I admit it, I am a sucker for a good sob story. However, my interest usually lasts so long.
As a teenager I’d arrive home after a night out with a group of total strangers who had bunked out of home or whatever. I’d go to bed leaving them to their own devices. My darling mother would feed them and eventually knock on my door to ask politely if I knew who the young man watching TV was. I’d reply in the negative. She’d feed them and send them home.
All of which is why my husband reacted so badly to my latest waif and stray. We’d stopped in a rest area on the way back from holiday when I heard a plaintive little cry. On closer inspection I found a tiny ginger kitten covered in grease and oil cowering under the wheel of an Isuzu about to flatten it. It did that Puss in Boots look at me. I was a goner. Soon I had it sitting on my lap, eating a burger and purring like the engine of a finely tuned Harley Davidson.
“No,” said my husband when he saw the bundle of fur. “Absolutely not. Over my cold dead body”
“But Daddy!” wept Small girl aged 6, “If we leave her, she’ll die and you’ll be a kitty murderer.”
“Yes Daddy,” said Small boy aged 7 solemnly, “God would not be pleased.”
After an intense hour of sad looks and prophecies of the kitty’s impending doom…
“If, and I mean if, that animal comes with us, you will feed the dogs every day when you get home for the rest of their lives. You will make me coffee every morning for the rest of your life.” He also added some marital provisos I agreed to.
“Oh yes, Daddy!” all three offspring burst out, the tears magically vanishing as the discussion on naming began.
“It had better be a girl,” muttered my long-suffering husband.
The cat was duly named Rose Tyler in deference of the family’s latest addiction to Doctor Who and happily curled up on my lap for the remainder of the journey home. During which, my husband tried to maintain a stony silence, broken by sideways glances at the piece of fluff and references to “ass fallen in the butter”.
Old Rose cleaned up pretty well after a bath, some tick and flea dip and associated grooming. Our current feline partners reacted with resigned indifference. Friday, the Burmese, seems to operate under the impression that if she pretend it is not there, it won’t be. Sinatra, the Siamese, is delighted to have a companion that will play with him.
I hope vaguely, that the Doctor’s street smarts may rub off on my pampered Beverly Hills cats.
Sadly, Rose turned out not to be a Rose at all. So, he is now Doctor Who or The Doctor. He sleeps in the sunshine, talks constantly and likes to drive in the car looking out the window. A far cry from life in a garage forecourt.
Husband is still trying to maintain a manly distance, but has been caught prostrate in secretive cat worship. He even woke up early and built a cat walk around the roof.
Homing a stray can be fraught with difficultly. Mine have usually been quite educated. Fatima came from the University and Montgomery from the Transport Museum. Adopting a cat from a truck spot, could be problematic personality wise.
Quite seriously though, strays can carry diseases like rabies and auto-immune infections. The Doctor has been thoroughly checked over by the vet (at the approximate cost of a pedigreed Persian) and declared disease free. Still, I have adopted cats from the SPCA and Friends of the Cat who have died soon after from infection. Quite often you can’t tell without expensive and complicated blood tests.
The Doctor is now part of the family and swaggering around like he has finally come home. He may feel differently in a few months when his virility is substantially diminished.