Saturday, 9 June 2007
Requiem for Stripey.
The village is a wonderful place for people knowing where to find other people. This week two different folk arrived at the door to check that the poorly looking cat wandering about in the street wasn't Magnus. Lucky for us we knew that Magnus was sleeping the sleep of the monstrous on top of the bed so we didn't have to worry. At least not about him, I had a feeling that I knew the poorly beast. Turns out my hunch was right and the wanderer was Stripey the old campaigner from across the road. His owner had died a month or so ago and his house is for sale but a couple of other neighbours had been feeding him. I hadn't seen him close up recently but had watched from the window as he sat in the middle of the road with cars swerving to avoid him. It was easy to find his late owners family and pass on the worries about Stripey but while I was about my investigations I met one person who lived in my house as a child and another whose husband did the renovations in about 1970. I'm going back later to get more details.
As a walked home I could see a forlorn shape weaving about on the road and stopped for a closer look. Sure enough it was the very cat, bones rattling in his fur, stinking like a ripe cheese, one eye completely covered over in something, blood on his paws and whiskers. Time for the final trip to the vet. I went home for a towel and Archie found a box. Poor bugger, he couldn't breathe properly but still managed to purr when I scratched his head. We delivered him to his late owners family and I went home and kissed Magnus on the nose.
Times like these you need some poetry and Billy Collins always knows what to say.....
Putting Down the Cat
The assistant holds her on the table,
the fur hanging limp from her tiny skeleton,
and the veterinarian raises the needle of fluid
which will put the line through her ninth life.
' Painless, ' he reassures me,
' like counting backwards from a hundred, ' but I want to tell him
that our poor cat cannot count at all,
much less to a hundred, much less backwards.