Cat Collar - Why Some Cats Need One!
Oliver was the cat that I never should have had. I was living in a housing association flat and pets were definitely not allowed. Nonetheless I had offered to look after a friend’s cat whilst they were away. The little tortoiseshell had been very well behaved and I had managed to keep her stay a secret from the landlord.
It was soon time to take her back home. She was so accommodating that I could just pick her up and carry her across town. As I was walking along the main road I was accosted by a scruffy looking gentlemen who asked me if I liked cats. I could hardly say no when I had one in my arms! I wondered where the man had appeared from. Had he been lying in wait for a passer-by with a cat? It seemed unlikely.
Anyway, he informed me that he had two kittens that he couldn’t afford to keep and that if someone didn’t take them soon then he would have to drown them. The naïve younger me was thrown into a state of panic. I dropped off my charge and then rushed back to see the kittens. I don’t know which part of me thought that it was a good idea to enter the flat of a complete stranger but enter it I did. I was greeted with the site of two gorgeous little ginger kittens just begging for a new home.
Thirty minutes later I was back at home with both kittens and in the middle of explaining to my best friend Mo that we were adopting one each. He lived next door and so we were both about to run into deep water over the no pets rule. Incredibly he agreed take one of the kittens which he called Barney. I decided that my poor little orphan could only be named Oliver.
Oliver was a playful kitten with a very friendly nature. With his best friend visiting often he was a cheerful chappie. Things got a little awkward when he was old enough to start going outside. Mainly because I lived on the second floor of the house and up four flights of stairs. I was up and down like a yoyo but I thought he needed time in the great outdoors. He was showing every sign of being a wanderer and so I invested in a Cat Collar and an identity disc. I chose to lock Oliver in the flat if I went out. However, one day I returned home from college to find him sitting on the door step. I was completely mystified as the only other key holder of my flat, Mo, was standing next to me. How the hell did Oliver get outside?
Low Flying Cat
The next day his escape route became abundantly clear. I had a sash window in the bedroom at the front of the flat which I tended to leave open a little. I was horrified to see Oliver step out onto the window sill and then throw himself off. I rushed over to the window to see him calmly walking down the street!
Oliver kept jumping out of the window. He never seemed to hurt himself and it became a cat flap of sorts. Then his antics became problematic. One day Barney saw him jump and decided to follow him. He pecked on landing and ended up with a bloody nose. A few days after that I was informed by a neighbour that Oliver had scared the living daylights out of a passer-by when he had jumped out of the window and landed on them. I was forced to close the window and look for a new home!
Not long after that we moved to London and to a ground floor flat. That was when Oliver’s adventures really began. He got into the habit of following me everywhere. This included the local supermarket where he would sit outside and wait for me. Until the day that I turned down an aisle to find him walking towards me! After that my supermarket visits were a nightmare as I tried to get there without Oliver seeing me.
On the Busses
One day I was on the 207 bus heading up the Uxbridge road when the bus conductor enquired rather loudly if anyone knew a ginger cat? Oh no! I looked back and was horrified to see Oliver on the bus. I had to disembark at the next stop and walk him home.
On one occasion I was returning from the supermarket feeling chuffed that there had been no sign of Oliver. Then, when I reached the gates of the Famous Ealing Studios, there was a big commotion going on and the security guard looked really angry. I stopped to see what all the fuss was about and Oliver came flying through the railings with the security guard in hot pursuit. Apparently a television programme was being filmed and Oliver had run across the set in the middle of a scene and ruined the take.
Oliver was also in the habit of taking rather long walks. I wouldn’t have known except for the identity disc on his cat collar. I received regular calls from a women who kept finding Oliver in her garden. It was three miles away! Then I got a call from an Australian tourist who was driving his hire car from Heathrow Airport to central London. He had found Oliver on the slip road to the M4 in Brentford. I lived at Ealing Broadway. He was kind enough to drive Oliver home. Thank god for that cat collar!
Oliver became a celebrity wherever I lived. He was so friendly that everyone got to know him and they could find out his name by looking at the identity disc on his cat collar. I would often see people stop to greet him by name. These included the staff at Ealing Common Tube station where he would wait for me to return from work.
One day, when he was an old man, he went out for one of his walks and he never came back. He was quite ill at the time and clearly didn’t have long to live. Perhaps he knew and just had to go on one more adventure. There will never be another Oliver.