The kitten doesn’t speak English. It’s not foreign, it’s just a cat. There’s no chastisement, no reason to which he’s amenable – and I think that’s why we don’t see eye to eye. He’s a loose canon. After two weeks of scarlet-faced bellowing and nun-shuddering curses, recognition is dawning: I cannot control him. He just does as he pleases, mocking my hospitality and testing my renowned powers of temperance and patience. The final insult every night is having to fish about the litter tray for his mummified crap. Not only is he a ceaseless uninvited guest at the breakfast table – or should I say, on the breakfast table – he walks across my keyboard, and has now taken to assaulting the verdant, sparkling delight that is my Christmas tree. Glistering baubles apparently emit some enchanting sub-sonic siren song, drawing him ineluctably toward them, batting and pouncing as he goes. He’s done for a snowman and a Yuletide robin already. And when he’s not menacing the decorations, he’s deforesting the lower limbs, gnawing off the sprigs and whirling about the room like a Somali on khat. I thought felines were supposed to be a soothing presence in the homestead, but ever since he arrived, my every thew and sinew has been as taught as a violin string. In fact, they do call it, ‘cat gut’, don’t they?