Today I was doing a bit of a clear out which strayed in to me having a quick peek at what was on the NAS drive. I found some long-deleted web pages, where I'd been sharing some of the emails I'd sent.
This one was about our ancient cat, Maddie. Att eh time of wrtiting the original, Maddie was an only-cat. She was old, a bit arthritic. and thoroughly spoilt. She would jump up on your lap before your bottom hit the seat. She used to come away on holiday with us.
This particular letter was written to my husband, who was away on business, and describes a very surreal night.
19th April 2004
I thought you might like to hear about some of the adventures your cat and I had last night.
She came up to bed with me, slept on your side. In the middle of the night I woke up because she had moved and was standing ON MY HEAD. Although I was groggy with sleep, I moved my head to push her off, and then she started kneading my hair. This was really painful, and a bit scary as I wondered where it was leading (did I feel like a litter tray?) , and I moved my head so she was only kneading the hair on the pillow. Finally she sat part on and part off my head, but I was too tired to care.
Sometime later...maybe minutes, maybe hours, I woke up because she stood up and turned round, and then started again. Same rigamarole as before.
Later still, she jumped off the bed.
Even later, I heard her jump on to the windowsill. As I lay there, half asleep, thinking "Maddie is on the windowsill", I suddenly realised "It's not Maddie!. She can't get up there!" . I then remembered that I had locked the catflap so that cats can get in but not out. I forced myself to wake up, turned on the light and stared at the black cat on the windowsill. It was a black cat - so it must be Maddie.
I started to doze again when I heard her jump down from the windowsill and,a few minutes, later jump up again. Then I heard her bell. Then I realised that Maddie doesn't have a bell. I turned on the light, looked at Maddie on the windowsill, saw that she had a belled collar, and leapt out of need to put on my dressing gown. "Maddie" jumped off the windowsill and walked under the bed.
Then Maddie walked in the bedroom. Hissed and spat at "Maddie" under the bed. In a bit of a daze, I picked up the real Maddie and put her on the bed... I couldn't face a catfight. Then I got down, pulled the boxes out from under the bed and got hold of the other "Maddie" by the collar and scruff, and dragged her out. It was a young "Maddie". Black, same face, different body. The collar told me that her name (his name?) was Salem, and lived at 20 Straight Road. Holding Salem by the scruff I carried him/her downstairs.
I wasn't really sure what to do. S/he looked very perturbed, and I couldn't face doing anything horrible. So with Salem/"Maddie" in one hand I found the front door keys, unlocked and opened the door, and then chucked the cat out. S/he just sat in the driveway looking sheepish. (If a cat can look sheepish)
As I shut the front door, I heard the catflap rattle. I went into the kitchen, turned on the light, opened the door... nothing. Then I heard this terrible caterwauling in the utility room. I walked in, and there, crouched on op of your jacket, was another black cat! Maddie must have been having some sort of black cat convention or something!.
I grabbed this cat by the collar and scruff. No nametag, but a very soft purple collar. It was very frightened, and so I couldn't do anything apart from the same as before. I marched to the front door, opened it, and ejected the cat.
I went back to bed, it was 5.11 am. Maddie lay down beside me. Every few minutes we heard something and we both sat up. In the end, I decided I didn't care right now if more cats were in, they could wait til morning.