The story of Mr Bengal, the peeping Tom next door

This is the ins’purr’rational story of friendship, love and a little boy and his mummy who’d really like to get their paws on Mr Bengal next door.

The story began the day we viewed our new home. The previous owners had obviously owned a cat and Mr Bengal had obviously been coming in and out of the house via an open cat flap for quite some time.

We wondered if he was feral as he purred and wrapped himself around our legs. He seemed sweet, but as we found out appearances can be deceptive.

We didn’t see him again until we were emptying huge crates full of all our worldly goods in the dining room.

All seemed calm at Saffronandcyrus HQ … until Bengal arrived from next door.

This huge, exotic looking jungle cat with his vivid coat of many colours startled me. I screamed and dropped Cyrus’s bottle of milk on the floor.

He was sitting on the window ledge, his large, oval eyes following my every move. He starred into the room as though he owned the place. I went into the living room and low and behold there he was again furtively peeking at me through the blinds.

This was one nosy, arrogant peeping Tom, who also proved to be vocal and noisy too.

Now once upon a time, I had three cats. They were my life. That was until I met H who gave me an ultimatum. Yes, you heard right. It was either the cats went, or he did. Decisions, decisions.

He was no animal lover and so they went to live with a lovely, single cat lady friend of mine in Newton Aycliffe.

Back to Mr Bengal who had gone into stealth mode by this point. It’s like he was toying with us. We were being plagued by this leopard-like creature who would just arrive out of nowhere and sing to us Cat-power like from the window ledge. His beady eyes just starring at us.

This mysterious miaower continued for several weeks before we finally realised he belonged to the couple next door.

After a series of peeping tom incidents and the constant feeling that someone was watching us, we started joking about ways to curb his freaky feline behaviour.

We agreed that making sure all the windows and doors were locked at night was a good first step and planting lavender boxes on our window ledges may also work. There was no way we’d catnap him though.

We wanted rid of this fat cat and his suspicious behaviour once and for all, but using natural shoo-ing methods only.

Then came a tale of unrequited love. A heart-warming scene between Cyrus and Mr Bengal that taught us a lesson about the joy cats can bring into a small child’s life.

Every day Cyrus would see Mr Bengal at the window and pull himself up to the ledge to babble at him through the glass.

Bengal in return would miaow back, rubbing his head against the window pane, then purring.

The lavender plants were no match for this pair’s admiration of each other and we ended up repotting them elsewhere.

So now, paws on railings and small hands on window pane, they can continue their friendship. And we have given up on Bengal-proofing our home.

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