We all know how hard it is to get them to do what we want them to do.
‘It’s like herding cats’ is my sarcastic description of choice for any tricky organisational issue.
You never can tell with cats in my experience.
We’ve got four: Mitzi, the blind old one we inherited from our friends Diane and Norm when they moved back to the UK, Lula, the one we brought with us from the UK when we moved eight years ago, and Fat Roger and Wayne, who are brothers we adopted last summer when they were kittens.
Of course my little girl La Gidg dotes on them all. As she should: having pets is a very important part of growing up, at least it was an important part of my early family life.
I’ve found the animals a really good way of teaching and discussing how to behave, what is right and what is wrong. And the last two weeks have been a lesson in not giving up.
Fat Rog is a nosy so and so, and not only a bit too friendly, but definately a bit dumb as well. He’s forever trying to shoot out from our front door onto the main road of our village (a sharp kick in the wotsits was being used to dissuade him from this).
So it had popped up in my mind that he may be the one to get run over at some point.
The night he didn’t turn up for his tea (given his name, this was an unusual occurance) I started to worry, and the next day I got more concerned.
24 hours in and I put out an APB on Facebook, by the following day I was making ‘Perdido’ posters and shouting ‘ROGER!’ at the top of my voice and asking to look in people’s garages and sheds.
But nothing, nada, zip, zero. And then, a lead!
Our neighbour came to see us and explained that her boyfriend who has a van had been loading up on the Monday night ready to go to the local bins the following day, and when he’d opened the van doors at the bins a cat matching Fat Rog’s spec had literally flown out and legged it up the road.
Unfortunately that meant that Fat Rog could well be 5km away from where he lived, had been there for at least 72 hours and there was only the small matter of two busy roads, a valley and a mini mountain pass to traverse to get home...
Well we put 200 posters all over the area, we went there at all times of the day and night, yelling ‘Roger’ into the bushes.
La Gidg, Mel and I even went door to door: at one big fancy house a German man, naked from the waist down answered the door, that was educational, and he told me he was certain Rog would find his way home, I had quite a job keeping my eyes above belt level.
I’ve got to admit that I did check IN the bins, and I kept looking on the pavements and in the gutters where the cat corpses tend to end up.
But every day when I picked up La Gidg we went to look for Fat Rog, even when she didn’t want to.
‘When are we going to stop looking for Roger mummy?’, ‘When we know what has happened to him sweet heart, or we decide to stop.’
But in my mind I was preparing myself for the worst, but I didn’t want her to think that giving up was an option. Sometimes these things come to teach you something, not just your kids, but you too.
So at 3am last Saturday, eleven days after Fat Rog had gone missing, I learnt I was right not to give up, and that giving up is still not an option.
The wanderer returned, just like that, no fanfares but a lot of purring. Just like the pussy cat in ‘The Incredible Journey’ Slim Rog has made it home (name to be revised in about three days...).