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My Mother’s Cat and Other Animals!

My Mother’s Cat and Other Animals!

I have owned animals most of my adult life – the usual sort, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, but now I have a mouse. Involuntarily I have a mouse. And those in the know – tell me that I most definitely have more than one mouse. But this must be a clever mouse that knows myopically, I can’t tell one mouse from another unless they are standing side by side. And probably not even then. So, as far as I am concerned, I have one mouse. An ill mouse! I know it’s ill, because it is a regular visitor to my medicine drawer. What ails this mouse and of what remedy it is partaking, I cannot tell. I do know however, that it is making free with my stock cubes in the kitchen drawer, and that it eschews the noodles of a Supernoodle packet from the cupboard, in favour of chewing the flavouring sachet. A very clever mouse then!

So clever that my two cats and three dogs have taken to ignoring it, and the only real attempt to catch was by two adults in the kitchen who ran around stamping their feet! Stamping their feet? Whatever macho bravado was on display here completely transgressed common sense! Unless they intended to squish it between sole and floor tile; extremely distasteful!

So I bought a mouse trap, baiting firstly with cheese then chocolate. I did this during a bout of norovirus, ignoring the fact that mangled murdered mouse in the morning, would be less than contributory to my own well being. And it didn’t work anyway – the mouse ate the bait and beat a retreat!

I shouldn’t be surprised at my failure to dispatch my mouse. I am notoriously bad at spotting the moment when pets would be better off at the Pearly Gates!

Take my mother’s cat! I’m using the word loosely here, because with 19 long years behind him/her, and nary a single visit to the vet, this cat’s name had been lost to most of us. Blind, deaf and dreadlocked, this cat had lived its nine lives to the hilt, and enjoyed only huge, hourly fed, quantities of the very best in cat food. It hadn’t left the kitchen in four years, and was less than competent with a litter tray. Arthritically, it would crawl into the tray and then do its business over the side. My mother is a patient woman!

When asked my opinion on its skeletal form, as it rubbed a dubious facial growth against my calf, I suggested that a one way trip to the feline equivalent of dognitas was on the cards. My mother half nodded, but did nothing. And then disappeared to Florida as the last mouthful of Christmas turkey disappeared down her throat, with a fleeting request to ‘take care of the cat!’ ‘Wait, wait’, I shouted! ‘Take care of the cat! What do you mean?|’ ‘Whatever you think best!’, came the distant reply.

So, I arrived in Cheshire, home of the cat (and my mother), with all good intentions of sending the cat to a better happier place. Only to find my brother (one of three) appearing late at night with a pair of rubber gloves and a bottle of fairly liquid. Now he’s an odd nocturnal boy at the best of times, but on this occasion, he had come to bathe the cat. Because cats really like baths – honest!

But this elderly antiquated cat, succumbed to the bathing ritual, apparently enjoying the warm water, and spurred by this success, I thought I’d help by cutting out its dreadlocks. Which was fine, until over enthusiasm (or lack of fur) caused me to cut a 5p size nick in its skin. Horrified at having caused it unnecessary grief, I searched for the super glue so my mother wouldn’t notice.

We clipped its overgrown claws, and continued to feed it the best in feline fodder. Even my own large dog learned to stand back in case the cat fancied her food!

And the cat responded by leaving the kitchen for the first time in four years, in pursuit of the dog, but couldn’t negotiate the icy steps on the return journey. It was a truly moving sight to watch my dog push the cat back up step by slippery step, and then wait to make sure it got back in safely.

I forgot about the vet. Sibling pressure, combined with the blossoming friendship between cat and dog was enough to obliterate my better judgement, and I even considered rechristening the cat to mark its new lease of life!

But in a final defiant act, and with all the certainty of a moggy who heard the announcement of my mother’s arrival at Manchester airport, the cat died. (Conveniently lying on its right side where the missing fur was inconspicuous!) How accommodating can a pet be?

And then the cat went missing. This really shouldn’t have happened, and left me more than perplexed. I didn’t fancy explaining to the police that my dead cat had done a runner. And posters offering rewards seemed excessive, not to mention ghoulish!

If I tell you that the cat turned up on the barbeque, I would hate you read too much into it! But it was a helpful bin-moving neighbour who had relocated our carefully wrapped corpse!

And so the cat determined how it lived, and eventually how it died. (Thankfully not of a chill due to missing fur!) How I wish my mouse would be so obliging!

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