The Mystery of the disappearing cat

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May 28th 2012
Published: May 28th 2012
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The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat

Those of you with a literary bent with a particular knowledge of mid-20th century children’s fiction will have noticed that I have nicked the title of this blog entry from the title of one of Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers series of stories. Sometimes I feel that I’m in the middle of someone else’s story with me cast as a bit of flotsam in a tale of torment.

Let me start at the beginning. Several weeks ago I admired Owen’s cat that was preening itself in the sun – handsome animal. Owen’s response was something like ‘You can have him if you like’ as Wahoo (the cat’s name) was the last of an enormous number of feline waifs, strays and kittens acquired over the previous year. No, the rest hadn’t been dispatched in black bin bags from the stern of a disappearing RMS St Helena but had been found new homes. I don’t think that Owen really wanted to see the last of Wahoo, but we did agree that I should look after the cat whilst Owen was on a long holiday from the island.

Thursday before last, Wahoo arrived with his suitcase jammed with goodies that are clearly from the luxury end of feline tasties – I already had in my mind that once this stock had all been consumed I would hunt out a cheap box of ‘Go Cat’, any luxuries Wahoo could find for himself. Perhaps this its where it started going just a bit wrong. Not only was the cat clearly upset about being brought to a new home, didn’t wish to be kept indoors – a fortnight (yes, 2 bloomin’ weeks) before being allowed outside – but he wasn’t obviously keen on me. I have to say the feeling was mutual, and increasingly so. I always thought that I liked cats but perhaps not any more.

The cat spent a week snarling, meowing, pacing around and generally reminding me that he was here on sufferance. What he did during the day didn’t concern me (mainly because I was out at night) but the nighttime noise and disturbance was annoying to say the least and, on more than one occasion, I got up and shouted at the wretched creature. Once Wahoo had found a safe place behind the micro-wave he was happier, and quieter – although he certainly went a bit peculiar when I turned on the device to warm some milk – perhaps some of the waves zapped him from the back of the machine.

Well, things took a turn for the worse last Friday – I had had a series of birthday Skype conversations and listened and watched clever birthday cards before having to go out and clear the wretched animal’s wretched litter tray. Exit and cleared successfully. But re-entering the house Wahoo did a snake-slither and rushed out into the garden. I dropped the tray and went to grab him – but Wahoo typically failed to see this as a friendly gesture and ran off and sat below a cactus plant (I though I’d mention this in case this sad tale had made you forget that I was somewhere exotic). I went towards the cat but, just like Alice’s Cheshire Cat, it seemed to disappear before my eyes – not with a smile (as in the tale) but with a snarl which seems to be Wahoo’s customary look. I spent ages looking for the animal all over the garden – you must remove immediately any thoughts of manicured gardens with English early summer plants and flowers. No, chez-Theobalds in New Ground, St Helena is a building site interspersed with cacti, arum lilies and all manner of sharp and dangerous gorse-type plants.

My final thought on the matter (I thought) was ‘bugger the creature – if it wants to run away, it can’. So I trudged up the slope to the road to collect my car (why I can’t park it in the drive of my house is another story which, on a slow week, I will recount) only to find a dead cat in the road – yes, a dead cat obviously splattered by a passing car. Oh no, what will my e-mail to Owen say, will I be able to convince him with an alternative tale? I took a closer look, and it wasn’t Wahoo! What a horrible coincidence – a runaway cat and a dead cat all within a few minutes! I would like to be able to say that ‘relief swept through me’ or something similar but in all truth my reaction was one of slight disappointment. Not only did I not particularly like the animal but I was already looking forward to a full night’s sleep. Is that a selfish and rather churlish thought – undoubtedly!

If that wasn’t Wahoo’s corpse spread on the road where is the wretched animal? I drove over to Owen’s house and put a note on the door – no, not for the cat but for anyone who had bothered to inspect the electronic tag in Wahoo’s ear. And that was that – I had no intention of scouring the island hunting for a cat that really didn’t want my company. I collected all of Wahoo’s belongings and placed them carefully in his overnight bag and very quickly got used to enjoying life on my own again. Everyone I spoke to about the cat had a bit of a laugh and told me that Owen wanted me (really) to keep the animal so I rationalized it all and felt quite comfortable being back in my cat-free zone.

This weekend has been a bit stormy and wet (whilst you in the UK have been turning red in this short summer season – due to end Wednesday I believe. If you haven’t got your shorts and flip-flops out yet, don’t bother as you won’t be needing them awhile) and yesterday evening (Sunday) was particularly so. I jumped out of my seat when I heard a thump and saw a snarling feline face staring in at me through the window – yes, Wahoo returning from his weekend break. I was almost tempted to close the curtains and pretend – but my better nature prevailed, the cat was allowed to enter and he gorged himself on high luxury cat cuisine. He then turned to me, meowed and prowled around the room. He didn’t even stop to have a wash, went to the door and disappeared into the night. He’s obviously out there enjoying something in this St Helena building plot and will, presumably return as and when he wishes.


28th May 2012

My my, your patience and understanding isn't that saintly-like quality that I recall from long evenings at tribute band concerts at Ludlow Castle! And relax...
31st May 2012

Mike, Really enjoyed the post in a sadistic sort of way. Sorry he is causing you so much trouble. I'm not surprised he is being a pain. He is used to coming and going as he pleases and has oceans of turf to himself. He would only ever spend minutes in the house per day. As you said, hopefully he will just come and go now and keep himself happy. Keep me posted. By the way I am 25 floors up in a bangkok hotel, a different planet. Owen
4th April 2013

Enid blytons mysteries
I would recommend this for small children, buy Enid blytons mysteries series 6 books set collection children classic books

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