Now I like a cigarette as much as the next man, more than the next man probably as I still enjoy an occasional smoke. Yes, I know, filthy habit, doing me no good, I really should give up, blah, blah; but I digress...
No. 4 Cat is a recent addition to the pen-thusiast household following the passing of No. 2 Cat. She's a sort of 'patchwork' cat (brown and orange tabby, tortoishell and white) from our local branch of the RSPCA and, to be honest, she's a bit strange.
The RSPCA's vet estimated her age at about two years old but, having been an amateur cat-wrangler for more years than I care to remember, I'd put it closer to six months old. She spent her first week trying to sleep on my head and only slowly took to having her own bed; it was like having a baby all over again. She will only eat dry catfood I was informed and this turned out to be true, for about 30 seconds until she noticed No. 3 Cat's dinner - her favourite flavour is now whatever anyone else is having, wet or dry, she's not bothered as long as it's in someone else's dish!
Her favourite source of water is the toilet, and the less said about that the better. No. 4 Cat also likes cheese. Cheddar cheese mind you, and not the cheap stuff, oh no. She will actually fight you for a piece so cheese smuggling is the new pastime at Pen-thusiast Towers. She's also fond of the meat out of your sandwich, all the tastier if you've fallen for her, "Look! there's Elvis!" routine - by the time you turn round to see what she's looking at you're enjoying a sandwich sans filling, but that's not her guilty pleasure...
No. 4 Cat's guilty pleasure is cardboard. Boxes, sheets, the inside bits from toilet rolls, she loves it all. She actually hunts cardboard and will steal it given half a chance, and when she gets hold of some she sits up on her hind legs like a squirrel and calmly and methodically shreds it. She has such a blissful look on her face when she's doing it too.
All of which was fine until No. 4 Cat discovered cigarette packets. Empty ones are her preferred choice, but she's not averse to pinching a full one if there are no empty packets within easy reach; I have the sneaking suspicion she's in league with the 'Stop Smoking' lobby. It seems to be her sole goal in life at the moment to get to my cigarettes before I do, she doesn't eat them, just delights in shredding them into tiny, tiny little bits which she leaves in a neat pile on the floor, then sits next to the pile with her best, "Look what I've done, aren't I clever?!" face on.
Cigarettes are now kept under tighter security than the gold at Fort Knox and what with that, the cheese smuggling and No. 4 Cat's recent habit of lying in wait on the top of an open door for unsuspecting passers-by, Pen-thusiast Towers is a strange place to be at the moment.