Lennon bas-relief

Owning a pet is a double-edged weapon. Yes they can be delightful and great company, but they can certainly cause you much grief if they are at all high-spirited. If you want specifics then just settle back and hear about the latest bit of Magic to happen in sunny Wimbledon.

Magic, in this instance is an extremely boisterous and high-spirited Burmese kitten, which has been ruling the roost at his new home in Wimbledon since his arrival a few months ago. He has taken it into his paws to widen his owners’ circle of friends by visiting virtually every house in the neighbourhood and has joined in with everything from family barbecues to house building; and even is a part time sleeping companion for an elderly lady with Alzheimer’s.

Almost without fail he has worked his charms on his new friends and acquaintances, with one signal exception, but we shall not mention Roger the bastard at this time.

Magic is a particularly pretty little cat and is also just about the nosiest feline in the world. In consequence he makes friends quickly and has established an ever-widening patrol area. Helen, his chief provider, and theoretically owner, now recognises that he is going to be out for longish periods during the day and only returns home when he thinks he had better reassure his main food providers that all is well.

Magic’s owner has had phone calls from people up to half a mile away, checking that he isn’t lost and in consequence now knows more people than ever in the neighbourhood. Almost without fail they have fallen for his charms and winning ways and so she knows he is pretty much safe wherever he goes.

That is until last week! One evening he just didn’t come home at his usual time in the late afternoon. By eight o’clock H (a cunning pseudonym) had started ringing round the list of “new” friends to see if he was with them. No luck at all. By ten o’clock anxiety levels were sky high. As she spoke on the phone you could almost sense ten inch nails being turned into tightly wound screws with the sheer tension present.

The next morning my mobile phone was getting filled up with text messages about the still non-appearance of Magic. By noon it was clear that something was about to give. H had contacted everyone she could think of in the neighbourhood and phase two of Cat Rescue was underway. Flyers with pictures were printed off and the entire area was laid out like a military operation. Different people would be leafleting streets near them and H was preparing to send everyone pictures of Magic to their phones so that they could stop people in the street at random and demand if they had “seen this cat!”

By the end of the day, it was clear that Magic was now the centre of attention for H and her entire world. She had even gone round to see Roger (the bastard) to ask if he had seen Magic.

True to form, Roger demonstrated his hatred of anything not directly involving himself, and rather rudely suggested to Helen that he had not and couldn’t give a damn if he never saw that blasted cat again, and he was busy, so good day!

New friends and acquaintances phoned in regularly to catch up on any news and tried to cheer H up with snippets of information about Burmese and their notoriety for wandering and adopting several homes, but always returning to base eventually.

A second sleepless night followed, still with no sign of Magic. The “worst case scenario” offered up by H’s husband had not helped this. H had suggested that none of the neighbours (with the possible exception of Roger) would keep a cat against its will. But then her husband said, “Yes, but what about the builders working in the area, you know those who live in Wapping and other not so desirable areas?”

“Those would”, he suggested, “think nothing of popping a pretty little cat in a bag or hold all and then taking it home to his family as a stray. A much cheaper way of getting a pedigree cat than lashing out on one!”

“Oh my God. I hadn’t thought of that! And how would Magic find his way back from Wapping?” H spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and imagining Magic in some kind of cat slavery in a disreputable part of London.

By the morning of Day three things were looking pretty desperate. “I’ll go and do my work at the Hospice, that will keep my mind at least partially off Magic and his plight,” announced our heroine before she set off.

Things were indeed looking bleak and I hardly dared look at my phone whenever a new message came through. But then just after lunch came the vital couple of words.

“He’s Back” was all the text said, but suddenly the day brightened up and I knew it was safe to call my sister without tears being choked back. And indeed half of Wimbledon is now celebrating the safe return of the little Burmese.

As for what happened next, well dear reader, I can assure you that Magic is in deep trouble with his mistress and steps have been taken. All will be revealed shortly.