Ollie had always adored our neighbour across the road but Maurice wanted to keep the relationship platonic. It was OK for Maurice to give Ollie his morning pat and talking-to but there were to be no familiarities. Then Maurice retired, changing the pattern of things. Ollie reasoned that this was just the time to put their relationship on a proper footing. Maurice lived alone in a large, catless house. He cooked delicious roasts every Sunday and gobbled them up himself. Ollie threw himself at the screened doors and windows and yowled pleadingly. When Maurice ignored him Ollie thought he was mean, mean, mean. It was time to bring out the big guns.
One morning I found Maurice standing on a ladder. He was trying to stretch some netting from the base of his top storey bedroom along the side of the jutting out roof of the garage. Ollie was sitting on the bottom rung of the ladder, wearing a smirk. "That cat," shouted Maurice. "He's driving me mad. Every night he's up on the roof, banging and thumping, yowling and clattering - he's a real clatter cat."
I sighed. Putting up netting to stop Ollie was like trying to stop the tide coming in. "Perhaps it would be easier to let him," I suggested.
"Never," yelled Maurice. "That cat isn't going to get the better of me. The first night he really fooled me. I thought he was stuck on the roof so I let him in my bedroom window. Then I took him downstairs and put him out the back door. He was back on the roof in minutes!"
Ollie went through the netting like a knife through cheese. When I peeked out the window during the next night I saw him silhouetted against the moon on Maurice's roof, yodelling his heart out.
The following day Maurice was back at work. He looked grimmer and paler. Under Ollie's interested gaze he strengthened the netting and added some bits of wood. Useless. If anything Ollie really enjoyed the challenge.
Maurice decided that a small shrub by the six foot fence was the culprit. He reasoned that Ollie clambered up the shrub, balanced on the top of the corrugated iron and then flung himself at the roof, hauling himself up the netting. Out came the shrub. Maurice had barely turned his back before I saw Ollie answer the challenge. He leapt to the top of the fence in one fluid motion and in another gigantic leap, cleared the netting easily and thundered down onto the roof.
The following day Maurice gave up. He pulled down the netting and went out to buy some ear plugs. I could have told him that he needn't have bothered. I had seen Ollie watching the new neighbours moving in on the corner. I knew that cat would would be fully occupied in the foreseeable future. The neighbours had two cockatiels in a large golden cage.