Brenda’s Not So Unfortunate Record #40


Oh my gosh, we’re at 40! As if the universe knew, it offered up the most Ransom Note-worthy unfortunateness this past weekend. 

The building works in the flat downstairs (which … ahem … have been going on since March 2016), are finally coming to an end. In one of the last steps to make the unit completely self-sustained, the inside stairway which used to go from ours into the basement, has been removed. A floor is going down, some walls are going up and we’re getting a new, much needed closet. 

On Saturday afternoon the builders knock at the door. A lot of the groundwork’s been done and I’m told, ‘It should only take half an hour. We just need to measure out the last bit of plasterboard and stick it in. We’ll cut it out front so as not to disturb you.’ 

I ask them to be careful & keep the door shut, as Rudi the Maine Coon is a house cat. 

Now a thing or two about the beloved pusskins. He’s recently escaped the clutches of death. Back in April there was a baseball sized mass in his liver, all his lymph nodes were up and he’d turned yellow from jaundice. I was referred to the Royal Veterinary College in Potters Bar (thank you Petplan!!!) where he spent three days getting all sorts of tests. The world-renowned specialists were convinced he was suffering this horrible disease called FIP. Prognosis was beyond grim and they prepared me for his imminent demise, offering nothing but palliative care when it came down to it.

Thing is, my local vet had prescribed some antibiotics and liver tablets and to my untrained eye, they seemed to be working. Coming back home he was definitely a lot pinker, his appetite was up & he was far less lethargic. Over the following weeks whilst we awaited definitive results, I put him on a strict diet of expensive hypo-allergenic, organic biscuits & lots of lots of love. Rudi was doted on even more than usual & he just got better and better. By the time I took him in to get checked last week, he was nearly 2 kgs heavier, the mass had vanished and his blood work was pretty much back to normal. The vets are gobsmacked-slash-mystified and I’m knocking on wood, counting my lucky stars. 

Now back to Saturday. The guys start working. I’m in the kitchen and realise the front door’s been left open for a couple minutes, so I start calling the cat. Upstairs, downstairs, all his usual hiding places … nothing. I grab some treats and do the same, shaking them as I go along. Is he under the bed? Has he climbed behind the clothes rack? Behind the settee? So then I go out to the yard, ‘Rudi! Kitten!’. The guy cutting the plasterboard assures me he’s been there all along and no cat’s come out, but this is definitely out of character. He ALWAYS comes when you rattle the bag. After about fifteen minutes I’m starting to get pretty worried. I head into the street and text DC. She’s at work but says she’ll call our friend to see if he can come help. Before I know it, DM’s pedalled up on his bike. Between us, we scour the near-vicinity, looking underneath cars, in the neighbour’s gardens etc etc … I go back into the house, then again onto the street. DM cycles further. 

Two hours later the builders have gotten involved and still no sign. I’m trying to be cool but on the inside it’s total panic. When they finally leave I take DM to where they’d been working. We open the door and from behind the plaster board, hear a faint ‘meow’.

‘Oh my god, they’ve walled him in!!!!!’ I’m relieved and laughing but at the same time slightly horrified. Images of imprisoned nuns & mummified felines flash through my mind. We have to tear through the plaster board to get to him but sure enough, smooshed in the insulation is a startled looking Rudi. With a bit of coaxing he comes out and the weight is lifted. 

So there you have it. Happy endings do exist. I gotta say, nothing beats finding something you love when you thought it might be gone. 


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