The family cat is like a soldier in peacetime. He’s constantly prepared to do battle despite not having an adversary. He spends all day indoors or on the balcony.

He is named Von, after the debut album by Sigur Rós. It means ‘hope’ in Icelandic. He looks like a miniature panther but, because he has no mice or birds to kill, he only hunts (and eats!) flies and mosquitoes.

As a predator without a serious prey he has to be content with stalking the confines of the flat attacking ornaments or other breakable objects. There is some consolation in this destruction but his life in general is quite boring.

The best furniture is used to sharpen his claws, weapons he never gets to use; like assault guns that are loaded but never fired. Toys are no distraction – it’s real enemies he craves.

If you’re thinking of buying a cat for Christmas remember that those wide-eyed fluffy kitchens on picture postcards are never as cute as they look.