The saying is that ‘everything happens for a reason’, and it certainly is the case that, in retrospect, we can often see that something that happened that didn’t appear to be so good at the time turns out to be for the best. So far, so good…
In the ‘Mad Shanks Residence’, weird stuff happens all the time, mostly it seems with absolutely no rhyme or reason, even our friends tell us that you couldn’t ‘make this shit up’! So the tale I’m about to tell is exactly one of those ‘you couldn’t make this shit up’ occurrences.
Lorie is working on a film set at Wroxhall Abbey, is running late and takes a tiny one track road that most of us never use for safety reasons. Half way down she comes across three cats, what look like a mother and two of her tiny kittens. Lorie rings me and I shoot down in my car to see if we can catch them but they’ve disappeared into the bushes. Lorie has to go, and I have a meeting so can’t keep looking, but I resolve to look again when I get back. I search in vain later that day and decide to come out again in the evening.
Jamie’s partner, Ben, has taken the same lane on return from work and has seen two adult cats and one kitten on the same road? We all ponder whether he’s talking about the same cats that Lorie had seen in the morning? Cat carrier, food, head torches, cat treats etc…are bundled into Jamie’s car and we drive down the lane….nothing! I’m driving so Ben and Jamie get out and walk while I hold back a little in fear the car engine might spook them, but after a few minutes I drive down to meet them. In the middle of the road are two adult cats and two kittens, mystery solved it would seem regarding the disparity between Lorie’s sighting and Ben’s report.
With not a lot of coaxing but a fair amount of food Jamie manages to get all four into the carrier whilst Ben wandered a bit further down to make sure there weren’t any more. Unbelievably, he hears rustling in the bushes and a tiny ‘meow’, Jamie rushes down while Ben puts the other cats in the car and eventually Jamie manages to reach the terrified third kitten.
Back in the car with the fifth cat wrapped in a blanket and back home where Jamie and Ben settle them in their bedroom whilst I rush to Sainsbury’s for cat litter and a mountain of food, these cats are starving! Back home again and I have a chance to look at them, they’re so friendly, no way are these feral cats, they belong to someone.
Jamie, very responsibly, spends the day with the cats and takes them to the vet to be checked over, they’re all very skinny and riddled with worms and fleas, but otherwise pretty much ok. The vet concurs with our theory that they’ve been dumped by an unscrupulous owner who couldn’t be bothered, and it turns out that the second larger cat is actually another daughter of the mums but from a litter several months previously.
We are now a baffled and bewildered family ourselves trying to work out how we have suddenly become five cats richer (we already have seven!), and what on earth are we going to do with them, they’ve been through hell living rough for a couple of weeks so we need time to think, but for the moment, they’re safe, fed, warm and all together.
The early hours of Friday morning, 3am, and Lorie is restless in her bedroom on the ground floor of the house. As she tosses and turns she thinks she hears a tiny ‘meow’? No, she must be dreaming, and she returns to trying to get to sleep again. Another tiny ‘meow’, this time Lorie jumps up and rushes to the window, as she looks out she sees the kitten that has been named ‘Basher’, a tiny tabby. Jamie had let the cats have a roam about before bed and Lorie assumes this is Basher, who has, somehow, managed to get out.
Half asleep she dashes outside and manages to grab him and takes him upstairs to the room that has been allocated as our new ‘cat sanctuary’. Still half asleep she looks for mum so she can return Basher to her and she can know that he’s safe, but, as she looks around the room, ‘Basher’ is lying on the bed, fast asleep. Lorie looks again at the cat on the bed and then looks at the cat she is holding, she rubs her eyes, she looks again, mystified, she does a head count and arrives at six cats! She tries again and arrives at the same number, we’ve just ‘grown’ a cat stronger! She wakes Jamie up and gives her the news and all hell breaks loose!
Eventually the house settles down again and we all return to bed…
SO, THEN THERE WERE SIX!
Nikita’s boyfriend has stepped outside the back door for a cigarette, suddenly he shouts and we all jump to attention, it sounds urgent?
‘I heard a cat!’ he screams whilst running down the field in the direction of the noise, Nikita in hot pursuit and me not far behind them. In all the kerfuffle the three dogs are now also on the loose and running around barking in every direction! Cody, the smallest of the dogs runs off at every opportunity so I turn my attention to catching him and his brother whilst Rory and Nikita search for the cat.
Suddenly an animal appears and seems to have run off with something in its mouth, at first Rory thought it was one of the dogs but it turns out to be a fox who drops whatever was in his mouth (we still don’t know if it was the kitten) and runs off down the road. It’s chaos!
Eventually, they found the kitten, even smaller than the smallest of the four we already have and she is safely delivered to mum who is more than delighted to see her.
SO, THEN THERE WERE SEVEN!
Beautiful….but SO many!
So, returning to my initial point, if everything happens for a reason, what on earth could be the reason for us having seven cats dumped on our doorstep? As a family, we are now all hyper-vigilant and constantly listening out for cats in case another one turns up!
As I said earlier, you can’t make this shit up!
What do we do? This a family of cats, a very close family, a family that has been through hell and it feels unconscionable to split them up, but, with seven elderly cats already, keeping them doesn’t feel like an option either. Meanwhile, the kids have become more and more attached to them, especially as they are the most beautiful, friendly cats, and to be honest, I’m becoming attached to them as well!
Years ago we had managed to get to fifteen cats and the ‘mad cat woman’ hat was fixed firmly on my head! One by one they’ve met their end (sadly mostly being run over on the lane by drivers using it as a race track) and we’ve been whittled down to seven, keeping this family would take us back up to fourteen again! I’ve only recently been able to, tentatively, take the ‘mad cat woman’ hat off, do I really want to have to put it back on again?
So, your assignment is to work out what the ‘everything happens for reason’ is behind this latest ‘you couldn’t make this shit up’ occurrence in The Mad Shanks Residence! Answers on a postcard please to:-
You Couldn’t Make This Shit Up
Everything Happens For A Reason Street