Sunday, 26 August 2007

Empty Nest Syndrome?

Sorry to any non cat lovers who probably fled this blog long ago. But I felt I should tell you how his Lordship reappeared yesterday.

I’d just been ringing Dog Sniffers. In case any of you want to contact them, the police have a great source of dog sniffers but they won’t help find lost pets, the WPC told me. Considerately but firmly. So I rang K9 Dog Sniffers and eventually talked to a fellow on a very crackly mobile.

‘I need help finding my lost cat,’ I said. ‘I’m in Cornwall.’
There was a silence while I could tell what he was thinking. It was to do with women and idiots, with a generous helping of F words interspersed in between.

‘We charge £75 an hour,’ he said. ‘A minimum of four hours. Plus travel and expenses.’ Silence. ‘And we’re in the North East.’
You could tell he wasn’t exactly keen on the job, and even by my maths this was going to turn out expensive, so I thanked him and put the phone down.
Shortly after that, Himself came back and we were standing outside wondering what to do about Bussie when Himself looked round.
‘B**ger me,’ he said. ‘There he is.’
I ran next door, followed by Himself who scooped up Bussie and brought him home.

Well, you know the rest – he didn’t stay long and disappeared. I had a terrible feeling that he’d gone for good. OK, so he’s 7 which in cat years makes him – well, same age as me. Isn’t it time he left home, you might say? But he’s a cat, and I want him at home, I wanted to shout. It’s incredibly hurtful when someone you love turns their back on you. (You can tell I’m a frustrated mother – my wavering hormones having one last stab.)

Bussie didn’t return last night and by this morning I had a sense of doom about it all. He’d moved on. Found somewhere else to live. Doesn’t want us any more. And suddenly, as I was cooking eggs for breakfast this morning, it all erupted and fat hot tears slid down my face into the boiling water. I wept for the loss of my Bussie, for the fact that I’d failed him somehow and he didn’t love me any more. And I cried because I wouldn’t ever stop him doing what he wanted, but I wanted him to come home.

‘For God’s sake,’ said Himself. ‘Can’t you just be happy that he’s OK instead of being depressed about it? You can’t keep a cat prisoner.’

‘I know,’ I said but I couldn’t stop then. The last five days of worry came pouring out in a hiccupping torrent.

Himself gave me a hug then, and after a while I calmed down and tried to reconcile myself to the fact that we’d lost Bussie. He’d chosen to go, and I must go along with that. Perhaps, I thought hopefully, he’d fallen in love? I could forgive him for leaving if he had.

I’ve had cats all my life, apart from a few years in London, and I hate living without them. They represent my quiet, secret part. I need them, I know, far more than they need me. But I didn’t say anything to Himself. He’d made it clear the subject of cats was Closed. So I came back from walking Mollie feeling dejected, rejected and resigned. And guess who was sitting in the hall?

‘BUSTINGTON!’ I cried, and swooped over to see him, fresh tears plopping onto his coat. (‘Oh God,’ said Himself. ‘You’re supposed to be happy.’ ‘I am,’ I wept. There are some things that some people just don’t understand.)

He’s not himself. Bussie I mean. I reckon he’s had a bump from a car. His pupils are tiny slits, and he’s very doddery, poor fellow. His balance is wobbly and his right flank is wet and grubby and he’s usually so fastidious.

So I feel worse and better. Worse because he’s vulnerable and isn’t eating – or perhaps he’s being fed elsewhere? He hasn’t lost weight (and he could do with losing some) but he certainly isn’t himself. I worry that one particularly schizoid cat in the street will realise how wobbly Bussie is and attack him (she has before). But he’s lived mostly on the streets for 7 years. He’ll lie low until he feels better, I hope. And he knows where we are, even if he isn’t sure who we are.

I feel better because he’s alive and even if he’s concussed, he came home of his own volition and he knows I love him. He probably doesn’t care, but it makes me feel better.


Dee said...

oh stop it flowerpot. You're making me cry! I'm so glad he's back, and sad he's not himself. Sometimes it would be nice if they could talk, wouldn't it. I sincerely hope he'll be his usual lovely self soon and will not wander of for any longer periods of time anymore. No longer than you can tolerate in any case. Himself is quite right when he says 'you can't keep a cat prisoner'. I always think of myself as a prisoner of the cat, as in they totally own us! and our emotions.
Thinking of you, and missing my cat with every line you write. hugs.

Akelamalu said...

Oh you found him, then he went again, now he's back. I'm wondering if he has amnesia and then every now and then he remembers where he lives so comes back? He could have had a bump on the head, does that sound ridiculous?

laurie said...

oh, flowerpot--he's found independence. that doesn't mean he doesn't love you. but it does mean that athings will be a little tough for you as you learn to live with his comings and goings.

he's a teenager now. you'll have to adjust to that. but he does love you, and he will recover from his bump on the head, and he will start eating again. he will probably also take off again.

this posting just resonates with your love for him.

Lesley Rigby said...

Flowerpot, Thank you for the wonderful description of your sniffer dog conversation. I laughed and laughed so much as I could relate to lots of those sort of conversations! (Nothing ventured, nothing gained I say). Thank goodness their top handler wasn't on the Newcastle to Newquay flight (if there is one) with their best sniffer dog in tow when Bussie turned up!
Down to earth with a bump followed............
Something is wrong with Bussie (you KNOW him too well) and so he must see his Vet a.s.a.p. to put your mind at rest. What happens to his eyes when you shine a torch into them? Could he just be doing a bit of romancing or has he been castrated? Perhaps on a barmy night he prefered to lie in some catnip instead of his bed - hence dishevelled side. I look forward to the next update and I do hope he will be himself again soon.

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

I'm pleased he's home again - you've been going through alsorts over the past few days. I know you don't want to confine him, but have you considered keeping him in for a couple of days until he seems 100% again? This wouldn't be for selfish reasons, but to make sure if he has had a knock he doesn't come to any more harm out and about...

Incidentally, I love your phrase, "grief is a greedy companion" - very evocative and very true.

lady thinker said...

I'm sorry Flower but if this was my cat - he would have been confined indoors now for 48hrs and taken to the VETS immediately. He may have broken bones that you can't see - he may be in extreme pain - I still don't like the sound of the thirst - get him checked out ASAP. You'd never forgive yourself if he found dead under a hedge - and you could have saved him.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Okay, now I'm crying in my coffee too. It's clear he loves you and knows that you represent home, but he's just testing out that feline, male independence. Maybe he does have a bonk on the head and needs a little recovery time.

Either way he knows you're mom. Look who he comes too when he feels rotten.

Miss Understood said...

I think a trip to the vets today is in order, and a bit of recovery time too...just to be on the safe side.

I don't actually think he's left you at all! If he's weak and wobbly when he goes out, he may get to where he wants to go, but not have the energy to come back again. Give him a few days and I bet he'll be back to his old self.

Dee said...

Do let us know how he's doing flowerpot. I think your friends here are quite right, it might be safest to have him checked out by the vet and keep him indoors for a couple of days.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

So glad, Mr B is back. They're such funny creatures, cats. Whenever they are injured their instinct is to be alone - just when we want them near us so we can help! Little b***gers! I know how I would feel if my ginger pudding went missing - absolutely distraught!
Good luck with the novel. I have such envy of people who have the self-discipline to write a book. I've started lots and have never made it beyond the second chapter.