Once upon a time we had a rescue cat. Called Layla. A few weeks after she mewed into our lives, we awoke one morning to find her gasping for air on the kitchen floor.
My then husband and I raced her off to the vet, who checked her over and discovered that she had much internal damage to her organs. He pronounced that she would not live long, perhaps a few months and that we should offer her the calmest and most comfortable life possible.
She should not go outside. She should take tablets for the rest of her not-so-many days. Her life should be kept as stress free as possible as her heart could give in at any given moment. And she no longer had permission to be dressed.
I’d never had an un-dressed cat before, and I cannot recommend it.
Layla leapt from person to furniture, up curtains, down door frames with the acrobatic ability of a true master.
Despite her apparent necessity for calmness.
She also required, at a certain time of the month, affection and ‘pleasuring’ from any given surface, be it floor, table leg or human body part. And her male suitors destroyed the possibility of sleep for us and the slightly annoyed neighbours.
We visited our
expensive friendly vet who gave her the cat ‘pill’.
What with tablets and check ups, our visits to the vets were regular. And the situation often arose, that I needed to transport our furry little friend by bus.
At first I placed her in a cat box, but the vet complained that she didn’t like it. That her heart was too stressed. And so I looked for another solution.
I found a cat harness at my local pet shop. You place the harness around the main body of the cat and then hold on to a lead part. That way you can take your cat for a walk. Like a dog.
Except Layla did not want to walk. Instead she preferred to ‘ride’ on my shoulder. Like a parrot. On a pirate.
So the parrot and I set off for the bus, to visit the vet.
We arrived at the surgery and Layla sailed through her checks with flying colours. The
nutty helpful vet told me that my cat’s condition was much better that day, and I should continue using the harness in order to transport her. Deluded Delighted I took my adored pussy to the pet shop for a special cat treat and being the friendly person that I am, I got chatting to the young assistant.
Layla had decided to take on her cat role once again, and had at that moment all fours on the floor, somewhere around my feet. I felt a little pull on the harness, I looked down only to realise that my de-stressed cat had discovered a large bag of bird feed. And how to open it. And at that moment bird feed spilled, spectacularly, all over the floor.
I apologised to the seemingly forgiving young assistant and hastened to the door. With my cat in harness and her 50p treat.
We stood together at the bus stop.
Well, I stood. She balanced. Cleverly making use of her claws.
It was peak time for travelling. But we found a seat on the bus. Between the grannies. And the shopping bags. The chatter and the cackle.
I sighed a sigh and massaged my bloody shoulder. And that cat sat under the chair in front of me.
The bus rolled along and I pulled on the lead. Just to check.
The harness arrived in my lap. Empty.
Not even a hairball.
I jumped and I shrieked. Crawled along the aisle on all fours. Shoving shopping bags out of the way. The bus pulled up at its first stop. I ran to the front. Yelled at the driver. Held the passengers hostage.
“Where’s my cat? Have you seen my cat?”
I jumped on and off the bus.
Chinese whispers played through the passengers. Loudly. Indignant moans were uttered as shopping bags were swept aside.
Grimy and near hysterical, I forced my way through on all fours, back towards where I had been seated. Then I saw her. Beneath a seat, two rows back from mine.
All stretched out and relaxed.
I dismounted the bus amidst strange looks and nods. Clicks and pointing fingers. Looking completely ridiculous with a cat upon my shoulder.
As I arrived home my ex-husband kindly inquired about the well-being of our cat.
This is the response he received:
“The cat’s fine. But I need a bloody vodka!”