Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Curious Incident of the Cat in the Daytime



My little friend, Titan, is the friendliest cat I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. You only have to look at him and he starts purring. In normal circumstances, a simple hello will have him running across the garden to meet me, and he’ll flop down for a roll on the ground and a tummy tickle. He is a happy boy!

However, sometimes he is a naughty kitty and gets me into trouble…

His Uncle Itchy sadly died in a road accident nine days before Titan was born, so Titan and his siblings were brought up as ‘house cats’, though that included regular time spent, supervised, in the garden.

Sometimes, though, when backs were turned and he was away from the gaze of watchful eyes, Titan – obviously having a heart for adventure – would quickly slip out ‘beyond the gate’.

Being very anxious about his safety, after Itchy’s death, this would freak me out a bit.

On one such occasion…

… a bit of background first, though…

I used to write a blog for my local newspaper’s website, about five years ago, about my experiences ‘in recovery’ from depression and associated anxiety problems, and I’d also been interviewed for a feature in the paper itself, to coincide with National Depression Week, in the UK.

It was a very frank interview. I talked about alcohol abuse, agoraphobia, trouble with the police and there was even a prison sentence in there… I had nothing to hide, and I thought, by being honest, perhaps my own experiences could prompt others to find help for themselves, if they needed it.

Not long after the interview was published, a young couple - who lived just down the road from me, but who I never spoke to – stopped me in the street, and the guy (who I only vaguely knew from school, many years earlier) told me he thought it was very brave of me to open up like that. He said he’d had no idea what I’d been through, but they both wished me the best for the future.

I was deeply touched. Perhaps a little bashful, but incredibly grateful that they’d taken the time to say that to me.

… back to the future…

On one such occasion of Titan escaping the confines of the garden, I went out to search for him and spied him sitting under a van, parked across the road at the back of my house.

It’s a cul-de-sac, so there was no ‘clear and present danger’, but my anxiety wasn’t going to leave me until he was back in the house, and safe.

However - unlike when he was in the garden and I only had to call his name for him to come sprinting over for a stroke - no amount of verbal coaxing was going to break his resolve to sit under that van, at his liberty and leisure.

After stooping down and trying to get a hold of him, from various sides of the vehicle, I decided to head back into the garden and grab a branch which had recently been cut from the tree there. I returned and attempted to scoop Titan out, but he just kept moving and watching me like I was an idiot. If cats could laugh, he’d have been howling at my efforts.

I went to get another branch, thinking that I could make a scissor action and force him out towards me…

Then, I heard something that made my heart jump…

… a car… and it was turning into the cul-de-sac…

I had visions of the car approaching, startling Titan and making him race across the road to the garden…

The car turned the corner and came towards us. I had to do something to stop it.

It was that young couple… the ones who had recently read an article about me being ‘a reformed mentalist’ and had wished me luck. They had their children in the back seat, and as the car stopped, they all stared at me…

… standing in the middle of the road… a branch in each hand… not a cat in sight… to all intents and purposes, being a tree…

I will never forget the look in their eyes.

They haven’t talked to me since.

84 comments:

  1. This is a great story, Les! To envision you standing there as a tree - priceless! Thanks for sharing it with us. :-)

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  2. Hahahahahahhahhha - that's about right. Here comes the agoraphobia again then !

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  3. Oh, I could so picture that! See, that's why I kept my cats totally in the house. No gardens for them!

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  4. Yeah, the like to stress us out, don't they! :)

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  5. We own dogs but cats own us and every once in awhile they just have to remind us of that fact.

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  6. Very, very true. We're essentially their PAs. :-)

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  7. Very funny! Yes that's just the kind of thing that cats like to get you into. But consider this, at least you looked whacky & highly individual, crazy but intruiging, whilst most dog owners just get to trail along with their pet, a little 'plastic bag' swinging from hand containing ...hmmm... now which do you think seems the crazier? Yet with dog owners this is the norm!

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  8. Hahaha, yes - I feel lucky, right now! :-)

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  9. LOL. I can just picture the scene.

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  10. You're lucky that you can picture it! I was actually there, and they seriously still don't talk to me! :-P

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    1. Do not let them bother your thoughts Les, If they have read this by now and still won't talk to you, then they probably are too ashamed of themselves or just don't know diddly about cats - or both~

      But the woodpecker(the one I saved from the snake) and I have a secret that we still share, but for one, and that is Pepe' the blackie/whitie cat who takes daily jaunts with us to the dock; Pepe' knows EVERYTHING!!!

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    2. My cat does it too, and in my case I was chasing him with a broom – I live in NYC, so it was quite a show form my neighbors and by passers :) He is a 100% house cat, but I always guard the front door when i open it as he is always somewhere out where waiting for me to open it and for him to sneak out outside. He does succeed from time to time, and it was really tough for me to get him inside until I came up with very cool solution – plastic water spray bottle ( they sell it to spray house plants) – I have one next to my door and a few sprays is enough to keep him away from the door. He now so familiar with this bottle that most of the time I just shake it to him and he runs away from the door. Also, if he still manages to trick me and escape outside – I get him back with this bottle – as soon as he hear me shaking it or spraying it in the air – he run to the safety – inside the house. Try it – perhaps it will work for you too :)

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  11. This made me laugh out loud. It's the sort of thing that would happen to me. And it reminds me of those tv advert from way back - "I want to be... a tree..."

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  12. Hahaha... yeah, I remember. :-)

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  13. I've had exactly the same situation with my cat, Marwood. On several occasions in fact. I'm sure neighbours have looked at me oddly when I've been loitering around their cars, and probably think I'm mental (and they're sort of right, I'm also a depressive). I grew up in rural west Cumbria, my parents house has got fields behind it and there are plenty of gardens and live on a quiet, small estate. I've tried to let go of my anxiety letting Marwood out at my home in Carlisle, but I can't.

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  14. He's a handsome little guy - just read your blog about the bee. :)

    I don't blame you for not letting him out. Cities are dangerous places for cats that are used to roaming in the open. He'll be much safer, if you can stand the meowing at the door! :-)

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  15. ha ha brilliant! I too have appeared to be somewhat unhinged due to fearless naughty cats. My cat Mr Pizza (Bruno) has caused me much worry: he almost died from a ruptured bowel when he was about 1 year old - his chances of surviving and recovering from the operation were 50/50 - don't know whether he was hit by a car, kicked by someone, or fell (he is a little clumsy). He once got locked in a neighbours outhouse and when I got him out he was covered in diesel! He has epilepsy and has had some bad absences which required overnight stays, the vet advised me to keep him indoors due to the epilepsy but he has managed to escape countless times one time it was out of the upstairs bedroom window!(each time he escapes I run around the local area shouting desperately and looking under cars etc). One of the vets actually told me that my cat has 'white cat syndrome' and said 'if he were a child you might say he was a bit backward' not very PC. Anyway I think Mr Pizza is clever in a different way - he has managed on a couple of occasions to open an egg box, take out the eggs, crack them and then eat the contents. Cats are great!

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  16. Hahaha! He sounds like quite a handful. I laughed that you wrote your vet said that about him... maybe shouldn't, but it makes him sound more endearing. I hope you're both well! :-)

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  17. Laughing my ass off as I imagine you standing there in front of that car of converted believers in your recovery...hummm now there's a slip? I think?!
    Great blogger Les!
    Cheers,
    Derrick

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  18. It's lucky people aren't allowed to carry guns in this country, Derrick... that's all I'm saying. ;-)

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  19. Great blog Les and fantastic that you share so much with us followers. Reminds me why we chose a dog over a cat too! :)

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  20. Ha! Thank you, Neil! Yes, a lead would have been very useful. :-)

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  21. What a great story, I too was laughing as I'm sure Titan was. Too bad your neighbors didn't take the time to find out what you were doing, but I guess I understand.

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  22. Ha, thanks Julie! I don't think they wanted to know. They didn't even want to unlock their car doors. Hehe. :-)

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  23. What more can I say? I laughed out loud :D HILARIOUS!!!!!!!

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  24. Hehehe... thanks - it is a true story, though. I wasn't laughing when that family were looking at me! :-P

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  25. awww heheheh naughty kitty. Great story, thx for sharing :)

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  26. Hehe, yes he is... but a very lovable one! Thanks for reading! :-)

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  27. I have 4 cats and the story fits with them all in one way or another (except the "being a mental case" part.

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  28. Les,
    Great story, really loved it, may I have permission to turn it into a short film?
    James Elmore

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  29. Hehe, sure, as long as you give me a credit and show the blog URL? :-P

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  30. Great story so keep them coming

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  31. Certainly will! Thank you! :-)

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  32. Love this story and your writing style - glad to have found your blog through Twitter!

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  33. Thank you so much! I'm glad you're enjoying it! :-)

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  34. I've heard of *branching out* but you brought a whole new meaning to that, Les. Thanks for another amusing story to brighten my day x

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  35. Hehe - thank you for reading. Given me a smile to start my day, too! :-)

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  36. Cats have a way of looking at us sideways as if to say .. really? sometimes they need to feel in control....er...or they let us think we are in control....hmmmmm

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  37. Yeah, I think it's more they allow us that pretence from time to time. ;-)

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  38. What we don't do for our feline friends. Thanks for the laugh.

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  39. What a great story - I can just see you standing there. LOL

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  40. Hehe, you're welcome, Virginia! :-)

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  41. Haha, thanks Jo! Yes... it was one of the more awkward moments in my life. :-)

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  42. This is why my little fuzzy kids stay inside. It may come with increased crazy somedays. But I've never been mistaken for a tree. LOL. Plus we live on one of the busiest streets in our city. I freak if they get out into the vestibule.... And that's usually locked from inside. The thought of losing one, once you've faced that by any means, is truly the worst thing imaginable. But would've loved a pic of you as "the tree", just say it was therapeutic! Getting in touch with nature. I'd probably buy that! XO

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    1. If I'd posted a pic of myself as a tree, I would have been carted off to the bouncy hospital already! :-)

      Cities are no place for inquisitive kitties, no - I'm glad yours stay indoors. :-)

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  43. Winston Churchill said "Cats look down on you, dogs look up to you and pigs are our equals." - Stick with the pigs :)

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    1. Pigs eat children - and just about anything else! :-P

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  44. Thanks for sharing. You have great story telling ability! The things we will do to protect our fur babies :)

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  45. Fantastic read, Les! Reminds me of my little Leyal: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150269696905577.528361.849755576

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  46. Les, you are a big man with a bigger heart. I've never been much of a cat person, but your stories about your cats make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
    eden
    xoxox

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    1. Ah, the kitties are great, Eden! Every writer should have at least one! I'm glad I make you warm and fuzzy inside! ;-)

      xoxox

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  47. Well, this is a great story and it reminds me very much of what happened with my indoor cat the other day. She hid for hours in the basement JUST to be naughty, all the while listening to my husband and I call for her. I even coerced my husband to walk up and down the streets and call all the neighbors (I had to pick up my daughter, ahem). This entailed, mind you, contacting neighbors we hadn't spoken to in years. All ended up well and no one actually made fun of us. Cats are the damndest!

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  48. LOL! Fantastic! I wish I didn't live in such an urban area. I would absolutely grab two branches and just stand in the middle of the road like a stranded tree. Very Scooby-Doo of you!

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  49. Still mourning the passing of our dearest loyal SAM, this story tickles my heart !

    We have a new rescued cat, RED who is so neurotic that he paces and runs at the slightest sound . . . poor thing !

    We are not giving up hope that he will find peace in our loving home :)

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    1. Aw, I'm sorry to hear about Sam, but pleased that you enjoyed the story. I really hope Red has settled in by now, too! :-)

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  50. I had one cat called 'Rover' who went everywhere & never seemed to come to harm. Her companion 'Bella' a beautiful Russian Blue, only crossed the road once (and it was a quiet road). That was it. A car sent her to her maker.

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    1. That's awful. I'm really sorry to hear about Bella. :-(

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  51. Cute story. Don't they know that even trees need love? Especially trees with great bone structure and the sweet heart to stop traffic for a pet. Thanks for sharing and thanks for all the stories that I forgot to thank you for. :)

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  52. Very funny story, I could just imagine their faces as they saw you with your branches.

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  53. The main thing is that you averted a catastrophe...

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    1. Cheers, Derek. He's still safe and well. Doesn't venture out of the garden much now, though. He's an old man of a cat, but remains very content. :-)

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  54. Les, This is a great story, I totally pictured it, you standing there, "directing traffic." Like a sit com. :)

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  55. ♥ ThankU Les ...
    It is so good when we can laugh at ourselves ....
    isn't? ... LOL
    Control is a hard one ...
    ~Debbie:)

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  56. Hah. Sounds a bit like my cat, Poppy. She was brought up as an outside cat (and seems to have fairly good road sense), and she has two completely different personalities. Inside, she is the most affectionate little hot water bottle in the world. Outside, even in the garden, she won't let anyone approach her, even me. I think she thinks it would ruin her street-cred.

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  57. This was really funny to read. I have a dog, but ofte she would take little adventures, and I remember having some of the emotions you described in your story.

    Maybe your neighbors will figure it out :-)

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  58. Cats are the most loving creatures on earth, and all creatures are loving if given a chance - even humans. Great story! Your friend from twitter @palsimon

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  59. Great blog, honesty, heart and humour.

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  60. sigh.I wrote long post. pushed "preview" and the page zoomed away, never to be seen again - suggestions? should be saved somewhere??

    Julie Bryant

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  61. Great story! I am such a sucker for a good cat story and a good mental-health-recovery story so you had it all bundled into one great read.

    Congrats and thank you!

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  62. Great story! Made me laugh!

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  63. What a hilarious story! The cats do have a way with us humans! If they could only talk, what stories they would tell! :-)

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  64. Carrie Ann Lahain20 February 2013 at 22:58

    Pets bring out the crazy in all of us. I think it's because our relationships with them bypass the intellectual. The connection is pure heart and spirit. Years ago, I darted in front of a garbage truck to block it hitting my Doberman. Big puppy that he was, he'd broken through my screen door and run into the street. I have suffered from crippling social anxiety for most of my life. At times my pets were the only beings in my life. So if my love for them made me a little crazy...well, I can live with that. I think we're at our most human in our craziness. And, by the way, good for you for keeping your cats indoors. They'll live longer and healthier lives.

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  65. If one ever had a doubt as to whether cats were intelligent and had a sense of humor, this should put the matter to rest. I would love to have seen the expression on Titan's face as you played along into his trap. "Been there, done that".
    Thanks for sharing.

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  66. Wonderful story, and so happy to know that I am not alone...what we will do to keep our feline kiddies safe... not to mention a Westie, that's another heart in your mouth anxiety attack when she gets out...you gotta love em. Thanks for the story certainly brings a smile to face...so many of us out there!

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  67. That was good. that was funny. and that was very, funny.

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  68. You might consider trying to bring the outdoors inside for Titan so that he doesn't want to go outside. Little shelves on your wall, scratchers, there's even a Cat Show DVD of birds & bugs. I've helped several feral cats learn to enjoy the great indoors! He's a cutey for sure!

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  69. Absolutely hilarious, I was in fits of laughter!

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