That chuffing cat will be the end of me.
Whiskas, it has to be said, is a pathetically delicate soul. He might look like a stocky big git who could hold his own in an alley fight and even though he can stare at you with in a Lee Van Cleef snake-eyed sort of way, he’s as sensitive as a pampered prince.
If another cat so much as makes contact with his personage, the affected spot swells up, poisoned at being touched by a commoner.
Normal procedure is that the cut/scratch whatever swells and swells; he gets grumpier and grumpier…and then it erupts like Mount Teide sending rivers of blood and puss over his white fur. Not pretty, but the cat’s relief when this happens is obvious. He doesn’t seem to mind that he’s left with a hole like a bullet wound in his leg/head/back.
And so the week before last a cat, or a dog, must have landed a glancing blow just above Whiskas’ eye. For the rest of the week his eyebrow slowly swelled up, his eye began to seep and he started to make more of a fuss about leaving the premises at night when we went to bed.
By the Saturday night his right eye was almost completely shut, but of course there was no way he would let us bathe it or anything like that. Even worse, he hardly touched his dinner; a sure sign that he was feeling seriously under the weather.
It was the Mueca Festival in Puerto de la Cruz and we had planned on going into town to see what was happening. Whiskas had been in recovery position on his cushion all day (i.e. curled into a ball) and had no desire to go anywhere. So when we turfed him out of the house as we were leaving at around 21.30 there was a right old palaver involving a great deal of growling and hissing and a few swipes (luckily because one eye was shut, his aim was off).
However as we walked down the passage leaving the wounded one-eyed soldier looking after as with an expression which said ‘heartless traitors’ I was consumed with guilt. We had abandoned him in his hour of need.
We weren’t surprised that he wasn’t about when we got home a few hours later. He’d have gone to ground; he always does when he’s feeling at a low ebb. But next morning he didn’t turn up for breakfast. Then lunchtime came and went and no sign. This was serious and we were starting to get worried. By the time darkness fell and he still hadn’t appeared for his dinner we were really fretting. 24 hours without food is unthinkable. We knew that he must have been in a bad way to miss out on food, but we didn’t know where he was. He wasn’t in any of his usual spots.
Images of him being ambushed by a gang of cats hell bent on revenge filled my thoughts, that and worries that with his vision impaired, he might inadvertently have wandered into the path of a speeding 4×4. We spent the night with one eye watching the terrace, hoping that the white wizard would appear. That night I dreamt that Wayne Rooney was confined to the subs bench because of an eye injury and the side of his face was such a mess that Sir Alex Ferguson was crying. Freud wouldn’t have had his work cut out with that one.
By Monday morning when there was another no-show for breakfast and Whiskas had been M.I.I. (missing in inaction) for 36 hours, I feared the worse and wished I could rewind time and have tried a bit harder to clean his eye, or not have cast him into the wild night on Saturday (okay it was 20 degrees and calm, but you get the picture).
Then about 10.30 as I was typing away, I noticed a white shape out of the corner of my eye. Whiskas strolled through the front door and into the kitchen with barely a glance in our direction. His eye still looked as though he’d been whacked by a feline Rocky Balboa, but it was clearer and he purred happily when we ran to welcome home our furry prodigal son.
God knows where he was, we were just thankful that he was back and seemed okay.
If going missing for 36 hours was his way of punishing us for abandoning him on Saturday night, it worked.