One very hot summer, my daughter and her boyfriend booked a holiday abroad. My daughter lived away from home, being quite grown-up and had a cat so I, of course, expected a phone call asking me to ‘look after’ Mindy whilst she was away. Well now, how could I refuse? It was easier for me to bring the cat to my house than to drive round to hers twice a day, so that is what I did.
I felt really sorry for Mindy, she really did not understand what was happening to her and she was really frightened. I tried to make friends but she was so timid that she would not even approach me, so I did what I knew was best and just talked to her quietly and let her be.
Having shared my home with a cat for most of my life, I knew the looks, ways, walks and talks of cats so after a couple of days I kept a shorthand notebook on the arm of my chair and started holding a conversation. Not of me talking to the cat, but of Mindy thinking and talking to her ‘mum’, my daughter. I thought my daughter would enjoy having a diary of events that Mindy and I shared whilst she was away on holiday and Mindy was staying with me.
.. oOo ..
Mindy is the smallest, smartest, slinkiest, softest tabby cat in west London.
She lives with her mum, and always stays at home.
She was found in a box in a dustbin, where she had been abandoned with her sister.
Her mum looked after her from that time.
Mindy had lead a very ordinary life until her abduction in July 2003, she wrote this note to her Mum telling her about the first few days from the time she was abducted, until she came to realise that life was not too bad, even as an abducted cat, especially if you are the smallest, smartest, slinkiest, softest tabby cat in west London.
The story is told in her own words.
.. oOo ..
I am writing this in the hope that I can find a bottle and an open window to throw it through. I hope someone will pick it up and get in touch with you. I also hope I’ve remembered your mobile number, I know you wrote it down for me and put it round my neck, but I can’t undo the little screw to get it out.
You will remember that it was about 6.00 pm and I was asleep on the bed upstairs. I woke enough to open one eye, but as I recognised your voice, I closed my eye again as I thought you were just talking with a friend, like you always do.
The next thing I remember was being shaken and awakened with a start. I was being roughly seized and man-handled by someone, I didn’t know who. I really didn’t like being pushed into that big grey plastic box by a madwoman, no matter how well padded it was. I managed to catch one claw on the bedcover in an effort to stop being taken, but I think the fabric must have torn as I ended upside down, inside the big grey plastic box and when the door closed behind me, there was no way out.
I know that you were upset at what was happening. I hope you are OK now.
In case you didn’t know, I was brought by that mad woman to this house. It smells funny and didn’t have a window or door open for me to escape and it was very hot.
Although the door to the big grey plastic box was opened for me to come out, I decided to stay inside, I felt safer there. Hours passed and the hall was very draughty. The mad woman kept approaching the box and peering in to see if I was still there. I wasn’t coming out because I didn’t know what she would do or where I could run and hide, so I just stayed curled up as far back as I could. Fortunately the mad woman only looked and didn’t try to touch. I felt that I would have to bite and claw her if she did, particularly if I was going to be mad woman-handled and turned upside down again.
After a while I noticed from the smell that drifted into the big grey plastic box that there was food outside somewhere. I crept to the front of the box and looked out. I could see a plate similar to mine from home with food on it that smelled like it might be chicken, and another plate with water in it. I was really hungry and thirsty by then. The mad woman was nowhere to be seen so in the end I was so hungry I just had to come out to eat. I ate as quickly as I could and returned back to the big grey box where I felt safe. If you remember, you didn’t give me any dinner that day.
Fortunately the quality of food was the same as at home, she must use the same chef as you and there was chicken on the menu as I had thought, so I ate quite well that night as I also had some biscuits and water, which filled me up.
I could hear the television and knew the programme as you watched it at home. As I had been brave enough to come out of the big grey plastic box to eat, I decided to have a look around, to find somewhere to hide because I was still frightened. A little later I skulked back to the box but the mad woman had sealed the door and I was locked out. I couldn’t get back in, I tried round the front and round the back but there was no way to get inside. At least it smelled of you in there. I needed to find a hiding place where the mad woman wouldn’t be able to get hold of me and turn me upside down again.
I had found a good place in through a little hole at the bottom of a big wooden box in the front room which was a blue room. I don’t like blue. I knew that the mad woman was looking for me because I could hear her calling my name and walking round the house but I decided to keep quiet. Anyway, a little later I made the mistake of showing my face and the next thing I knew, I was out by the scruff of my neck and the hole was blocked off. The mad woman explained to me that she had known where I was because some of my fur had caught on a cobweb across the little hole and she had just sat and waited patiently. She must have some feline wisdom as that is what I do when I am trying to catch something in the garden as a present for you. Anyway, that was one hiding place gone. I had to look round for another. The mad woman tried to cuddle me, but I was having none of that and wriggled so much that she had to put me down on the floor. I ran up the stairs and hid under the bed.
I couldn’t understand why the mad woman had pulled me out of that hiding place because at 10.30 pm she went up to bed. I could have stayed there all night. A little later she came downstairs in her skin to tell me she had gone to bed, even a cat could work that out. Anyway, she went back upstairs, the light went out and soon after all I could hear was snoring.
Once I was certain the mad woman was not going to get up again, I set off round the smelly house to explore. This was made difficult because the mad woman had turned off all the lights and I didn’t know the layout of the house. It seemed to be very familiar though and then I realised that it was basically just like our house.
I found the kitchen from the smell of food and as I was crossing the middle of the floor, tripped over the litter tray she had left there. I so enjoyed having a good scratch in the litter tray at home when you left one out and as I had nothing else to do, I thought I would scratch out the litter all over the floor here to make the mad woman bend down to clear it up. I could imagine her puffing and blowing trying to pick up all the little granules of litter but I knew I wouldn’t be around to watch as I would have to go back into hiding. I guessed I would have to find a safer place to do that so I then decided to check behind all the big things in the kitchen.
That was my second mistake; I found I could get behind the holey laundry basket full of dirty, smelly washing, I thought only men’s socks were sweaty and stinky, well that’s not the case. I squeezed my head through the gap and that was it, I could not get back out. I couldn’t see an ‘Exit’ sign so I had to go on crawling through, hoping there was a way out at the other end. Like I said, my second mistake. There was no other end and I couldn’t see the sign, which said ‘No Exit’. I was stuck. Thank goodness I used the litter tray before I wandered in. I couldn’t even move a whisker.
As the hours passed the vibrating echo of snoring came and went, then I heard movement. I couldn’t see the kitchen clock but guessed it must be about 6.30 am. The birds had been shouting outside in the trees for some time just to remind me how long I’d been there unable to move.
Well, the mad woman clonked down the stairs in her slippers and came into the kitchen. I could hear the kettle being filled and the cupboard doors being opened and closed, then the microwave went on. Must be porridge, nobody cooks cornflakes or weetabix in the microwave and it didn’t smell like bacon and eggs.
She kept calling my name. Why? I hadn’t forgotten who I was; perhaps she had to keep reminding herself. I tried calling back but my voice was very small and quiet against the noise of the microwave and the kettle so eventually I just shut up. The mad woman left the kitchen and I could hear the TV. She had turned on BBC1, I hoped she’d change programmes occasionally, BBC1 was boring, we always watched ITV, the news seemed better on there.
I tried again to wriggle backwards as I could also smell my breakfast, but it was impossible. My rear end was too big to manoeuvre, I never really learnt to reverse properly when I was young, my legs got somehow mixed up with each other and I tripped over my tail, I think that’s how it got broken, it took a long time to get used to that long thing following behind everywhere I went and like I said it was always in the way whatever I did.
The mad woman went back upstairs and called my name, then I could hear a few swear words as she banged the wardrobe doors. I put my paws in my ears at this point. Well, I wasn’t there was I? I was stuck behind a big machine in the kitchen and I couldn’t shout very loud. I suddenly got this awful feeling that she might be leaving me stuck. If the mad woman was playing hide and seek, she was no good at it, she wasn’t even warm.
She was moving through the house, still calling my name and closing all the doors, I could hear them bang and then click shut.
The TV flickered off, BBC, ‘Boring Broadcasting Corporation’ I always called it, stopped and the front door closed with a loud bang, I heard the car that had brought me here start up and drive off. I was all alone, stuck, in a strange smelly house and hadn’t eaten any breakfast.
I suppose that I should have been grateful, at least I didn’t get put in the microwave, I might have been dead meat or curry by then. I had seen the sign to ‘Southall’ when we crossed a busy main road and I remembered reading in your paper that cats were going missing there. I wondered whether it was this mad woman who had taken them. She took me and I didn’t really know why, now here I was, all alone, hungry, thirsty and stuck, unable to move.
Well, I became resigned to my imposition; there was really nothing more I could do. No good shouting, no one in the house to hear me. The birds were still outside, but they weren’t in here, at least I could have eaten one of them for breakfast if it had come too close. I thought perhaps the mad woman might come back at lunchtime, I had no idea what she did during the daytime, I knew that you were at work all day and didn’t come home and it would be just my luck that the mad woman would do the same.
I shouldn’t really think about lunch, I hadn’t even had my breakfast yet. Never mind, I thought, I was a bit overweight and if I lost a few ounces, perhaps I could wriggle out of here on my own before the mad woman got back. You never know, she might have left a window open. It had been a few weeks since I last went free falling when I fell off the bedroom window cill at home, I decided that I should look upstairs first when I got free there was more likely to be a window open up there, I thought I knew now how to get down from a high place without getting hurt, I had seen another cat do it, he walked down the wall before he jumped the last 10’ or so. That must be the way to do it without making your feet sting when you land. I wished someone had told me that a few weeks ago before I fell out of the window. That might have been one of the nine lives people keep saying cats have. I wondered how many I had left.
Gosh, it had been an age. What could I do? My mind was racing.
Nope, she wasn’t coming back for lunch. That would be a few more hours I would just have to wait. I bet she’d be really mad when she found out where I had been all this time. Gee, I was hungry and thirsty. Even a lap at the pond I’d seen in the garden when I looked through the window would have been nectar right then. Mind you, I didn’t like the look of that mangy fox I had seen limping about out there round the pond. I guessed he had been abducted too. The mad woman didn’t seem to feed him very well and fancy having to drink pond water – ugh – no, maybe not, you don’t know what the fish and frogs have been doing in it either.
I thought I might as well have a catnap for a few hours, although it would be very uncomfortable being trapped behind this great big machine unable to turn round or stretch my legs.
I had only been awake for a short time when I heard a car, the one that had brought me here. The mad woman had arrived home. It seemed like a year had passed since I had been woken up and bundled into that big grey plastic box, but it was only yesterday. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell you all about it.
Then it started again, that mad woman was calling me. Surely she had realised I was stuck somewhere, like here. Not much sense really, she had gone upstairs first, just to make me wait, ‘Yes, my name is Mindy’, I just wanted her to come and move this great big machine that had trapped me here since last night.
At last! I could hear that she had started dismantling the kitchen. The freezer first, then all the bowls, trays and barbecue tools were coming out of the corner by the sink. I hoped she’d pick up the forks and teaspoons that I had seen down there last night, there couldn’t be many left in her kitchen drawer. Why did she by-pass the great big machine and start on the fridge at the end? Who knows what a mad woman will do? Oh yes, I could see why, it was on rollers. Well it wasn’t any more ‘cos it had fallen off one side. More swear words, dear me I had to put my paws in my ears again. That was a bit dodgy; it was a good job the boiler was between the fridge and me. I tried to meow but she must be deaf as well as mad. I was too thirsty so I decided not to bother. I’d just sit tight and wait. Well I couldn’t move anyway.
At last the great big machine was moving, but not enough for me to get out. ‘Go on’, I said, ‘move it some more’. ‘That’s it’, you’ll have to wait for me now. I’ve been in this position too long and I have to get the old legs moving again. ‘OK I’m coming’, gosh the mad woman was impatient, I didn’t like it in there anyway, too many spiders and woodlice. Woodlice make a crunchy nibble if you are hungry enough, but they were all round my tail end and I couldn’t get to them, they just tiggled me as they crawled over and around.
Oh no, the mad woman was going to pick me up she didn’t think I was moving fast enough. ‘Just point me to the water; a little whiskey with it wouldn’t hurt after what I’ve been through’ but I just said ‘meow’.
I thought I ought to put on a show to make her think I was grateful. It was her fault for abducting me in the first place.
At least I could get some breakfast, I looked to see what the time was, the big hand was straight up and the little hand was on the seven. It was 7 o’clock at night. I had missed breakfast and lunch. I must remember to get on the scales.
I wondered what trouble I would get into that night. I had hoped to get a proper look round while it was still light. Yes, it was still Wednesday, and that was another life gone but at least I wasn’t trapped behind that great big machine, I was free to wander again.
I thought about it and decided that it might not be too bad here. I could probably manage to wreck the entire house before I escaped. I wondered how long that would take.
Couldn’t sleep. It was too hot. The windows were part open upstairs but not enough to squeeze through and there was a lot of noise sneaking through the little cracks from fast cars with loud radios. I’d been round the house and tried to leave my mark everywhere. The mad woman had left the cupboard doors open, those that weren’t open I managed to free and I’d been in them all and noted where it might be fun to investigate later when I got bored.
The mad woman had to wash the kitchen floor last night because when she pulled out the great big machine to get me out, she found a black spider had been busy house-building and there was a mess of sticky cobwebs everywhere. Tell me about it, I was stuck to them all day, but I thought it was a little unfair to pull that house down. The spider family relied on that mess of sticky cobwebs to catch food, now they will be hungry all day like I had been.
I was getting bored.
I was sure I had heard the mad woman telling someone on the phone that she ‘woke up every hour to watch the clock’. I wondered what it did, so I decided that I would wake her up so that we could watch it together. I wondered how long it would take to wake her up. By morning I should have got it down to a fine art.
It was a good thing you had taught me to tell the time. Right, the big hand was straight up so it was on the hour, I went upstairs and tried to wake her up. I shouted really loud, I suddenly remembered that she was deaf so I jumped on the bed. I walked all over her several times. I think she was awake really, but wouldn’t open her eyes. I decided I would try again next time the big hand was straight up, I might have more luck. Perhaps the clock only did something when the mad woman watched it because it did nothing when she was still asleep.
I looked for something else to do.
I remembered that there was a clean kitchen floor down stairs so I went down to see exactly how far I could spread the cat litter, that was one of my favourite games at home, if you remember. Yep, I was quite pleased with my efforts, ‘not a bad scratch that’. I’d covered at least a square yard and quite a lot had shot under the freezer which stood off the floor, that would be hard to clear up. I would have to try to improve on that tomorrow if I was still there. Good game!
6.00 am. I thought I would go and have another try at waking the mad woman, the snoring was driving me mad and I was getting hungry. I had missed two meals yesterday and I was feeling the effects of malnutrition. I decided to be plaintive to see if that would work better.
Cor, that was hard work! 25 minutes to wake her up. These oldies should all get hearing aids, I had to walk all over the bed, nudge and scratch her before she opened one eye. I hadn’t noticed that she only used one eye before, perhaps the other one was glass – she is all old and squidgy when you walk over her. I’ll check when she’s properly awake to see how old I think she is, I’m usually quite a good judge, you can usually judge advancing age by squidginess.
Good, we were on our way downstairs. She was so slow I overtook her on the inside on the way down. I wondered what was on the breakfast menu. I fancied fish for my breakfast, perhaps that’s what the pond was there for, there’s nothing better than really fresh fish but I hadn’t noticed any fishing nets or rods, so thought I might be wrong.
Oops, I had forgotten about the kitchen floor! The mad woman was getting madder.
Well, I was bored, there was nothing to do last night and I couldn’t wake her up, I was only trying to keep myself amused and occupied. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. All she had to do was open the cat flap through the wall, then I wouldn’t do it, would I, I would be out of here and gone?
Mind you, I wasn’t really sure that I wanted to go out into the garden with that mangy fox around. I’d seen him several times and he’d come right up to the house and looked in the window, you could see the imprint of his nose on the glass and his misty breath, he was so close. Thank goodness for double-glazing. I bet his breath smelled bad, keep drinking that pond water, also he didn’t seem to clean his teeth.
It was raining. While the mad woman cleared up the scratched litter from last night I watched the birds getting wet all over looking for breakfast, probably worms. I never did understand why they ate worms. They got hold of one end and pulled. It was quite funny when the worm stretched and then when it couldn’t stretch any more it let go so the other end popped out and both bird and worm fell over backwards all tangled up together, haven’t you noticed. I always laughed and the birds flew off when they realised that I’d been watching.
Funny, the birds didn’t seem to mind getting wet. I’d been watching them dive head-first into the pond. It couldn’t be very deep as they surfaced quite quickly and I couldn’t see any snorkel gear. I wondered if the rain was giving them a nice warm shower, there was some ‘highly scented’ shower gel upstairs in the bathroom; I saw it there yesterday when I fell into the bath.
Why do people have highly polished baths, they are very dangerous really, I was always falling in at home, sometimes I would get wet all over because the water was still running away. A full bath doesn’t run away very quickly so I sometimes like to watch it going round and round before it goes down the plug-hole. Sometimes I think it has all gone, jump up, overbalance and slide down the inside desperately trying to get a grip with my claws I end up floating up to my neck in warm soapy water, mind you I like the jasmine bath oil, it is very nice and makes my fur all soft when it has dried.
Some cats never learn, I must be one of them. I must remember to write you a special note in pussy talk to pin to the side of the bath to remind me to be very careful when I jump up to watch the water run away after you have just got out of it, after all, it is a highly polished bath.
What was that?
Something had caught my eye. I was trembling, frozen to the spot, frightened to move. I’d heard talk on the TV about Pterodactyl and I thought they must be wrong. Pterodactyl are not all dead; one has just come into the garden. A dark shadow covered the sun and this big-bodied bird arrived by the pond it had long legs and a really long beak.
It was so big it could have swallowed me alive, so I just froze to the spot hoping it hadn’t seen me through the double-glazing. I watched, holding my breath, but I had to breathe out sometime, as I was turning blue.
It started to move; it walked really funny, I couldn’t see how it could balance on two thin legs like that, I had four short dumpy ones and balancing on them was difficult enough sometimes. Pterodactyl then stopped and just stood, not moving on the edge of the pond. Perhaps it had turned into stone and was a statue, I had noticed there was a stone duck down there, and perhaps that’s what would happen if you went too close to the water. Perhaps I too would turn into stone if I went too close. At that moment there wasn’t much chance of that with Pterodactyl standing there.
I could tell that it had seen me. I had to go. I turned and ran in panic, slipping and sliding on the vinyl floor in my haste. I jumped up on to the ironing board, on to the top of the boiler and then dived headfirst down into the black hole that was behind. I didn’t worry about the clean clothes that were piled there waiting to be ironed, I had to get somewhere safe so that Pterodactyl couldn’t get me. I just hoped its legs weren’t longer than they looked so it could look over the top.
Then I remembered, the mad woman had checked all the double-glazing when she left. Everything was safely locked because I had been looking for a way to escape. I started to relax more, I felt a bit better.
I thought I would have a look outside, maybe Pterodactyl had gone.
I just couldn’t believe it. What goes down must come up or is it the other way round? I tried to turn, I couldn’t turn to jump up and it was impossible to get my head between the boiler and the fridge. I was stuck, again.
Despair and resignation swept over me again. Another long day, another day without food and water, I just didn’t know how I always got into this sort of mess. Still I guessed it was better than being eaten by Pterodactyl. At least that made me feel a bit happier but then I remembered I would be without food and water again.
I was so hungry already, a picture of Pterodactyl popped into my head. Perhaps if I could catch it, she could cook it, there was plenty of leg there for two. It would last a week. We could try it fried, boiled, barbecued, but then I might get fed up with it, still the madwoman could have stored it in the freezer for next week, it looked as though I wasn’t likely to get out of there for some time. I knew how the Prisoner of Zender felt.
I hoped the mad woman wasn’t going to be late home.
Life is boring stuck behind a boiler. To make the time go faster I started to think of songs to sing. All I could think of was ‘ Ding Dong Bell’ then thought that perhaps I shouldn’t try to remember the words to that one, ‘Pussy’s in the well’
No, so I thought I would try some mental arithmetic. I was never any good at that when I was growing up, and suddenly realised why. I have only got four toes on one foot, that’s why things don’t add up right! I would just have to count my tail as a toe. Yes, that’s better. I got the sums right, at least I think they were right.
Once I’d sorted out that little problem I tried to think of something else. Definitely not food, ‘Don’t think of food’, I told myself. There weren’t even any woodlice at that end of the kitchen; perhaps they had all been fried in the boiler. Then it struck me….. I was at the back of the boiler,
what if it came on before the mad woman got home,
what if she was going to be late that night,
what if …….?
I stopped thinking. I tried to get out. No, there was absolutely no way I could jump up there.
I could tell it was still raining as I could smell the wet soil and it was much cooler.
My thoughts went back to the boiler. I could have been cooked down there, my whiskers might have got singed, and another of my nine lives would bite the dust. I heard a noise. I’d heard it yesterday when I was stuck behind the big machine. There had been a click and a gush and a whoosh, and then some flames had lit up the floor of the kitchen. It must have been the boiler. I thought I should squeeze into the corner and make sure my tail and whiskers were out of the way.
Then it happened, click, gush, whoosh then the flames. It got very hot very quickly. I hoped the mad woman would get home soon.
She must have heard my thinking, I heard the car.
I believe the mad woman had become resigned to the fact that I would be missing again. She looked behind the big machine, but of course I wasn’t there. She started upstairs first again. I was willing her to come into the kitchen and look behind the boiler, but no, she just started calling my name. In the end she gave up and came back to the kitchen. I don’t know what made her do it, but I looked up and saw her face looking down into the blackness that was lit by the flickering flames of the boiler. She might not have seen me if it hadn’t been lit so I suppose that was quite lucky, if a bit hot.
Anxious to be free, I stuck my head between the fridge and the boiler, just to show her that there was no hope of me getting out, then found that I couldn’t get it back, my head was too big, just like my backside was too big yesterday. The mad woman tried to move the fridge, but it had fallen off the wheels and it was hard to move, the fridge squeezed my head, ‘Ouch’. Then suddenly my head was free. Down came the hand at the end of the arm and up I went again by the scruff of the neck, legs akimbo. I must have been at least half an inch taller by then, I’d been pulled out of so many places since I’d arrived only two days ago and my claws were quite sore when I kept trying to save myself.
I wrapped myself round the mad woman’s legs, not to say ‘thank you’, just to have a quick look to see whether she had left the front door open, by any chance. She hadn’t, of course, so I went and gorged myself on the food that had been there all day. I didn’t care what it tasted like or that it was all dried up, I was starving. I also ate the extra food she put down when I’d finished that, but I didn’t get offered any more, I had to crunch dry biscuits, with gulps of water in between.
As I had done nothing all day I thought I would be a bit of a nuisance. By this time mad woman had finished her dinner and was lying on the sofa, head down, feet up. ‘Come on’, I said to her, ‘I’ve been on my own all day, don’t ignore me’. But, mad woman was asleep already. Perhaps I shouldn’t have woken her up to watch the clock last night. It didn’t appear to do anything anyway. I thought I might have to lay off a bit tonight. I’d see how I felt. At least I could look out of the double-glazing while she was asleep.
I thought I needed glasses, in the twilight I could see miniature goats at the bottom of the garden, but when I looked again it was only overgrown bushes. A cat could get lost in that jungle. I wondered if she was likely to go out and do any gardening as that would give me a chance to escape, maybe.
Right, that was enough snoring, I decided to wake the mad woman, I wanted some company. Besides that I couldn’t listen to the news as she’d turned the volume down on the TV before she fell sleep and I wasn’t sure which button to push on the control she had dropped on the floor, I might have changed channel by mistake at least it was on ITV, I liked the adverts and could sing to them as I knew most of the tunes.
I still needed a plan of escape. Mind you, she hadn’t complained when I scratched and pulled the arms of the sofa. I thought I’d try that again to see whether I got a reaction, at least she would have acknowledged that I was there. ‘Hello, I’m still here’.
‘How long had it been?’ I asked myself.
What’s this, the mad woman had no staying power, she was off to bed. At least I didn’t have to avoid her big feet when she stepped over me. She thought she was avoiding me, but I know that at the end of the leg is a foot, so all I do is look up the leg and see which way the foot is pointing. It’s quite easy and I rarely get it wrong.
She asked if I was ‘going to bed’. ‘No thanks, it’s OK’, I said ‘I’ll come to bed when I’m ready’. I needed more food before I could sleep. I hoped she would top-up the dish before she went upstairs. She did, and I also got some fresh crunchy biscuits. They kept me quiet for a while; almost as nice as woodlice, but it was no fun eating on my own.
I felt better after that and wondered what to do next, I was wide-awake. I checked the clock; big hand straight up it must be time to go upstairs. Two hours catnap must be enough for the mad woman, it’s enough for me.
ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT
I had been looking round for some time but hadn’t found anything worth playing with when suddenly I heard a new sound I didn’t recognise.
‘What’s that?’, I asked myself, beep…. beep…..beep….. ‘That’s new’. ‘Where’s it coming from?’ Ah, I’d found it, that little white box on the wall. Beep…..beep….. I didn’t know what it was for, then I remembered, it was a smoke alarm. I hadn’t had chance to announce the time but the mad woman seemed to be getting up. She was going for the white box… beep….. beep….. she’d had to put the light on, she’d seen me. I didn’t think she was awake; she must have been sleep-walking. ‘Come on, what’s taking so long, open the box’ I said to her. Yes, she’d done it; the battery was out and lying on the floor. I could play with that later. I didn’t bother to announce the time; I’d wait for the next time the big hand was straight up.
Meanwhile, I decided to go back and sit and look out of the double-glazing downstairs. I had seen a round prickly thing wandering around; it might still be there. All these things must have been kidnapped like me, but they all seemed quite happy, even the mangy fox who’d come back tonight had looked in the window again and winked at me. Perhaps he thought I might go out to play. Well I knew all about mangy foxes, they didn’t play with the smallest, smartest, slinkiest, softest tabby cats in west London, they liked to eat them. I just got up and walked away and so did the mangy fox.
I had to keep up my routine, but I wished I could tell the time by the digital clock on the video, it was closer to my height, I had to get on the back of the sofa to see the big hand on the wall clock. It was too high. I’d have to see if I could knock it off some how, but it would probably prove too difficult right up there.
I thought I would have a nap, but decided to keep one eye on the big hand so I didn’t miss waking the mad woman.
That was me nicely refreshed. I went to see what time it was. Oh dear, I’d missed the big hand standing up straight but I thought I’d go and tell the mad woman that I missed it. I was sure she wanted to know the time. I got a reaction that time; she pushed me off the bed! I didn’t give up, it was only half an hour before the big hand stood up straight again.
I wondered what I could do next.
I saw some clean washing on the sofa waiting to be ironed. I decided to go and rest there for a while. That would make her mad because my fur was falling out everywhere. If I had to wear it, so could everyone else.
The mad woman was late getting up. She would be late for work. I decided I wouldn’t remind her of the time, let her be late.
She must have been able to read my thoughts; I could hear the water upstairs. I knew what to do. I thought I’d hide. I didn’t know why it took so long to have a shower and do your hair; it only takes me five minutes to wash my face and a lick or two to stop my fur sticking up.
THE FOLLOWING DAY
‘Hurry up, I would have liked my breakfast’. I was fed up crunching woodlice, there wouldn’t be any left soon. I felt that I should leave some to reproduce otherwise they’d be extinct and I wouldn’t want to be the reason for making woodlice extinct.
The mad woman found my hiding place. I forgot, I‘d hidden there yesterday and got stuck. She had to pull the fridge out again. I think I’ve lost that hidey-hole, there’s a pair of welly boots in residence now and I don’t think I can get past them standing on guard there. I’ll have to try later when she’s gone out. ‘Yes, Chicken will do, AGAIN, if that’s all there is’ at least it didn’t taste like woodlice.
I wasn’t sure when she was going out. It was Friday; she should have been at work. Then the telephone rang br br….br br…. It wasn’t for me! But I thought I would listen in anyway, I knew it was rude but I liked to know what was going on and there was nothing else to catch my attention.
Doctors! Blood Tests! No Breakfast! Ah, that’s why she was late for work. I didn’t like the doctors either, I wondered if she went to the same one as me. He’s called ‘Vet’ and had a young girl who stroked me. I just didn’t like where Vet put his thermometer.
Mad woman went out! ‘Bye! See you later’.
‘Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you get back. You’ve made sure I cant get out.’
Now I was getting used to the noises in this place. I felt courageous enough to investigate further. There must be an escape route somewhere. I went on the prowl
It was 11.00 pm and I’d been on my own all day apart from the half hour when the mad woman came in from work. I kept listening for a car but they all drove past. I’d eaten all my dinner; it was beef she’d left earlier. Those packets seemed to be getting smaller or I had more of an appetite, but then I hadn’t had many meals in the last few days. There was really not much point in hiding, there was nobody in the house, they would have had to come out to eat before now and I would have seen them. I just found somewhere comfortable to sleep and kept one eye open.
I must have dozed off as the mad woman arrived home without me realising. I hoped she would give me some food before she went to bed. Things were looking good as she saw the empty dish and picked it up and put it under the tap. ‘Yes, I am hungry,’ I said, ‘yes I would like some supper’,’ no, I’m not coming to bed, you go and I’ll follow later’. I told her that I would remind her when the big hand was up straight, but I don’t think she understood what I was saying because she was not giving the correct answers. ‘Meow, meow’, is quite difficult to understand sometimes, I suppose, particularly for a mad woman.
I ate, kicked the litter all over the floor again, but in a different pattern this time, then it was back to sleep for me. It is Saturday tomorrow, but I decided I would get her up at the same time; there was loads of ironing to do. I don’t think she liked ironing
Do you know, I went to bed so late that night, I only woke up once. I went upstairs to make sure the mad woman was still there. She was, I heard the snoring from the bottom of the stairs and tripped over her slippers as I jumped on to the bed. ‘Fancy leaving them there’.
She didn’t wake, so I left her to it. I also left my black rat toy on the pillow to frighten her. I had seen the way she looked at it when she took it out of the bag that came with me.
I hoped this would be an easy day and more interesting if she was at home. I didn’t think the mad woman worked on Saturday. If she had one of those noisy machines that make the floor vibrate I would go upstairs. They make too much noise for my liking. Yes, she got one out of the cupboard under the stairs. I hadn’t looked in there; perhaps I could do a quick recky while she vibrated the lounge floor. ‘What a load of rubbish, I’d seen better stuff put out for the dustman’. She was definitely a collector of old things, so why did she want me, I was still young, but ageing by the minute.
At least she scratched behind my ears each time she walked past, now, which ear was it last time, must make sure one gets as much as the other? ‘No… the other one, you got it wrong’. It was not too bad there really, food, water, scratch behind the ear, scratch in the litter tray, what more could a cat need. FREEDOM !!!!
I wondered if I would ever get to go out.
I had seen her cut a long piece of string and I played with the end of it. I felt it was expected of me, it was a silly game for a grown cat really but it did provide limited exercise.
Then I wondered what she was doing? She was pretending to scratch my head but I thought she’d put the string through my collar. Yes, she had! Now what torture was she going to give me? She’d unlocked the back door onto the garden but not opened it, I thought I should be able to make a mad dash when it opened. She’d got the end of the string; if I pulled hard enough I thought this collar would come off. I had to pull in reverse, a bit harder, ears forward. Yes, it came off. She had tied the string to my collar and they were both hanging in her hand and my right ear was burning.
I wondered what that was all about? I wondered whether she was really mad.
What was she saying? ‘We were going for a walk round the garden’. Why didn’t she tell me, I would have kept my fur on? I wanted to see what Pterodactyl was looking at. Pterodactyl wouldn’t have come back if the mad woman was with me, nor would the mangy fox. That’s blown it. I would never get out in the garden now.
She’d started the ironing. That would take hours; I went to find somewhere to sleep until she’d finished. I decided that in future I would do what she wanted otherwise it was going to be a dog’s life. If I’d got to stay, I would make the best of it and start to enjoy it. After all, it was good exercise chasing string and she let me catch it sometimes. I couldn’t catch Pterodactyl or the mangy fox and I didn’t fancy the round prickly things.
Sweet Dreams, I just hoped Pterodactyl didn’t appear in them.
Saturday afternoon, she’d stopped ironing but there was still a huge pile. It had all been tidied up, so if I jumped on the top it should fall over quite nicely. I would aim it across the doorway so she had to step on it when she picked it up.
There was Formula 1 Racing on the TV, didn’t she know the golf was on the other side. I prefer golf; it was more fun looking for the ball in the long grass.
I tried to watch but those cars went too fast and sometimes they crashed. I didn’t understand, they said it was a sport but the cars started, drove round and round in circles and finished. Funny sport, what did they achieve, they certainly didn’t get an eagle or a birdie like they did in golf, or watch the birdie like photography. I must be a photographer because I always watch the birdies.
I must remember to include that on my CV as my profession. “Bird Watcher”. Well I watched the Pterodactyl.
Gosh, I was so bored, even my thoughts were getting like the mad woman’s.
It felt like time for afternoon tea, I had slept through lunch. That was another meal I had missed.
All I did was eat and sleep, sleep and eat.
What a life? ‘Meow’.
Here was as good as anywhere, but I needed to get out of this double-glazing.
‘No, I don’t mind chicken (again) today’, after all, variety is the spice of life, chicken, fish, smell of Pterodactyl.
The mad woman was sitting down watching a film. There was a Welshman pretending to be Roman, wearing a short skirt. I bet his legs got cold in the winter especially when he was up a Welsh mountain.
How does a Welshman, who thinks he’s Roman, wearing a short skirt, get to marry Elizabeth Taylor and find enough milk every day so she can take a bath. I don’t think milk comes from sheep and that’s all they’ve got in Wales. …. Come by! … What does that mean? The farmers are always saying it, mind you they are talking to dogs, perhaps it is dog language.
I don’t think I should watch TV; I fall asleep in the middle of a film and can’t follow what’s going on, are there any sheep in Rome?
I went to have another nibble and a scratch in the kitchen. I could see the floor had been washed again. It was really only to keep the mad woman busy, otherwise she’d end up like me, eating and sleeping and sleeping and eating. That’s what happens when you get abducted.
Perhaps she was abducted as well.
Life went on in much the same vein for several more days, I never did find a means of escape from that smelly house. Mind you the madwoman did try to entice me outside a few times, but I decided not to bother. Who would have fed me and let me sleep on the clean washing? No, I decided to stay in the hot, smelly house until I plucked up more courage, or at least saw another of my species on the other side of the double glazing. Not many of them around here, it must be right what they said in the paper. It might be safer all round to stay inside. I was getting exercise chasing the string the madwoman had tried to tie on my collar and was now waving around every night when she sat down, and I could jump up on all the furniture when I liked. I was also now able to find my way around in the dark, but what was the point, I had nowhere to go, now I knew what was in every cupboard, corner and crevice of every room.
Sometimes I got annoyed that the remote control for the TV didn’t work, the mad woman always turned the set off when she went out, if the little red light was left on at home, sometimes I could get the TV to flicker if I hit the buttons with my paws, but not here.
PASSING DAYS & EVENTUAL RESCUE
The mad woman, tried to make friends with me, and I found that when I let her, she was happy just to sit down with me on the arm of the sofa and she would stroke and scratch my head. It wasn’t so bad really.
The phone rang one night, it woke me up actually, I had just dropped off and it made me jump when the mad woman heaved herself up to answer it. Much easier to have the phone near where you sit surely, she should have asked me that one. I heard her say your name, mum, she said something about a change of plan and that she would see you later when you arrived.
I was quite excited at the thought of my rescue.
I wasn’t sure how you had found me after all this time, but the mad woman seemed quite happy that you had phoned. So I sat waiting expectantly.
The doorbell rang, I wasn’t sure who it might be so I got ready to run and hide, I had a place ready. Over the past few days I had been pulling the welly boots out little by little and there was enough room for me to get round behind without too much trouble.
I heard mad woman open the inside door and I also heard it close behind her. I guess she didn’t want me to escape after all this time. Anyway, the next thing I heard was you screaming. For one terrible moment, I thought that the madwoman had grabbed you and pulled you into the smelly house as well. I ran to hide.
You know the rest of the story, but as I had not managed to find either a bottle or an open window I thought I would finish writing it anyway.
The screaming continued, I was quite worried about you, but then I heard you come into the house, and there were still lots of loud voices and noise. I wasn’t sure what a frog was, but there was a lot of talk of a big frog being on the doorstep between the two doors. I wish I had seen it but I think someone picked it up and put it out. I only wished they could have done that to me a week or two earlier.
Anyway, as the conversation continued on about the frog and how it had got into the house, I decided I would be far safer where I was, if a frog could get in, what else could, I didn’t know if there were any crocodiles round there, but I had seen them on TV the night before when the mad woman had been asleep with the sound off. I still don’t know why that man was putting his head into the crocodile’s mouth, I don’t think I would have done that, but then maybe he was a dentist and the crocodile had toothache, it seemed to be in a bad mood. It’s very hard to follow a programme without any sound.
After a little while I heard you say that you would have to go and to find me because you had to leave. I wasn’t lost, I was behind the boiler again. I was really confused as you kept saying ‘mum’ and as I call you that I didn’t know who you were talking to or about. The only other person there was the mad woman.
Anyway, the mad woman came into the kitchen to help you look and, of course, knew exactly where to find me, it had to be one of the two remaining places she had left me access. She found me on the first look, I was obviously too predictable. Down came the arm again and the hand knew by then just where to grasp to cause me the most embarrassment when I was hoisted into the air.
Boy was I glad to see you. The mad woman put me straight on to your shoulder and I could smell all sorts of funny smells on you. One I think was sun tan oil, and I noticed that you had gone a funny colour as well.
It was lovely to feel your hands going all over me, and yes, I had lost weight, but I was sure that you would give me lots of tit-bits. The mad woman tried but she used to eat some funny food, nothing like you eat at home.
I just wanted you to take me home and was quite startled when I saw the big grey plastic box. I really didn’t want to go into that again, look what happened the last time I was bundled into it, I ended up here.
You kept telling me I would be alright as you put me into the car but I was a bit worried when it took you a few minutes to get in with me. I really wasn’t sure until the car stopped and you lifted the big grey plastic box out and I could smell the old smells and hear the barking dog who lived next door. I’d never been so pleased to hear that dog bark, but this time he was telling me that he was pleased I was back. Quite nice of him really particularly as he was always shouting at me before I had gone away.
Well, all I wanted to say to you was, I would have been happier if you could just have explained to me what was happening and to say thank you for making sure that I was looked after whilst you were away.
The mad woman was really not quite so mad as I first thought and I now understand that even mums have mums and as the mad woman was your mum no doubt you will grow up to be like her, but not quite so mad.
I will sit on the arm of her chair next time she comes to our house and let her scratch my head, I was getting quite used to that before you came to rescue me.
Apart from the weight loss, it was quite an adventure really with all the new experiences, shame I never got to go down the garden and meet the mangy fox and Pterodactyl, but I think I would have kept away from the round prickly things, I’m sure they had fleas and I certainly don’t want to catch them.
I won’t mind coming back again really, but next time please give me more notice so I can prepare myself for the culture shock, classical music is not quite my scene.
All my love Mindy