Cat Rescue

It’s slightly disconcerting when you aren’t expecting any visitors, and someone rings on your doorbell at twenty past ten at night. So you find your keys, slip some shoes on and make your way to the door.


And there’s an old lady there. Now I’m not great at estimating ages, but she is at least in her seventies and possibly older. She is out of breath and is obviously suffering from the cold outside. It must be something important for her to have come over and rang on the doorbell at this time of night.

“Are you the ones with the cat?”

Our grey cat, Darwin, is winding himself around my legs as she says this.

Grey cat on the left - Darwin; Ginger one on the right - Einstein (flickr)

“Well, we’ve got this one,” I indicate the cat. “And there’s a big ginger one. What’s the matter?”

“Well it’s the ginger one. I can’t get him to move.”

“He’s not moving? Where is he? Is he all right?”

“Oh he’s fine. It’s just that he’s in my armchair and I need to go to bed now…”.

So I’m led over the road by my elderly neighbour, who clearly is getting out of breath just walking thirty yards, and makes a specific point of telling me that she’s been worse than usual recently and had to go to hospital the other week, and feeling guiltier by the second. As we get to her house and go inside I can see a number of adaptions — extra handles added next to the front door, a chair lift to go upstairs, a telephone with extra-large keys, what appears to be medic-alert stuff and so on. She is obviously not well, and the terms ‘bird-like’ and ‘frail’ would not be inappropriate.

And sure enough there in her living room, sat snugly on the armchair is Einstein, who vaguely looks up at me as I come in, but still shows no sign of being willing to move. He is a big cat. He weighs about 14-16 pounds, and there’s not an ounce of fat on him. He’s just the cat version of being built like a brick shithouse. I can certainly understand why someone who is unwell and infirm might have trouble shifting him.

So I pick him up, and start apologising profusely, thinking “you’re being kept in for the next few days, matey”, and ask how she thought he got in. At this point, I stop feeling so much like he has invaded her house, when she tells me that she had left the front door open when she had visitors, so he could come in if he wanted, and that he’s been fine and no bother — he’s had some nice chicken for his dinner, he’s played with her grandkids — it was only that she wanted to go to bed now.

It then occurred to me that this was the same woman who had called on us once before asking if our cat was unwell, as she hadn’t seen him for a couple of days. I had wondered why this would be of sufficient note for our neighbours to come round and talk to us about it, but obviously if she’s feeding him every day as well…

She obviously doesn’t want him not to come round — I think she likes the company without having to have the responsibility for him — so the cheeky little scampuss gets to go around and be fed nice dinners regularly. Meanwhile, I’ve given her my phone number in case he ends up “stuck” in her house again late at night to save her needing to come out…

I wouldn’t mind, but what is preying on my mind slightly is that how come our neighbours are prepared to invite our cats round for dinner, but not us…?

7 Responses to “Cat Rescue”

  1. Holly responds:

    “how come our neighbours are prepared to invite our cats round for dinner, but not us…?”

    I have similar thoughts about our dogs. We regularly go out and people will say, “There’s Holly and Amber,” or say hello to the dogs, by name. I’ll ask hubby who it was, and he’ll say, “I thought you must’ve known them.”

    So how do the dogs have social contact with our neighbours and we don’t?

  2. Carol responds:

    Jack, I remember vividly when your (childhood) cat Tiger used to visit me when you lived nearby. After he’d had a snack I used to walk him back home. Neighbours would often call out “he wont need any tea today - I gave him a pork chop earlier” or “I shared my fish with him today” Seems like your cats are very sociable and enjoy dining out!! Maybe Einstein is another “Six Dinner Sid” - which is, by the way, a brilliant childrens book.

  3. chartroose responds:

    Awww! The reason your neighbours invite your cat instead of you is because he’s so cute and cuddly and he’s orangey-striped and has (I’m sure) a wonderful purr. While you may have one or two of these characteristics, I’m pretty sure your fur and your purr aren’t quite as pretty.

  4. JackP responds:

    @Carol - I can’t really begrudge anyone scrounging a nice dinner. And yes, Tiger was very much like that — and that’s without telling the other ‘he ownned the neighbourhood’ stories’. As a cat ‘parent’, I suppose I should appreciate that he’s sociable and gets on with my neighbours. PS lovely to have you comment!

    @Chartroose — all I’ll say is that, my dear, you haven’t heard me purr.

  5. Jack's Mam responds:

    Laughed my socks off at this one!
    @ Chartroose- Jack has got fur too but not stripey that I know of!!

  6. JackP responds:

    She’s just been round again — not because the cat was in her house, but just because she wanted to tell me not to be cross at him, because he’s welcome to come round, and to ask if he was all right.

    I think I need to send him round to see her later!

  7. Chris Hunt responds:

    Cats, eh? Gotta love the devious little critters!

    +1 on the brilliance of “Six Dinner Sid”, the first thing I thought of when I read this post.

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