“When you get here just make sure they don’t spot you coming in through the door, OK?”
That was how Noel briefed us on the day of the visit to the vets. My instructions couldn’t have been clearer. But sadly the game was up, the cats had got wind of plot and were getting ready for our next move.
“And remember,” continued Noel. “They are smarter than us, I think they have already formed an escape committee and have at least two dummy tunnels dug to fool us before we try and corner them. I probably shouldn’t have got the cat baskets out last night. All it has done is spook the pair of them and they keep looking at me as though I am a mass murderer!”
By the time I had briefed Da Boss about the safety precautions and we let ourselves in, it was clear that everyone in the house knew that it was close to ‘C’ Hour. Well, ‘C C’ Hour to be more precise. It was Cat Catching time and George and Bridget, the two cats in question, were clearly in no mood to come quietly.
You would have thought that three adults would have been more than a match for two relatively young and inexperienced cats; especially as all doors, catflaps and windows were securely fastened. You would have been wrong however! Bridget had previously demonstrated her ability to morph into a hamster and slip into the smallest of spaces the last time she had to due to go to the Vet’s.
Fortunately this time she was extra busy watching Da Boss, who she really didn’t trust. That was because Da Boss had been responsible for giving Bridget a squirt of anti-flea stuff the other week. Things like that stay in a cat’s memory and Bridget was eyeballing Da Boss for all she was worth. The beauty of all that hostility was that she didn’t spot me sneaking up behind her.
Surprise was on our side and Bridget was soon in her travelling basket with a minimum of fuss and bother. However she did manage to give me one of those deeply hurt glares that cats and pissed off girlfriends seem to specialise in. I was clearly off her Christmas list for the foreseeable future.
“Right, one down. Now George should be easier,” proclaimed Noel, the cats’ owner. “He doesn’t really mind the vets and cat baskets you know!”
How wrong George proved him to be! All of a sudden the usually relaxed and extremely laid back cat known as George grew four extra legs. These stuck out at right angles to his body and clearly were going to be difficult to fit into a cat basket that had suddenly shrunk in size.
George had suddenly become some kind of awkward octopus that had been starched into all kinds of unnatural and unacceptable shapes. No matter which way you tried to push him into the basket there was always a limb or two left over.
I have no idea how cats do this, but they are the closest things I know to shape changers. Those cuddly little creatures can suddenly transform themselves into a deadly combination of claws and teeth with wickedly fast reactions and the ability to target soft bits of a human being.
George wasn’t quite as vicious as some cats I have encountered but he certainly wasn’t going to make life easy for us as we tried to manoeuvre him into the cat basket.
Each time we managed to get most of the limbs into the basket another spare set appeared as if by magic. Eventually he gave in rather grudgingly and howled in a mournful way as we headed to the car.
By the time we got to the vets the inside of my head was ringing to the sound of cats howling – in stereo of course. Bridget had decided that she should help George with his low level moaning and together they were making it clear to anyone in their vicinity that they were being kidnapped or catnapped and that someone should do something. Miraculously within seconds of being at the vets they shut up. I am not sure quite what is in the air at those surgeries but all the animals just sit quietly in their boxes and baskets and wait their turn patiently.
Twenty minutes later the cats had been wormed, innoculated and even chipped and were heading back home. No doubt Da Boss and I will be treated as evil cat molesters for the next few weeks. Noel, on the other hand, is regarded as some kind of good guy. He had nothing to do with their ill treatment and indeed was the one to let them out of their travelling boxes on their return home, so is right up there in the Hero stakes.
Next time I think I’ll make sure that Noel is put in the frame as well. After all, it was his idea to have them make them visit the vet in the first place. Now all I have to do is get George and Bridget to believe me when I tell them that!