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  • Writer's pictureAlan Martin

Mr Humphries, are you free?

(Sadly, between me originally posting this in 2013 to me moving it in 2022, Mr Humphries had to be put down after a series of fits saw him go from healthy to terminally ill in a week. It's strange seeing his stray-like form here, when he became so... Rubenesque over the subseqent six years.

Anyway, the original excitable post continues below:)

When I bought my home last July, I opted for a house rather than a flat. I did this despite geographical and financial inconvenience (not to mention having to maintain a garden - a task I have spectacularly failed in to date), but because I’d wanted a cat for years, and it always seemed a little cruel to get one in a flat, where they can’t roam, get stroked by strangers and be a terror to the nearby fauna and flora of the community.

Despite this, to date, I’ve hesitated. I’ve basically put up with longer commutes (and even longer grass in the garden) without the whole reason a house appealed in the first place. That is, until yesterday, for now I am officially a cat owner.

Meet Mr Humphries*:

As my girlfriend has a dog called The Fonz (a charmingly full-of-beans Jack Russell), another sitcom character name seemed appropriate. I’m trying to train him to meow when I say ‘Mr Humphries, are you free?’ For now though, he seems more intent on headbutting everything he sees. Quite hard too.

Y'see, Mr Humphries is a fighter. He was a stray until he was hit by a car. He had a hernia, and several other operations with roughly a 40% chance of survival. But he’s made it - he currently has stitches along the length of his stomach, and shaven patches on both his flanks, his front leg and on his jaw (which also currently sports a wire that can be removed in a few weeks).

Despite staying at the vets for several months before coming home with me yesterday, he has a stray cat mentality towards food. When we met him, he was itching to get out of his cage. When we opened the door he made a beeline for the cupboard in which its kept. Now in my home (on wet food only until his jaw recovers), he attacks every meal like it’s his last - with the same curious headbutting that he greets every piece of furniture in the house. As a result, he constantly has bits of food in his fur. You can’t put his bowl down without him headbutting the bowl before it touches the ground (causing a lot of spilt water so far).

Say hello, readers.

* The vets where he was being fostered had called him Alan. Suffice it to say I wasn’t quite narcissistic enough to keep that moniker.

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Note: This post originally appeared on The Inquirer, which heartbreakingly closed in December 2019, losing a huge amount of my best work in the process. Given it's all been scrubbed from the internet


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