Bryony Gordon has a change of cat heart!
I've been trying to remember an act of sibling aggression that would beat the one displayed by my dear sister over the festive period, but I can't. There was the time I wore her favourite Topshop dress and stubbed a fag out on it, and when we were little I told her that Mum had moved to Swaziland, when she had just popped across the road to Sainsbury's. But my sister's act of antagonism wins: namely, she bought a cat.
I live with my sister, which means I now also live with a cat. And I don't like cats. I make no apologies for this – cats smell, cats scratch, cats would defecate on my herb garden if I had one – though this is not to say that I dislike all animals. I am a big fan of those ones in the wild that are able to look after themselves.
When my sister announced she was getting this cat – a three-year-old rescue moggy who had the same name as her ("it's a sign!") – she argued that it would rid us of our mouse. But as I wrote in this column a few weeks ago, I would rather live with a mouse in the house than a cat in the flat. "I don't read your column," said my sister curtly.
Her case was backed up by my mother, and so it was that I returned home one day to the smell of tuna, cat biscuits and litter trays. Oh, and a black and white cat with a pink nose, sleeping in my knicker drawer.
For the rest of the day, the cat got up only to find somewhere new to rest: under a bed, behind a sofa, in the fruit bowl. It purred a lot and was well-trained in the toilet department; as I went to bed, I told my sister that her new pet was OK, given that it barely moved
But a short time after midnight, the cat woke up. It started meowing loudly to be let out; when it realised it couldn't be let out, not for a few weeks anyway, it started singing and dancing.
For several days, this went on: the cat would snooze all day and party at night, leaving us delirious with fatigue. I bought earplugs. Eventually, I stopped being aware of it jumping on and off my bed during the wee hours of the morning. As I left for work yesterday, I found it sleeping off a hard night's partying on the sofa. I stroked our cat affectionately – yes, it's ours now, not just my sister's – and I said to myself: "We're not so different, you and I. I think we're going to get on.