The washing can't be left mid cycle. It must be washed, folded and put away - all of it.
There were two cats to deliver to the cattery. Fat Dennis and Simon. Fat Dennis (or as Lisette calls him - Dennis from accounts) lazed in the sun yawning and was easy to get into the cat box. Simon knew something was up. He skittered and skattered. He hustled and bustled. After half an hour of cleverness on our part he was IN THE BOX.
I said a quick good-bye to my cat babies but I didn't say good-bye properly. It is hard to say good-bye to a cat when you are holding a spray bottle and a clean up cloth. So I just poked my nose in the top of each box hole and said "Good-bye kitty."
Then I cleaned.
My husband was taking a while to come back from the cattery.
"Do you think he's been ages?" I asked my daughter.
"Maybe," she replied.
He had been ages I decided after another hour. I calculated that the cattery was ten minutes away and he had been 2 hours. Then the phone rang.
I could tell he was scared (my husband). Our marriage operates sufficiently on an ounce of fear.
"He kung fued out of the box. I can't find him. I've spent an hour and a half looking for our Simon. I don't know what to do. The cattery said they would put food out...."
"Well you best come home then."
We went on holiday for ten days. We rang everyday. He didn't turn up. We came home.
Perhaps he will walk home like some cats do. He didn't turn up.
Until one day, 6 months later, I pulled up to my house and there out the front, on the driveway, was SIMON.
"Simooooonnnn," I screeched.
He was a mess, limping, half his ear was missing. He wouldn't come to me. I could see maggots crawling on the side of his body. This was an emergency. I needed everyone around to be involved. All the neighbours in our quiet street came to my cries.
One proffered a blanket, another a cat cage. We all pulled together like a good community does to catch my Simon. And we caught him! Yipee! But alas he was covered in maggots. One of his eyes had turned a milky blue.
Just at that moment, my sister-in-law pulled up in her new shiny, black Suzuki Swift. It gleamed in the sunlight.
Fantastic!! A ride to the vet.
When we got into the car, it smelt like new car. You know that special new car smell?
But as we drove, all the windows started to come down.
The bottom line was that Simon stunk. He stunk so bad. He stunk worse than any stink I'd ever smelt. Where had he been? What had he been through? My sister-in-law (polite as ever) grimaced and drove onward.
My tears fell.
When we got to the vet, I moved faster than I ever had. I ran in (crying). I pushed in front of two people in the waiting room.
"My cat needs help! It is an emergency!!"
The vet was nice. I explained how we lost Simon and how he had returned.
Then the vet said something rude:
"If this is your cat......"
I stared at him, baffled.
"What the hell do you mean 'If this is my cat'? "Of course it is my cat."
What the f&*k was wrong with him? Was he crazy?
I remained calm.
"I recognise his paws. This is my cat. I would know my cat anywhere."
"Was he microchipped?"
"I can't find a microchip."
"Well, maybe it is broken."
"Was your cat neutered?"
"How old was he?"
I realised then that this vet had done nothing to ease my maggot infested, torn ear, half blind cat.
"Are you going to give him any pain relief?"
"Well...if this is your cat..."
And that's when I lost it.
"THIS IS MY CAT. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? GIVE HIM SOME PAIN RELIEF."
"Ok," he said quietly.
He organised the syringe and finally my Simon could relax.
"Do everything you can," I told him "He's been through so much already."
The vet changed his tune when he realised I was serious.
"We will call you when we know more."
I cried on the way home in the car that didn't smell new anymore.
"He came home to me. It's a miracle."
The windows were all still down. The wind whipped at my face and I thought about the miracle of life. Imagine, a cat being missing for 6 months and arriving home! Would he survive?
The vet rang me that night.
He sounded scared - kind of like when my husband rang me from the cattery.
"Look, I'm sorry to tell you this. But the cat you brought in today is not your cat. He is an eleven year old, un-neutered, un micro-chipped, unidentified, stray cat."
"Thank you," I said "Good-bye."
I haven't seen Simon again. Or the vet.