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Dogs and Gods

The great Terry Pratchett once commented about cats that in centuries past our feline friends were worshipped as gods and that they have not forgotten this.

Now, that quote would have passed me by unnoticed six months ago but now, since increasing the size of our family by a factor of two kittens, it is a comment I can see to be steeped in wisdom.

I did not grow up liking cats. Dogs were the pets of choice for the Watt family, while cats were the pesky blighters that would run up and down the garden walls and reduce out dear pooches to foaming, barking beasts.

Of course, the unwritten rule is that one cannot like cats if one likes dogs. It’s the kind of clear cut delineation that this country thrives one. You are a Yorkist or a Lancastrian; Royalist or Parliamentarian, Labour or Conservative, Betamax or Video. Even those who do not own a pet are encouraged to side with a camp.

I liked dogs, I told my wife firmly, these kittens may live in the house but they should not expect my affection. Yet as I watch Molly, the more precocious and mischievous of the kittens, nudge my glass of water towards the edge of my desk, I realise I’ve been turned by these two omnipresent gods that take up three quarters of the bed every night.

They came, they saw, they conquered (and then, of course, they turned their backs to show who was really boss). So I am now a coalition of pet preferences; an unstable union between the feline and canine camps - watching with pride as our cats prance along the garden fence while feeling sorry for the poor terrier barking with frustration on the other side.

Perhaps this is the future – neither betamax nor video but blu-ray.

Have a wonderful April.

Jon Watt is editor of the Clapham & Battersea and Fulham editions of Time & Leisure Magazine.