Doll Splinter was restless. She was in the mood for travel and so she said to the spindly cat:
“I think you should finish this story now.”
So he did.
The black and white cat and the woman went about their lives side by side and the years went by,as they always do. The woman made sure the cat was in by nightfall but during the day she watched as the cat climbed trees and teetered along high fences. If the woman went out, when she returned the cat would suddenly appear, tiptoeing across the gravel on the drive ,then lying across the doorstep and showing her white tummy. The woman came to expect this so that one day,when the cat didn’t appear,she knew something was wrong.
She went into the garden and called and rattled a spoon against a tin because the cat knew that noise. She went up and down the road and along the grassy back lanes, still calling,and then her neighbours joined in and searched too.
There was no sign of the black and white cat at all.
A few days later someone said a cat, a black and white cat, had been killed on the road. Naturally the woman assumed it was Milly. Everyone was sad.
But six weeks later a stick thin, weary cat lay once again on the carpet in the woman’s house!
She had turned up in a garden a few miles away. Maybe she had jumped into a van on the morning she went missing, anxious to get out of the rain or maybe she was just curious, as all cats are, to see what was what. Did the driver notice when she shot out through the doors at the end of his journey?
Or did she run from her home,frightened maybe by the noise of an engine or the barking of a dog?
Perhaps,as she roamed from place to place,a few people fed her,perhaps she caught mice, but she was getting thinner and thinner until, hungry and lost she fixed her sights on the owners of one particular house; and although every night the couple put her out, every morning there she was, asking to come in again. She sat on the man’s lap and,being ill, he found it comforting to have her there. The woman bought food and the couple discussed what to do. They decided to adopt her. They were going to call her Stanley. She wouldn’t have minded!
But before they did that they took her to a vet and that is how she was found, because of the microchip put there by the Animal Rescue Centre six years ago. She had a chipped front tooth and had lost a quarter of her body weight , but that was all.
“In fact” said the spindly cat, “she was as thin as I am, but it suits me and it doesn’t suit her.”
And he arched his wiry back with pride.