Why having a black cat can cause the occasional problem

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El Mog is a black cat (yes; I'm a single woman in my early thirties living on my own with a black cat. Were this medieval times, I would have been denounced as a witch some time ago. BURN HER! BURN HER!). And the thing about black cats in London is that there are shitloads of them. During my entire Northern childhood I don't think I saw more than handful of black cats – it's all tabbies up there – but here, some black tom in generations past has copulated its genes far and wide. Animals shelters despair at the numbers of them. You run out of ways to describe them to potential adopters. What differentiates this small black three-year-old female from this one? Or these other seven? What? You want the ginger and white? Yeah, fair enough.

There are plenty of other black cats living around here. There's the well known long haired one with a cataract, sometimes hanging around the Co-op, that belongs to Hither Green's official mad cat lady Doris. Most of the others have some small white markings, but recently another, totally black, cat has moved in. It already confused my Mum over the summer ("the cat's out in the garden"; "no he isn't, I just left him in the kitchen"; "then there's a cat in your garden") and this morning I let Mog in without really paying attention (changing shoes). As I popped outside to hang out the washing, I noticed a small black catty head peering balefully at me from the garden wall.

I know I say Mog's fat. He is. He has an enormous stomach and a big fat arse. But his head is really quite tiny and he has exquisitely delicate paws. This cat was only really visible from the shoulders up… and I couldn't tell. I swear, I had no idea if I'd just let a strange cat into my house or not. (It's not as daft as it sounds – last week a black and white thing made two determined efforts to charge past my legs and into the kitchen.) I had to get to within ten feet of it to see if I could see any distinguishing features, like his ripped ear or missing tooth –

– actually, before finishing that thought, let's take a moment to consider what a feline ragbag Mog is. Done? OK –

– and even when it eventually turned tail and legged it, I was only really convinced when I went back inside and poked the animal having a drink of water.

I am this close to painting a fluorescent stripe down him. I think lime green would work, don't you?

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