Sunday, 2 April 2017
A Cat Story
I thought I'd bring an old story out of the archives to entertain one and all...
So, my grandmother is now in a nursing home, but prior to this, I used to see her fairly often, taking her shopping and having lunch together, doing the odd chore, that sort of thing.
Now, my gran always had pets, for as long as I can remember. In the her last years at home she had a cat and a dog, Lucy the cat, and B-For the dog (full name would be "B-For Beautiful"). As you can see in the image below, of five different flavours of cat food, my gran was very considerate of the desires of her pets - as long as they didn't want to be out of her sight for any length of time, if Lucy tried to go out for more than a few minutes my gran would be out in the garden, doing her best to round up the errant feline. I remember my gran had a gate at the side of the house which was generously tied up with string and old dog leads in an attempt to stop the cat from going through it, which would have been more effective if the gate hadn't had cat-sized gaps in it.
But I digress.
Sadly, pets do become ill over time, and Lucy was getting on in years. For a couple of weeks when I had been visiting my gran was telling me that Lucy was acting out of character more and more. This went on for about two weeks, and things came to a head one Sunday when I walked in the door and my gran told me, weeping, that Lucy would have to go to the vets, and be put down - Lucy just wasn't herself any more.
Now, allow me to enlighten you with some detail of Lucy's personality.
All Lucy wanted in life was to be left alone, and if she couldn't be left alone, then she would settle for killing me.
Lucy liked to hide under the Welsh dresser in the corner of the living room, or behind the sofa at the other side of the room. If you wanted to get Lucy out of these places, you couldn't call her out. You couldn't encourage her out with snacks. You couldn't gently stroke her and draw her out.
You had to grab her and pull her out, while she employed her claws to try to keep her in her hiding place. I recall on more than one occasion donning a coat and leather gardening gloves in order to pull the Welsh dresser away from the wall, then throwing a towel over the cat so that hopefully enough its claws would be hooked into the fluffy towel instead of being locked in a death grip around the bones in my wrists. Whatever I tried, nothing ever worked, Lucy would always somehow find a bit of unprotected skin to shred.
So, I wasn't looking forward to getting Lucy out and taking her to the vets, although I will admit that a small part of me wasn't entirely unhappy that this potentially could be the last time that my arms would be oozing blood out of a variety of claw tears. It seemed a bit extreme however to have a cat put down just because it was acting a bit strange, so I planned to take Lucy to the vet, find out what (if anything) was wrong, and take her back.
I cleared the various bits of furniture away from the sofa, where Lucy was hiding, and bent down to take a look.
Four glittering cats eyes looked back at me.
"There's another bloody cat behind there!" I said. My grandmother expressed the view that I must be mistaken, until I got both cats out and she was forced to accept that there were indeed two cats. Whilst they did look similar, I could easily work out which wasn't Lucy, because that was the one that wasn't trying to rip my face off.
I concluded that the other cat must have wandered in at some time (possibly when I had the front door open to bring in shopping or something), attracted by the large and interesting variety of cat food on offer, been shut inside, and because my gran tightly controlled animal access and egress to the property, was unable to escape again. It was entirely possible that Lucy was acting strange because there was another cat in the house, or perhaps my gran, who doesn't have the best eyesight, was encountering the captured cat around the house and thought it was Lucy.
You'll be pleased to know that after the rogue extra cat was released Lucy lived on for some time, back in her normal character, slicing me periodically.