A lot of people have sent me heart-rending or unusual stories about their cats, or cats that have passed through their lives, since I started writing this blog, and I recently decided it might be nice to feature one every couple of weeks or so - a kind of feline-themed version of this book. I don't see these stories as having to be great pieces of prose - although if they are... great! - just simply written little anecdotes about the unusual ways cats can make your life better, or about downright weird episodes with a cat at their centre, that will appear unedited by me. I can't promise I'll include or have time to respond to what you send, but I'll do my best to have a read. The best way to submit is either - and this is preferable method - by friending my cat Janet on Facebook (see link on the left of the blog) and sending him a message or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I think the first story below, from Under The Paw reader Rose Cooney, is a good guide in terms of length and feel...
"I'm in Brighton for work and missing my feline friends who are being well cared for by my neighbours ... but yesterday I witnessed a wonderful thing. I saw a cat in a carry basket and 3 women crouched down looking at the big, frightened tabby and white cat within.
The girl with her hand on the basket had been crying and was telling the cat - Brownie - that she was so sorry she "had to do this to" her. I asked what. The other women said a vet was going to put Brownie to sleep as she is 14 years old.
The girl with the basket wasn't Brownie's owner. She came from Birmingham and had found a new home for her own cat there because she knew she would be unable to bring her feline friend to Brighton and look after her while she is here.
Brownie's male owner had moved out 3 weeks ago and not been in touch, answered emails or calls or text messages when this girl had asked when are you coming to collect Brownie to take her to her new home? The girl had carried on looking after Brownie, including helping Brownie to lose weight by making sure her meals were right for her. She told the other women that Brownie had lost some weight - perhaps pining for the owner who abandoned her.
So, the girl in desperation for Brownie to have a new home where she would be looked after and doted on had visited a local veterinary surgery. The tears came when the vet had said because of Brownie's 14 years, they would choose to put her to sleep instead of trying to find her a new home. The girl was so upset and shocked at this vet's suggested action that she had left the surgery and was wondering the streets in flood of tears with Brownie in the carry basket. So this was how the other two women had met up with her - strangers on the streets - asking why she was crying.
By the time I happened upon them, one of the two women had said she had a cat about the same age as Brownie and would be happy to give Brownie a loving home for the rest of her days.
The girl was so relieved and as they told me the story above, I tickled Brownie under her chin as she sat alert, pining and lost in the basket. Soon as I continued to tickle and sroke to her telling her how beautiful she was, her plaintive meows ceased and turned to happy purrs as she rubbed her face against my hand.
I would have been quite happy to take Brownie with me too but with another night in Brighton in a hotel it wasn't my turn to help this abandoned soul ... so the girl and the woman rehoming Brownie exchanged contact details and I gave them both my card asking them to let me know how Brownie settled in to her new home with the woman and if the girl ever heard from her former flatmate who had abandoned Brownie so callously." - Rose