I am writing this oh-so-rare post with a cat snuggled down on my lap. Nothing odd about that, you might think (apart from the fact that I am writing a post at all, when I seem to have given up such things over a year ago). But hold on a minute, all the house cats left here months ago to live 1000 km away in Derby. So who is this familiar beast warming my thighs?
Three years ago, Val wrote “Mother Cat has once again gone walkabout, and has been gone now for such a long time (more than three weeks), that we really don’t think she will be coming back.”
She had gone missing for a week in March 2010, returning as if nothing had happened. Then at the end of April 2010 she was gone again, this time apparently for ever. Val tried to be optimistic: “Of course is it quite possible that Mother Cat is squashed and flat in the middle of a busy road somewhere, or that she has succumbed to some mystery illness and chosen to Do the Honourable Thing, and die alone under a bush, rather than infect her family with the dreadful disease. But knowing Mother Cat as we know her, we really think that she is probably living a life of luxury in someone else’s home. Not squashed and flat, but round and fat, and feeling not one iota of feline guilt for having gone away forever and a day, and not even so much as thought about sending us a postcard.”
As time went by, we reached the point when we wondered no more. Even Mother’s name was re-assigned to a new cat, as Barn Cat became Barn Mother and eventually just Mother. Original Mother became no more than a fond memory, one of many loved-but-long-departed cats that have brightened our lives.
Until this morning.
A miaow at the door? The barn cats don’t normally do that. Perhaps there’s something wrong. The dogs are interested, so perhaps I’d better have a look . . . .
And there she is, as bold as you like. She’s perhaps a bit thin, and certainly keen to have something to eat.
She can’t decide whether eating or stroking is the greatest priority, so she alternates between stuffing herself and leaping up into my arms.
I am just gobsmacked. Three years!
Perhaps the word has gone out on the cat grapevine that the house is now empty. Mother has realised that she could be on to a good thing, and has abandoned her home, wherever that was.
Anyway, she’s back as though nothing has changed. And in she comes. Never mind the dogs!
She’s in a better condition than Shakespeare’s prodigal, but she’s a welcome returner. It’s really great to see her. I wonder how long she will stay . . . . . .
How like the prodigal doth she return,
With over-weather’d ribs and ragged sails,
Lean, rent and beggar’d by the strumpet wind!
Merchant of Venice, Act 2 Scene 6