Pluto was a cat quite like any other and definitely cock of the walk. I have rarely seen a cat his equal in size and that was not through overeating. He liked to throw his weight around and the people in the Street gave the nick name "Burt Reynolds" because of the way he swaggered about, and it was rumoured that there were more than one or two little Pluto's about.
He regarded everybody's flat as an invitation to enter and make himself at home. As many of the flats had catflaps and others left there window's open there was little to stop him.
My first acquaintance with Pluto was from trying to shoo him from my mother's kitchen, we were determined not to feed him as that would only encourage him.
Pluto was not a stray, however and he did become quite attached to our flat, as we did undertake to feed him whilst his owners were away.
Later on he took against his owners when their neighbours bought a large Doberman, and he could never be persuaded to go back. From then on he was our cat as much as he was anybody's, and he came away with us for holidays in the Caravan and taught us a trick or two.
As he got older, he settled down to his home base, and decided not to be put off when we took on a puppy from our neighbours, which had not been housetrained.
We penned the pup up in a part of the room, and naturally Pluto was curious as he could here dog, but not see where it was. At first he climbed onto a cupboard to see what we had bought in to annoy him and having seen what it was he grew bold enough to take a closer look.
From then on Pluto was boss, and even though the dog, which had gone back to our neighbours, grew much larger, it knew who was boss as well, and it was quite a comical sight to see Pluto keeping this dog at bay, with a hiss or a snarl if it got in his way.
He sometimes treated humans like that too. If you wanted to sit on his favourite chair where he had made himself comfortable, even if you sat on him he would not move.
Although he knew what cat flaps were for, if there were humans about it was beneath his dignity to open them. You would have to hold it open while he sniffed about and decide whether the weather was good enough to go out. And woe betide you if you tried to hurry him!
On the surface though he appeared a very placid and laid back cat, as with all cats he liked to spend as much time as he could cat napping. He had the peculiarity which I have not seen in many cats of lying on his back and twisting his head and paws round in what appeared to be anatomically impossible positions. Strangely he was comfortable like that.
There was only one other cat who got his measure, and that was Circe. She respected him as the boss cat, waiting for him to ask for food or to go out first, and would actually stare at him until he did something to attract our attention. She grew very fond of him and liked to lick his fur, but he didn't like that but eventually conceded there was nothing he could do about it. Circe was not in the least bit scared of him, and used to follow him everywhere with a dog like devotion.
Pluto could get quite nasty if he wanted, and had a powerful bite, but he never did any more than threaten Circe, who just ignored his threats for what they were. Idle boasting.
Pluto, never enjoyed good health though, probably due to his pedigree. He survived a dose of cat flu, through careful nursing, when other cats did not. However in his fifteenth year, he went blind. He had been losing his sight over a period of time, and had adapted, calling out when he was lost and waiting for me to guide him by clapping my hands. Eventually it was too much for him and when he could no longer find his way to his food or litter tray we had to make a solemn decision.
Circe seemed to understand what was happening and on his last day she never left his side, curling up next to him as he slowly fell asleep under the vets injection. It was a very touching moment.
Copyright © 1998 Laurence Arnold
This page was created on, Saturday, October 18th 1998
Most recent revision Sunday June 6th 1999