Do I look friendly to you?

That’s me up there in the picture, Malcolm.

Do you think I look a little grumpy?

My human Dad reckons I do. In fact, he thinks I look a little bit like that dumb moggy that’s always popping up on the internet, Grumpy Cat. I’m not sure what people see in him, actually, but somehow he’s become really popular.

I think my Dad’s secretly a little disappointed that he met me when Grumpy Cat was already famous, because he thinks I could have done just as good a job, and he and my Mum could have cashed in. I heard him say a couple of weeks ago that Grumpy Cat has earned over $100 million. That would have kept me in some pretty tasty cat food.

Dad reckons it’s the fact that my eyes are a bit hooded in that photo that makes me look like I’m not the friendliest cat around.

It goes a lot deeper than that, I can tell you. I grew up on the mean streets of Dunedin, for one thing. I was seven years old, in cat years, by the time I fetched up on the back deck of my Mum’s house.

She was cool. Although she had a cat, she always had some food around for me and the other street cats that came visiting. But it wasn’t until one of those toms got a bit friendly, and I ended up having three kittens in the corner of Mum’s bedroom, that I think she realised she’d have to let me stay.

Anyway, back to the grumpy. I was born without a tail, or at least a full tail. I just have a little stump, which doesn’t make me feel that great about my appearance. Some of the other cats on the street used to scoff at my stump, which would make me a bit hissy with them. I mean, you’d have thought they were perfect, strutting their stuff on the street. But they shut up quickly when I found myself a human, and moved in. Meat, biscuits, even the occasional slug of pets’ milk. Beautiful.

I had another reason to be grumpy, though. My Mum’s son thought he was smart when we street cats started hanging around, and he decided to give us names. There was Sylvester, Seth, and then there was me. That’s right, I was this tiny grey and white thing, just an overgrown kitten, really, but he somehow imagined I was a bloke. Silly boy! So now all my kids have to tell their mates their mother’s called Malcolm. Not happy.

I’m not that unfriendly, though, you’ll find if you don’t give me a hard time. I’ll sometimes even go and park on a human’s lap for a while. Though I can get pretty grumpy where my kids – did I tell you I had another three, and none of them have tails? – are concerned.

I didn’t like that bolshie Bryan, the one who introduced us a while ago, when he arrived. Still don’t. I mean, my kittens and I were enjoying ourselves and he just started hanging around like he owned the place, and Mum quickly became pretty fond of him.

Bryan and I still don’t see eye to eye, cheeky young outsider. He’s always getting up my nose. But I let them know when he’s having a go at me. I howl the house down.

All in all, though, I can’t complain about the set-up now that we’ve moved to Timaru. Nice house, a garden where I can go and do my own thing and keep out of the sun, and plenty of food.

And the kids are each starting to stand on their own four feet. If they can stop falling out of windows or getting stuck on the roof, we’ll be ok here.

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