Wednesday, 9 November 2011
A cat could very well be Man's best friend, but it would never stoop to admitting it...
We live in a countrified area in the middle of a city, and we have always liked the idea of being close to nature. The great outdoors, the wild, the little creatures of the forest running around, etc. It was lovely until one of those "little creatures of the forest" got into the house one night. I was fast asleep when I felt something moving on the bed. Now, I am a light sleeper at the best of times, and my transition from asleep to wide awake in this case took less than a millisecond. I flung the whatever it was off the bed and heard it land with a huge thump on the other side of the room. When I turned on the lights, it had gone out of the open window. But not without leaving the evidence - a huge rat poo and wee on the pillow next to where I had been sleeping! Obviously my quick reaction had startled the wretch and he had got a fright of a more physical nature.
I could not sleep in that room again, even with the windows firmly shut. The Sweetpea was hysterically commissioned to "Do something!" although what exactly I expected at two in the morning I could not say. I started entertaining the thought of getting a cat. I have never been a cat person - we have always had dogs, so there didn't seem to be much point, but now, I could think of all sorts of reasons why owning a cat would be a Good Idea. When I mentioned the plan to the Sweetpea, he was reluctant to say the least. He pointed out that in addition to three children, we also have two large dogs, 37 fish and a fairly busy set of lives. It was time to increase the pressure on him. I researched how owning a small animal is good for children, as they learn compassion and responsibility from an early age. Armed as I was with this ammunition, there was pretty little the Sweetpea could do but give in graciously, although he made it clear he was agreeing only by duress.
I started the cat hunt. We had a couple of false starts where we went to see highly-pedigreed (and just as highly priced) moggies described as "good with children" who turned out to be breeder-raised and almost feral as a result. Then I turned my attention to people who wanted to move away and did not want to take their pets with them, but these turned out to be mostly fat and over-pampered lumps doing nothing more interesting than waking up to eat and go back to sleep again. Following my reasoning that we were looking for a cat that would be good for the boys and Little Miss Snoopy, it was a definite no on both counts.
Finally, I made a trip to the local Animal Rescue Center, and there found our perfect kitty. When he was let out of his cramped little cage to meet me, it seemed as though he thought his saviour had finally arrived. He twined himself around my ankles so fast it was like I was wearing a pair of furry ankle-boots. Asking them to keep him for me, I went home to tell the family the good news. The Sweetpea, muttering about "crazy woman", and "we don't need a cat", was duly dispatched to pick up the new addition to the family. The Cat took up residence in our home.
He bonded instantly with the family, and being relatively young, was soon playing with the boys and chasing bits of string.
However, when everyone was in bed asleep that night, I came down the stairs to find the Sweetpea lying fast asleep on the couch. With the cat on his chest. And that is how it has been every night since.
As for the rat? Never been seen since.