Guest post by Sir Springer the Cat

Did anyone tell you I’ve returned home?

Peter and Springer lowMum & Dad were apparently terribly agitated and very sad that they’d never ever see me again: they cried and cried and put posters in hundreds of letter boxes but no one had seen me. Lucky for me the cat gods were looking after me and I’m perfectly safe, if a little wiser.

I came home on the evening before my 7th birthday, Anzac Day. I’d been away for 7 weeks, one week for every year of my life (well in human terms anyway). They say that marriages have seven year itches, and people have mid-life crises, well I was turning 49 in cat years and I think that called for a crisis of its own. I just didn’t expect it wouldn’t be much fun. I don’t like to frighten my family so I haven’t told Mum & Dad all the things that happened, and they’re really not very good at understanding cat language, so I just look deeply into their eyes instead and purr and do paddy-paws.

What happened was that Mum was in Brisbane, Dad was at work and I just felt like a little adventure. I was tired of being home by myself – I’m used to company while Mum works on the computer. My friend Slinky Malinky, a black cat who I’ve been playing with lots, dropped by and we were running and playing in the yards nearby.

Springer_edited-1lowThen I got a terrible fright – a scary person I didn’t like tried to catch me and I hid. Later on some big dogs chased me –there’s far too many of those creatures around here!  I ran and ran so fast to get away from them and I had to dodge the cars as I raced across a big street. By the time I stopped I just didn’t know where I was, even though I know some of the streets from when we go to the vets or the cat resort.

For a couple of weeks I just wandered around trying to find my way home, getting more and more lost and hungry even though I managed to catch a couple of mice in the parks. One day when I was nearly starving a kind lady offered me some milk and food so I just decided to trust her for a couple of weeks. She hadn’t seen any of the posters my family had put up in the shops so she didn’t know to ring them and instead she called the pound to come and get me.

I’m lucky I’m so handsome because they tried to find my home by ringing all sorts of people. Even though they had my picture on their wall they didn’t realise it was me, because my face looked a bit less ginger in that photo. None of the people they called were my family and they went home looking very sad. After I’d been there nearly 2 weeks,  they called Mum and told her they just might have me, even though they couldn’t find my microchip…I think it must have fallen out. Was I big cat? Had I been desexed? Yes, what do I know about girls?! It’s not as if I’d run away just to chase some girl. Mind you, I liked to have met the girl cat who’s missing from near here and who looks a lot like me…she looks nice.

Of course I look smug -I'm home!

Of course I look smug -I’m home!

Mum arrived at the pound and she told me her legs were shaking all the way there and she kept praying it would be me. When they took her into the cat room we just looked at each other but after she opened the door and leant in, I gave her my favourite head-butt of affection. We both knew I was going home! The ladies from the pound and PAWS were so excited they had tears in their eyes.

Ever since we got home I’ve been so happy to be here. I can’t get enough pats and cuddles and keep sitting as close as possible to my family and purring and purring. I even like the grandchildren now.

I don’t want to be aloof any more, I’ve had my fill of adventure. When either of my family sits down I jump straight up and join them for a cuddle. I even sleep on the end of the bed now and if I feel lonely I can go up and ask for more pats. Mum says my eyes look a bit different now – of course they do! I saw some scary stuff out there in the wilds of the suburb.

I’m done with my mid-life crisis, I just want to be safe at home. Every now and then I look out at the courtyard but it’s a scary world out there, and inside everyone loves me. You’d think I was a celebrity the way my family has turned into the paparazzi and take my photo at every turn. And everywhere my parents go people are just so thrilled that I made it home safely – and so am I.

Mum wants to get in on the act now, but I don’t mind because we’re such good mates.

Mr Cassmob & I are so grateful for the kindness of all our friends and the random strangers we bailed up to ask about Springer. The TELAF people were fabulous in keeping Springer’s photo in the missing list for people to see and the RSPCA, PAWS and the pound were all responsive to our requests for follow-up. We’re eternally grateful to have our boy back safe and sound and especially thank the unknown lady who looked after him in Holtze St as well as the PAWS ladies at the pound who called us to come and look. People have been so kind. 

(Thanks to Geniaus for the guest post idea).

A tribute to Sir Springer the cat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Get a pet, lose your heart”…perhaps that might replace the “a pet is not just for Christmas” slogan. We happily accept the exchange where we look after our pets’ needs and in return are given un-judgmental acceptance and affection. Cats are of course a different matter –if you’ve ever loved a cat you’ll know that there’s a fair bit of truth in the statement that cats have staff. Cat lovers wouldn’t have it any other way.

Helping Mum with Congress 2006 work.

Helping Mum with Congress 2006 work.

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All this work is just too tiring.

It wasn’t always an amiable relationship on his part, as Springer thought he belonged in the house and should take priority over mere small humans. It wasn’t uncommon to find him stubbornly sitting in the midst of the toys plainly making his residential status clear.

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They only think it’s their play tent…it’s mine as well.

As the other grandchildren have come along he’s often looked askance at them and retreated to a safe position away from them. On one or two occasions he’s given them a nip of warning to their dismay but despite that they too have been enamoured of him and have learned to watch his tail for impatient swishing. When they turn up on an unexpected day, and he seemed to have a good sense of when it was grandchild-day, he was known to give a very disapproving look at their temerity for disturbing his peace. At the end of each visit he would follow us all out to the gate, then roll on the driveway looking smug with a distinct attitude of “na, na, na..I live here, you don’t!”

Sometimes you just have to chill out!

Sometimes you just have to chill out!

As you can see, a cat of definite opinions! He’s never been a cuddle cat, tolerating only small doses of cuddles, but he always loved to be near us wherever we were. He was oh, so predictable in his habits: when breakfast was due (as soon as someone woke up), when it was time for an afternoon snack (between 4 and 5); when it was time to reluctantly come in at night (about 10pm) and when to annoy Mr Cassmob to let him out (the earlier the better from his point of view). When he wanted to come back in he would yodel loudly to get my attention and then need to be dried off if he’d been caught in a storm.

This is what we called his "mad eyes" look when he was fired up for mischief, including his tendency to kick himself in the ear...silly boy!

This is what we called his “mad eyes” look when he was fired up for mischief, including his tendency to kick himself in the ear…silly boy!

In short, his staff were perfectly trained, and in return he mostly did what we wanted. He accepted that when we went on long holidays he would have an excursion to his fancy cat resort complete with an enclosed aerial walkway where he could sun himself, a hammock to snooze on and his mummy rug brought from home. On the way there and back he would talk loudly and put his paw through his travelling cage, to be reassured. He knew full well the difference between the route to the resort and that to the vet, which generated a much louder conversation.

I wonder where they'll go on holidays next?

I wonder where they’ll go on holidays next? Among Mum’s family history papers in the study.

Within our complex he seemed to be popular especially with those who love animals but can’t have one for various reasons. He would trot around, fluffy Persian-like tail held high, looking like lord of all he surveyed. This earned him our aka of Mr Trotsky. His daily name, Springer, came from his youthful mischievous habit of leaping out and kung-fu-ing you at hip height as you walked by.

The most recent photo of him we have - in Pavlovian mode.

The most recent photo of him we have – in Pavlovian mode. Where are the mussels Dad?

Pavlov would have been impressed with him when he flew down the stairs at the smell of Thai food preparations, because after all, those activities and smells went with Thai Mussel fritters, and he liked nothing better. In fact on a recent occasion, when Thai was being prepared but not mussel fritters, we offered him freshly cooked prawns. From his response you’d have thought we offered him cat food, and the cheapest version at that! Our previous cats looooved prawns and for them we made a dish of prawns their last supper.

What are THEY doing here again? On an unexpected grandchildren visit.

What are THEY doing here again? On an unexpected grandchildren visit.

Ever neurotic, he was utterly terrified of strangers and was a better stranger-early-warning system than a watch dog. If you saw him fly up the stairs, belly to the ground, tail down, you could guarantee there was someone walking through the complex, and far too close to our unit. We ultimately concluded that he had perhaps come from a cat farm (something we hadn’t known about previously), as we could never quite get him past his fear of anyone other than family.

Now which one should come off next?

Now which one should come off next?

It was only last Christmas that his increasing maturity became evident and he resisted the temptation to climb the Xmas tree, and carefully (or madly!) remove the baubles as he’d done every other year. From time to time he’d indulge in fits of craziness flying up the stairs like a bat out of hell, doing wheelies with his legs spinning out from under him. Hilarious to watch.

Nearly two weeks ago Mr Springer disappeared from home and hasn’t been seen since. We’ve tried everything under the sun to find him but reluctantly we’re very slowly accepting we’re likely not to see him again.

We can’t (won’t?) accept that someone might have catnapped him for nefarious purposes because he was just too speedy to be caught. He doesn’t appear to have been hit by a car as no body has been found. We hope that if he has gone to cat heaven that it wasn’t too terrifying a trip for our little nervous Nellie, and think that being bitten by a snake or poisoned by cane toad, rather than attacked by the dingoes or wild dogs that are in the reserve across the road, are the likeliest possibilities.

Chilling out on his chair and his mummy rug (sarong)

Chilling out on his chair and his mummy rug (sarong)

They say it takes two weeks to create or break a habit, in which case we may soon stop looking for him everywhere and come to terms with his empty Ikea chair without his furry little face looking at us. We’ve found it surprisingly difficult to come to terms with his absence –there’s something much “cleaner” about eventually having to have a very ill cat put to sleep, than the everlasting wondering about what happened.

Through it all we’ve been so grateful for the kindness of friends, family and strangers who’ve responded to our distress. The take-home message from this experience is very much about the goodness and kindness of most people, and how much most people love their pets. We’ve also been so impressed by the people at the Top End Lost and Found who coordinate information on lost and found pets.

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