one of several true loves if I’m honest), the equally naughty and equally black, Eric. Being a force for good, he bears Moriarty no ill will but greater forces are at work here and when a cat runs away from him, Eric is compelled to follow. At speed.
The howling, growling, hissing and spitting emanating from a far corner of my sister’s house alerts us that the two animals have met (despite our efforts to keep them apart) and we rush to defuse the situation. Eric, hackles up will be found straining towards some high point in the room where an arched, spiky shadow with pointy teeth is staring down at him.
Poor Moriarty, if Eric is around, the cat hides upstairs, or in the outhouse. With family unity affected by this state of affairs my sister, in her role of matriarch and chief animal-lover, stepped in. She concluded that if she sat in the front room with Moriarty on her lap and Eric in the kitchen, she could make a fuss of the cat and reassure him that his family still loved him. Moriarty wasn’t sure but Little Sis persevered and the cat relaxed. Until some dumb klutz (me) left the door open and allowed Eric into the room. Little Sis hung on to the cat determined to prove he was safe, even with my dopey Doberman in the room, but Moriarty wasn’t convinced. Sinking his fangs deep into my sister’s finger, he persuaded her to let him go. At this point, I am fighting a tug of war with Eric’s collar as I drag him backwards from the room but I wasn’t too occupied to see Moriarty scamper up my sister’s face and place himself on her head. She was wearing a cat-hat complete with ten hat-pins to hold it firmly in place. Dog and cat fell silent, they bowed before my sister’s ability to out-shriek the pair of them. Sorry sis.
I respect my sister’s knowledge, experience and ability with all kinds of animals but I too am at the mercy of universal forces and if you’re going to get between opposing universal forces, you’re going to get hurt. Therefore, my sister’s injuries and later trip to A&E were not my fault. None the less, Eric and I have been banished to live in a house by ourselves while Moriarty lounges in Medusa’s bedroom listening to One Direction albums and eating premium cat food. Hah! Evil wins again.