“So what happens next?” asked Doll Splinter. She was keen to know, being an inquisitive doll.
So Spindly Cat continued:
One day, a woman who needed something to do, considered helping at the Animal Rescue Centre. She knew the area quite well. When she was a child her aunt and uncle and cousins had lived near there. It was by a dirty looking river and she knew that people walked rescue dogs along the footpath. She thought she might like to do that.
A girl in a white coat came to show her where the dogs were kept but at exactly that moment some double doors burst wildly apart and a dog hurtled through, bringing with it a big man on the end of a lead. Barking and eager the dog charged outside. The woman began to feel doubtful.
The dogs were in cages with concrete floors which were perfectly clean but not homely. Wild with excitement the dogs threw themselves against the bars in a frenzy of barking and need.
“We do match the dog with the walker,” said the girl in the white coat and the woman,who needed time to think, replied”Could I look at the cats?”
When she walked into the room where they kept stray cats she had no intention of taking one home. After all, she had come to walk a dog. She looked at tiny kittens patting their tiny paws and at older cats, sitting with an air of resignation on neat, knitted blankets.
And then she saw the black and white cat and when she leaned forwards to speak to her, the cat rolled over and waved her paws gently in the air. Her golden eyes gleamed. The woman thought she was beautiful.
“She’s not as friendly as the others” said the girl in the white coat.”When I get her out of the cage she just wants to explore.”
The woman went home.
She went home and she thought.
She thought about the black and white spots on the cat’s feet and she thought about her eyes and her cage.She thought too about the dogs,it was impossible not to. She wondered why the cat was there and where she had been found. She asked about that but they wouldn’t say,just that she had been found wandering on an estate somewhere. She thought about her own family cats and their last cat who had died of old age not long ago.
She rang her daughters who said they missed their old cat.
The woman went back to the Rescue Centre and looked again at the kittens but the black and white cat preyed on her mind. She went out and sat in her car and watched as an elderly couple came out with a small teddy bear of a dog and she watched as they lovingly settled it in their car. She went over and spoke to them. They said their old dog had died and they missed him so much,but now it was time to replace him. They drove away like proud parents, the dog sitting inscrutably behind them.
The woman made up her mind. She signed some papers, paid some money and that was that.
She brought the black and white cat home in a basket and while the cat explored her new surroundings the woman set about choosing her a name.
And the name she chose was Milly.
(to be continued)