In the London area at the moment there’s been a wave of killings of cats. Nobody has coughed for it, so the ‘M25 killer’s’ identity remains a mystery. It has been suggested in all seriousness that a pigeon fancier (or several fanciers) are in the frame here, because the fancy really hate cats. I’m not convinced.

Enter one Stanley Fletcher, who wrote a letter to the i pointing out that cat owners allow their pets to go freely onto other people’s property and thus expose them to risk. A couple of things spring to mind here.

Nobody has ever, and I do mean ever, owned a cat. Cats tolerate you in their space, and that’s it. They won’t even do that if you don’t feed them, they’ll just bugger off and find somebody who will.

Then we have the aspect that cats have a legal right to roam. It’s a legal artefact that dates back to the 1971 Animals Act, when the feline population did an exercise in mind control and ensured that the legislation about livestock didn’t include them, the cussed little buggers.

Even given this, ‘owners,’ and I use the term loosely, have a legal obligation to make sure cats don’t damage property, or injure anybody. Well, good luck with that, as they say.

Mr Fletcher goes further.

‘Control and supervise your pet at all times; its behaviour and safety is your responsibility.’

That’s when you know that Mr Fletcher has no concept whatsoever of what ‘owning’ a cat entails. There’s a reason that a difficult or onerous task is sometimes described as ‘like herding cats.’ If you think rounding up sheep is tough, you need to re-evaluate a few things.

A cat’s behaviour is predicated entirely on its wishes, not on yours. It will not, under any circumstances, be dictated to. It will flagrantly disobey you, and carry on in its own sweet way. That’s one reason cats are cool, and I’m such an ailurophile. Nothing short of a minefield and electrified razor wire will keep a cat on its own turf.

You cannot control your cat, nor can you supervise it. Anybody who has had experience of the grand feline tradition of the ‘mad half hour at midnight’ knows this. They just go bananas, and you just have to wait for them to calm down, get it out of their system, then come and jump on your head and try and catch your eyeballs when you finally enter REM sleep.

And lest you think cats do not have telepathic powers, let me disabuse you.

cats and the law