For a long time now the tempestuous weather has been unrelentingly grim and dark with no feel-good light since God was a boy. However, now- at last- the sun is cranking its neck round to squint at itself, trying to become accustomed and adjust to its own estranged light once more. I thought at first that the sun was recovering from some solar autoimmune system shut down episode and nightmare, trying to develop a tolerance of self again. Er, no. Mr Sunbeam is beginning to gain his confidence one more, and peep through the dull and grey, though, still tentatively asking, ‘Is it safe to come out now?’, all because that bullying Jet Stream has sat- and quite frankly- shat on us for what feels like a squillion, million years, to make sure we are under no confusion who’s boss when it comes to actually controlling the weather, Bully Bugger Jet Stream blew in and effectively belly flopped, like the wrestler Big Daddy would, and pinned our 15 million degrees centigrade inferno down, waiting for its slap of submission. Well, now that our fireball has been released, this traumatised hot rock is displaying hostage- like behaviour of the Stockholm Syndrome kind, whereby the seized, bound and gagged sunshine doesn’t want to leave its miserable, howling gale swept, hurricane force, monsoon-driven captor anymore. A relationship has been built with the hostile kidnapper and sunbeam doesn’t know what it wants to do anymore.
This syndrome I also identify in our two cats. If you’re familiar with my very first blog, early last December, I wrote in particular about one of two 2-year-old cats, our own big adorable chunky teddy bear, extremely affectionate most of the time and only displaying something other than that on sight of his brother. http://www.skilbey.com/shooting-stars/ Kit Kat Chunky AKA Teddy Bear, or our very own Ermine Scarf, certainly wanted his brother out of the way and when it became clear to him that this was not going to happen, Chunks would vote with his feet and go AWOL. Eventually, his return visits became fewer and shorter. Some months later- five actually- we were finally reunited with our much-loved cat, our very own dumpling, residing some miles away. We went to collect him and could see the problem: Chunks had now become attached, to a lady friend. Tricky.
So we had to come up with a ‘settlement programme’. We brought him back home and kept him in that night. It was hard watching him pace up and down and sit on the window, mewing out towards the fields and beyond. The next day we put the programme into action: getting his manhood resettled.
Thou shall not remove the testicles of a cat ever again. No- I didn’t do it personally, that would be weird.
In fact, we did both cats in the hope that they would get along better with each other as well as curbing- hopefully – Mr Lover Lover’s wandering everything from going too far away.
We kept them in for a couple of days to recover from the anaesthetic; they could be wobbly on their feet and drift into traffic. Also, we needed to get them back to factory settings, (they were born here in our home). Picking them up from the vets I was reminded of an advert many years ago that was taken off the air shortly after first views as it sparked a wave of complaints. It was demonstrating how powerfully effective a well-known pain relieving children’s suspension was at simply sedating children, demonising parents in the process. Trying to recall, there were two children attempting to play some climbing /abseiling game; one was positioned at the top of the stairs, the other at the bottom and both were holding the ends of a long rope, however, if I remember rightly, neither could move. They were in atrance-like state. The advertisment seemed to endorse that that was the parent’s objective.
The vet said they may want a little food that evening but allow them plenty to drink and just let them get settled again. So they had food, water, litter tray, radiator beds and lots of affection. As soon as we arrived home, chunks burst out of his carrier, slightly wobbly, but acting like nothing had happened and was keen to eat, looking at me for more, before he had even finished what was in his bowl. I didn’t oblige with his request- vets orders. Either he was boring his eyes into me for more food, or he was taser gunning me, in recognition of what had happened today; ‘you had something to do with my missing crown jewels, you brought this the pain upon me’.
Day one in captivity was hard to watch. They remained extremely still, like china ornaments that had lost their ‘ornaments’. I’m sure they have it etched it into their memory it was me that took them and collected them. By the evening, they were pacing the room, hallway and hogging doors in anticipation all in slow motion. It was a first for me, watching cats searching and finding their inner tortoise. Day two, they became stir crazy to get out. But we were determined to see this through. We didn’t want to be driving unnecessary miles to pick up cat again and only have him stay with us as if we were a hotel. It was crucial that we got this right. Throughout day two, though, I felt bad. I felt like I had put bromide in the water, spike their food. No, I’ve done worse than that. I’ve taken away their manhood. I’m sure their mews are now falsetto. Then the mighty reckoning time arrived and they were throwing themselves at the door and bouncing off the walls with the speed and agility of a twenty-year-old cat. Pitiful.
So I opened the door, they shot out and then just stopped, as if they’d run out of steam. They sniffed the air, looking a little confused, and then, they just stayed put, a few metres from the house. Chunks eventually turned back, curled up on the doorstep and stayed there. Cat number two followed chunks. They looked shocked and disorientated. I disappeared and came back about an hour later and they were still there, hugging the house.
Sadly, something’s missing from them -apart from the obvious, thanks, Sherlock. The cats Mojo’s have gone. Attitude and character missing. The vet nurse made a point of telling me- she thought it was funny- that Chunks had an extremely large set of jewels. Had they mistakenly taken his Hipster Pack as well? Chunks was that cat that lived on the edge of the wild side and domesticity, always with his splash of humour and charm. He was the cat that brought in presents bigger than himself and, and, if he were living in an urban/city environment like my friends London cat, he would most definitely, as well as bringing in the usual round of bird, frog, mouse or large rat, he would definitely, like hers, be bringing in boxes of Kentucky Fried Chicken through the cat flap- yes, the entire box with chicken pieces in it, not chicken pieces and fuck the box.
I’m giving them time, like the sun. Hopefully, Mojo will come back. Real characters shine through.