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I have a cat called Monty who suffers from bladder-control problems. Actually that's misleading. I've every reason to believe he is in full control of what happens. I still recall the look in his eye as he firmly held my gaze while drenching the DVD player. It said: "Here's my review of season three of Breaking Bad", or something like that.
I always assumed that he did this because he is a cat. I never for one minute considered that he might do it because he is a Monty. I am now questioning my reasoning after my cat's namesake, sometime England spinner Monty Panesar, also found himself in trouble for the way in which he chooses to discharge urine.
Panesar did his own idiosyncratic version of the sprinkler from atop Brighton promenade down onto the heads of some nightclub bouncers. Unlike Monty the cat (I'd call him Monty Bowden if that wouldn't risk confusion with the 19th-century England captain of that name, with whose urinary habits I am far less familiar), Panesar had been thrown out prior to relieving himself, rather than immediately afterwards. It seems the act was a consequence of his ejection, not a cause.
Perhaps we should look to feline Monty for reasons why human Monty might take this course of action. One reason why cats spray is to display their sexuality. Reports indicate that Panesar had been bothering some women inside the club and that this had led to his removal from the premises. Could he perhaps have been making one last bid to display his availability? Doubtless his wife wouldn't be too happy if that were the case. Hopefully she is also sufficiently aware of the status of her husband's libido that she doesn't require liquid updates.
That type of behaviour is more commonly displayed by female cats anyway, so perhaps we should discount it. That leaves us with scent marking, the process by which cats communicate with each other to indicate the scope of their territory amongst other things.
Here perhaps we see Panesar's true motivation for micturition. After years and years of being told he is a limited bowler lacking in subtlety and variation, he has attempted to expand his repertoire by laying claim to a bouncer.
Cats spray more when they are stressed, so Sussex and England need to find a way of making Panesar feel more comfortable in his environment. Perhaps he feels anxious due to the introduction of other spinners. If they block the figurative cat flap that allows entry into England one-day squads, perhaps he will begin to feel more secure.
Or maybe they need to empty or move his litter tray. I'm not exactly sure what that metaphor might mean, but I'm not entrusted with Panesar's care, so I'm not the one who needs to work it out.
If the right conditions can be created and Panesar can again be made to feel relaxed and at home, there is every reason to believe he will follow in the footsteps of that other great spin bowling moggy, Phil "The Cat" Tufnell. Tuffers lived up to his feline nature primarily through his sleeping exploits, which is much more socially acceptable.
Alex Bowden blogs at King CricketFeeds: Alex Bowden
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