My Father In Reflection
03/07/1938 – 18/10/2018
Dad had many faults, and whilst he would and could often ignore a human in need of help, at least he was always there for cats.
A Cat’s Life
The day started well. Just for starters, I woke up.
It was 7.45, which was about par for the course for me these days. I turned over, but knew that sleep would not be returning this morning.
I awoke again and the alarm clock this time said 7.58. I mumbled “Bugger” and reached for the radio. It was digital and small and, as a result, very handy and it went with me around the house in its day’s work. However, it always started in the bedroom. I just caught the weather forecast on Radio Four.
In summary, it should be warm and sunny nearly everywhere.
It was John Humphreys and Nick Robinson on with the news stories. I like John but can take him or leave him where Nick Robinson is concerned. I am happy for him that he seems to be recovering from his throat cancer.
I partially listened to John interviewing Michael Heseltine who had just been sacked from his various jobs by Mrs May. I had met him once at Istanbul airport while we were in a long queue of people waiting for a visa. He struck me then as a man who was up his, well let’s say, he had an overvalued opinion of himself. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, Michael.
I got up to make a cup of tea and returned to bed. I heard the sports news which comes on about 8.30 and is my normal signal to get out of bed. I stood in the kitchen and noted that the Mini Cooper was still parked outside. Thanks for that, Lord. It was not a Jag, but it was mine. I pondered my plans for this promising day, turning over in my head the various jobs I could and should put my attention to. There was a loud and furious hammering on the door and an agitated ringing of the doorbell. It was Helena; how did I know it must be; it was her style.
“Can I borrow your cat carrier, please and quickly?
“Is something wrong with one of your cats?”
“No, it’s not mine. There is a black and white cat which hangs around the bins and I think it has been in an accident.”
“OK, I’ll get the carrier and then I’ll come and help you when I get some shoes on.”
And so, dressed in shirt and shorts, I joined Helena by the communal bin store. Also present and on duty was a lady neighbour of Helena, Janet and a big chap whom I did not know called Tom, another neighbour.
The cat in question could just be seen behind the building which housed the bin store. It was hiding in the undergrowth behind the building next to the perimeter fence. As Tom approached it retreated more and more into the shrubbery,
I went to the other end of the building to prevent the cat’s escape while Tom advanced with Helena to his rear with the cat carrier. Janet stood behind me making soothing noises meant I presume for the cat and not for me.
Puss was barely seen at this point but was a large black and white animal who looked petrified. Its fur was matted and dirty and there was what seemed to be a large cut on its head. The cat’s capture took about twenty minutes as it shuffled backwards each time Tom got closer. Eventually with Janet and I a physical barrier it allowed Tom to grab hold and place the unhappy creature gently in the carrier. This I took from Tom and moved backwards tearing the skin on my naked legs from the numerous wicked brambles. Eventually all four of us gathered on the hard standing outside the bin store and examined the cat. It was a tom. Apart from the cuts on his face, his left rear leg was damaged, perhaps broken and it was clearly in pain.
At this point Tom revealed that he was a zoologist by profession and worked at Chessington World of Adventures. This explained perhaps his careful and gentle examination of the cat. Tom took the injured Puss away and a couple of days later he reported back. The cat had by this time, in the absence of a collar or chip, been named Buster by the vet. He had one broken leg, a dislocated pelvis and various cuts and bruises, all consistent with being hit by a car. Buster was in hospital for a week and in the lack of any obvious owner was released into the care of Tom.
The latest reports indicate a slow but apparently satisfactory return to good health. Buster now lives with Tom and his girlfriend as a house cat. He has, apparently, feline HIV and is not allowed out. Tom’s lady friend has approved the new arrangements but has renamed Buster as Jasper. No I don’t know either.
The cuts on my leg did not turn out to be fatal, but thanks for asking. The day, which started well, dipped somewhat in the middle but eventually ended with a warm human, or animal, feeling.
Written by my Father B.M