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Some of you may recognise this as a modified version of an earlier Page entry. Oh well, never mind.


angry cat

In the 1930s, an Austrian physicist, Erwin Schrodinger, came up with a paradox called Schrodinger’s Cat. You put a cat in a box, and it may or may not be killed by a random event with a 50/50 chance of happening. So at any one time the cat may be alive, or it may be dead. Since both states are equally likely, the cat is both alive and dead at the same time. You can only tell when you open the box. But when you open the box it changes the conditions, so the cat may have been alive, or dead, before you did. Weird, huh?

Weird or not, I’ll tell you this. There are practical problems with the experiment. I may be the first person in the world to find a basic flaw in Schrodinger’s paradox.

A cat won’t go into a box without a fight. It just won’t. If you’ve ever tried to get a cat into a pet carrier, you’ll know this. We have to tip ours headfirst into the armour-plated container and bang the door shut very quickly.

Then when you open the box you risk losing an eye. Dead or alive, our cat would come out fighting. She’d be really pissed off about the whole being put in a box thing.

By coincidence, our cat Snotbag was born the day we got married. She fights dirty. Always has, ever since she was a small, adorable, fluffy, big-eyed, psychopathically violent kitten. If she can’t bite or scratch because you’ve got her wrapped upside down in a bath towel, ready to give her some medication – a process that requires planning and execution of special forces precision if you don’t want to lose a finger – she’ll try and headbutt you. Having a row with Snotbag is like rowing with a savagely animated hank of wool studded with razorblades and with a rock at one end.

Even the vet is wary of her, and she sees some bad animal behaviour on a daily basis. Generally we take Snotbag to Dr Jordan after she’s caned the crap out of the semiferal tom from the farm next door. Bloody but unbowed, limping, missing clumps of fur, Snotbag does not like having her temperature taken, and she lets you know. It takes three people to restrain her.

‘OK, a dirty fight, she’s been bitten and scratched to buggery; that’s a medical term, by the way.’

‘You should see the tom from next door. He won’t be sitting down for a day or so. Not till the swelling in his bollocks goes down.’

‘She’s a real scrapper isn’t she? I’ve met some scrappers in my time, but she takes the gong. Hang on a sec. Hold her down! All our lives are at stake!’ This last bit to the struggling assistants. ‘She needs antibiotics. I could prescribe orals, but I imagine you’d prefer something less life threatening. I’m talking about your life here. So a depot injection while we still have her in lockdown.’

Dr Jordan and I understand each other very well. I like her.

‘How much?’

‘Ninety quid. Plus forty for the consultation.’

‘Bloody hell. How’s the holiday home in Mustique?’

‘Coming along.’

Snotbag’s fireproof. She once managed to get a tuna steak off the barbecue. And heatproof. She once yanked some chicken giblets out of the pan as I made some stock. And waterproof. Charlie and I were having fun in the bath one day, and Snotbag came to make our lives a misery; she’s extremely disapproving of our love life. She jumped on the edge of the bath, lost her footing, skittered about briefly, and fell in. I swear she rebounded off the surface.

She’s also brickproof. Our opposite neighbour hurls these at her when she craps in his garden, since she’s much too fastidious to shit on her own turf. They just bounce off. It’s like watching The Incredible Hulk stopping a stolen car with his chest. Maybe even atomic bomb proof. I suspect that after the holocaust, Snotbag would prowl about in the deep dark of nuclear winter preying on the cockroaches.

So she’s volatile, fireproof, heatproof, waterproof, brickproof, bombproof. Just like Charlie and me.