Extract

Pushkin

On young male cats behaving badly

The sound that has arrested my attention is the creaking of the wrought-iron bracket containing the flower pot, from which is hanging, by one front leg, a long bodied, sleek, glistening blue tomcat. As I watch him, he is, by dint of this one foreleg, slowly revolving one way and then the other. The bracket on the wall is one and a half times my height. I pause, wondering how long he can hold this impossible position.

Pushkin, for of course it is he, turns and looks at me with an expression that contains within it an element of anguish and even concern, mingled with annoyance. As I stride across, intending to rescue him, he twists himself around, yanks his claws free of the bracket and jumps down and, cat-like to cover his embarrassment, saunters over to a plant-pot holder and, in the time-honoured convention of displacement activity, drinks long and hard without giving me so much as a glance.