Katz Tales: Tic Tac’s English garden adventure

Tic Tac is an adventurous kitty. Photos: ELLEN WHYTE

It's spring, which means the sun shines brightly while an icy wind blasts cunningly. It’s not a combination that works well for tropical Malaysian cats but Tic Tac has been desperate to get outside.

I blame it on the seagull. This avian thug sits right outside the office window, teasing our princess by flapping his wings insolently. Now that it is spring, there are also blackbirds, thrushes, robins and pigeons flying in. Tic Tac sees them all and she is dying to go and check out the garden.

We nipped out in February, with me holding her in my arms but it was so cold that we lasted less than a minute.

However, Tic Tac has grown a thick fur coat. So when the mercury hit 14°C, I brought out her harness.

Spotting it, Tic Tac squeaked and danced on her tip toes, purring loudly with excitement.

As I clipped her in, I worried about the weather. Tic Tac was so keen that she wouldn’t notice frosty paws and ears. So, to make sure I stayed aware of the chill factor, I left my coat on the rack.

Carrying her out, we stood on the path. Tic Tac popped her paws on my shoulder, pinned back her ears and panted intensely, sniffing the air. Called the flehmen response, this is classic kitty behaviour in a new environment. (See sidebar)I waited till she was satisfied and then we stepped into the garden. It never occurred to me that Tic Tac had never seen grass before.

Back home in Malaysia, Tic Tac walked on our path and in the fern patch. There was grass at the end of the street, but as it was the home of the python that killed Swooner, it was off-limits.

Tic Tac stood on the grass, wriggling her toes. When the blades tickled her tummy, she danced forward.

It’s soft, English grass and our lawn is covered with daisies and dandelions. Tic Tac loved it! She sniffed the daisies and checked out the dandelions. Sniffing up their perfume, she panted intensely again, squeezing her eyes shut as she took in the rich garden scents.

Tic Tac sniffing the bluebells.Tic Tac sniffing the bluebells.

But when we trotted to the border to examine the bluebells, Tic Tac sniffed the damp soil. The rich black earth smelled exciting but again, our princess has never seen anything like it.

She reached out a hesitant paw, withdrew it, glanced around and crouched, shivering.

Tic Tac is an adventurous cat but the overwhelm was easy to spot. I lifted her up, tucked her into my neck and carried her home.

However, the adventure stirred her. The very next day, she stood at the window, peering excitedly at the birds flying in and out.

This time, there was no intensive panting: Tic Tac was on a mission. She trotted through the daisies, aiming straight for the driftwood seat and bench.

Back home, she slept on these. They’re too large for our house now, but ideal for the garden. Not only do they look pretty, but they’re fabulous bird tables.

Tic Tac was all over them, button nose wrinkling like a sniffer dog. I’m certain she could smell the cheeky gull, the bold pigeon, and the sprightly robins and blackbirds.

It being her second adventure and with no cold wind, we were more relaxed. Tic Tac sat down and gazed about. She checked the flowers, the garden shed and the wall. Then, standing up and stretching her neck, she chattered excitedly.

Looking up, I saw gulls circling high in the sky. They were miles away but Tic Tac had no problem recognising them. She squeaked defiance, but the birds circled and soared, disappearing in the direction of the sea. However, the fat pigeon that was sitting on the shed took fright and flapped away.

Tic Tac sat on the bench, smiling. From her satisfied expression, she counted it a victory.

Tic Tac chattering at the birds.Tic Tac chattering at the birds.

Our princess preened, claiming the garden as her territory. Taking in her kingdom, she jumped down and sniffed the daisies again. Then, trotting with determination, she went straight to the bluebells.

After lots of sniffing, ears flat back with concentration, she put careful paw on the soil and jumped back. I rubbed her cheek, and put a finger in the soil to show her it was safe.

It took a moment but Tic Tac is very brave. She took the plunge and put two paws on the earth. When the ground stayed solid, she took a deep breath and went straight for the flowers.

Tic Tac acted cool, it’s her princess DNA at work, but I knew she was close to overwhelm because she stepped past a snail. The poor thing almost died of fright, retreating pronto into its shell, but Tic Tac didn’t even see it. She was totally absorbed, patting the bluebells, and making them swing.

I let her play and, when my hands and her fur became cold to the touch, we called time.

Stepping back into the warm house, we found Inkie waiting at the door. Dying with curiosity, he sniffed Tic Tac all over. His ears went back and forward with excitement as he sniffed up the mixed scents of wildflowers, grass and soil.

Target came to look too, so Tic Tac was given proper respect and heroine treatment.

Target is too old for the cold. He looks out of the window every day, but then goes straight to bed, warming up under the duvet. Like the sensible senior he is, he has no interest in exploring outside.

But Inkie is a huge boy with thick fur so he is made for the outdoors. However, he is also very shy. Unsure of his wishes, I stroked his ears and picked up the halter. Inkie promptly bolted for the stairs.

Now I’m not saying that Tic Tac laughed, but the distinct prance to her step signals her secret pride.

Tic Tac is the queen of her realm, seeing off cheeky birds and leaving her brothers in awe of her daredevil courage.

Adopt Me

Photo: LILY LENG/SPCA PenangPhoto: LILY LENG/SPCA Penang

Maisey is nine months old, fully vaccinated, and spayed. This sweet pretty cat came to the SPCA when she was just three months old. She is very energetic and playful. Maisey is also friendly with other cats.

Interested adopters please contact SPCA Penang, Jalan Jeti Jelutong, 11600 Jelutong, Penang. Phone: 04-281 6559. Website: https://spca-penang.net

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Cats , cat behaviour , cat nose


Next In Family

Smile without fear: Why a child's first trip to the dentist should be pleasant
Your pet: When it's time for a checkup
Making old ways new: Why rainwater harvesting should be a norm in households
These eight essential children’s books help explain mental health to the young
Why a better support system is a must to help parents of kids with LLCs
Finding the perfect purebred pup
Challenges and triumphs: Parents share stories about kids with special needs
Which cat breeds live the longest?
Malaysian single dad of a pre-teen daughter shares his fatherhood journey
Starchild: Why Malaysian kids think their dads are cool

Others Also Read