If you look at this photo of the pretty Not Cat, you can see a large lozenge wrapped in clingfilm hanging from his collar.
Let me explain.
A couple of weeks ago, on one of the hottest days of the year, Not Cat went missing at mother’s for five hours. Mother wasn’t too well, and it was a while before I realised he wasn’t in the flat.
Usually, he doesn’t stray far and rushes back to me with lots of miaowing when I call.
I searched for him around the garden. I became convinced he had been shut in a shed or garage.
I went round all the neighbouring cottages. People were kind and concerned, checking their sheds for me, but they hadn’t seen him.
I set myself a deadline by when I would leave. It got closer.
No Not Cat.
One of the residents assured me she would take care of him when he turned up. With no little ginger corpse in the road, and notes through all the doors of houses where no one had been at home, there was no reason to fear the worst.
But of course I did.
Five minutes to my deadline, and with a heavy heart I started on my goodbyes to Mother. a carer came in and promised to look out for him. She went out into the garden and called him. Nothing.
I picked up my bag and took a last look at the garden door. And there he was. Yawning, looking rather sleepy and relaxed.
While I’d been going through seven stages of hell, the little blighter had been asleep in one of the many shrubs around the scheme.
He yelled as I put him in his box. He yelled more on the drive home.
I turned a deaf ear to him.
Two can play at that game.
So now he has a Loc8tor on his collar.
And yes, dear reader, it works.
The clingfilm and sellotape is to keep it dry, as when wet it is likely to stop working.
I now know his favourite shrub, and I found him when he took himself into next door’s garden.
Money well spent.
This weekend I went round all the cottages again delivering notes to say I’d found him.
Mother has lovely neighbours. Doors opened and people came out to say how much they’d been worrying about him and how glad they were I had him back.
Dark clouds do have silver linings.
It’s a good time for me to remember that.