After the arrival of the ginger fluffball that is Tango we decided (or rather Sarah told me) that that was enough cats – we hadn’t intended to have 4 it just sort of happened – most of them have come from Freecycle which is where this story starts. It’s the sort of story that makes you wonder what goes on in the world and so far fetched that if it had been told to me I wouldn’t have believed it!
I saw this advert on Freecycle for a professional video monitor, the sort you use in edit suites it said, so I asked for it as I only had a small portable TV in my shed where my editing equipment is. A couple of days later I got an e-mail saying that the person who it had originally been offered to hadn’t turned up to collect it so would I still like it. As it was in Beckenham I went round after work to collect it. I arrived earlier than I thought so the lady who answered the door had to find where her husband had put it. Eventually she tracked it down to their shed and I took it and went home.
When I got home I took the tv out of the shed and replaced it with the monitor, it worked great and the advantage of it was that the top was flat so I could put other equipment on top of it. I also decided that I didn’t need the CD player either as I now had the DVD player I originally bought for the garage at the Big Blue House that had been on semi-permanent loan to Lissi’s room. So I put an advert on Freecycle for them.
The CD player went a couple of days later to the second person who I offered it to. There had been someone who asked for the TV but they never came back to me so I offered it to a lady called Dee who said she would collect it on Monday night. However she rang me to ask if she could collect on Tuesday PM instead. I had intended to bring the TV in to the house but as so many people don’t turn up I left it in the shed.
The following night I left work and went to Tesco to put some petrol in my car but for some reason the petrol station was shut so I headed off to go to the next one. Unfortunately I didn’t make it and I ran out of petrol in Bromley. I took my can and walked to a petrol station got a fivers worth and headed back to the car. I put some of it in the tank and then drove to a petrol station on my way home which was absolutely packed out and I had to wait ages. Sarah rang me and told me the lady had turned up for the TV, which I had forgotten about. I thought if only I had brought it in or if I’d told Sarah where it was but Sarah had told the lady to come back in an hour.
So just after I got home there was a ring on the doorbell and I answered it. I went to get the TV and when I came back the lady started to talk about the house, saying it was a similar size and layout to her’s up on the top road. I asked if she meant Rainham Road and she said yes, I then told her we used to live on Rainham road. The conversation continued when she said that she had off street parking (it’s a very busy road) and I told that we had too and told her we used to live in the Big Blue House. It was at that point she said something that completely knocked the wind out of me……
She said “Oh you lived there, I think we have your cat!”
A couple of months before we had moved out of the Big Blue House Sarah’s cat Pasta disappeared. She had had that cat since both the cat and her daughter were 18 months old which means she had her for almost 10 years. When she disappeared we knew she wasn’t very well as we had taken her to the vets a day earlier after we had come home from holiday to find somebody had been feeding her while we were away. She had had gum problems a few weeks earlier and she had been given antibiotics which had improved her and we were feeding her special food to stop her mouth from becoming sore again. We had left a friend to look after her while we were away, they were feeding her and she was able to get into our garage if she needed shelter (she had always been an outdoor cat and hated being kept in) – she wasn’t being neglected in any way. Whoever fed her while we were away had made the condition flare up again.
At first when she disappeared we thought that whoever had been feeding her must have taken her. We rang the RSPCA, vets etc but without any luck. We waited hoping that she would reappear, getting more concerned about her not having the antibiotics. As time passed we reluctantly came to the conclusion that she wasn’t coming back and we thought that she must have gone off somewhere and died. All of us were very upset especially the kids. They have been out searching for her since she had gone missing and up until this day one of them still looked for her and often said that she thought she has seen her.
So I was quite taken aback with this piece of news. The woman continued to ramble on about “her cat” and how she had taken her from our garage roof and then contacted the Cat’s Protection League to get them to pay for the vets bills. I couldn’t believe how proud she seemed of all of this and when she left (with the TV) I noticed that the living room window was open. When I went back in I asked Sarah what she had heard of the conversation and when I outlined it to her she was absolutely livid. She was so taken aback by this news that she didn’t know what to do. She posted on her forum gabble garden to ask what other people might do. The woman then sent me a mms picture of the cat – I couldn’t believe it – she actually seemed quite proud of the fact that she had stolen our cat.
It’s very annoying to think that while we were going through the pain of losing the cat she was only a few doors away. We really can’t understand why someone would simply take someone’s cat, no matter how concerned they were and not even attempt to let the owners know they had her. It’s odd but the daughter who often says she has seen her goes to Chatham Grammar school which is right behind the row of houses – so maybe she has been right all along. They must have kept her in for some time because it was August when she went missing and we didn’t move house until October.
Anyway to cut a long story short we asked for them to return the cat which they did yesterday. As Sarah said if she didn’t and it later came out that we had known where she was the kids would have been really upset. I did consider briefly how it would upset the woman but at the end of the day she didn’t have to tell us, she could have just thought to herself “Oh my god these are the people whose cat I took ” and made a swift exit. The question had to be asked – if she knew it was our cat why didn’t she come and tell us she had her or just put a note through the door (she claimed she thought the house was empty). Once we knew she was alive and where she was we just couldn’t simply forget about it.
So that the whole weird story (it could only happen to me) – what amazes me through is the string of coincidences that lead to the outcome. If the first person had collected the monitor, if the first person had collected the TV, if she had come on the Monday night, if I had brought the tv into the house, if I hadn’t ran out of petrol, if we hadn’t got talking, if she hadn’t mentioned Rainham road or off street parking. There were so many times that if the outcome of one small thing had been different we would never have known about Pasta let alone got her back.
And then there were five!!!!!