A basket case

PUBLISHED: 15:24 11 October 2007 | UPDATED: 15:17 12 May 2010

NOW Nipper the Cat did not make an appearance at the animal blessing service in the parish church on Sunday. This is not to do with any religious question. She would have appreciated being seen as one of all ­creatures great and small. Well, in her case,

NOW Nipper the Cat did not make an appearance at the animal blessing service in the parish church on Sunday.

This is not to do with any religious question.

She would have appreciated being seen as one of all ­creatures great and small.

Well, in her case, a small creature.

The whole matter of actually getting her to church is more complicated.

It may seem such a simple exercise, but this is Nipper the Cat.

We are dealing with a moggy that has learned quite a lot in her time about the appearance of a cat basket.

First, she will give the wicker-woven construction a look of trepidation which will quite ­literally turn to apprehension.

She gives the cat basket one of those cat looks and will simply disappear.

The appearance of the cat basket means just one thing - a visit to the vet.

Now she hasn't been to see a vet for years, but apparently, a cat does have a memory that stretches into the mists of time.

It's a mystery how she can remember. She was a kitten years ago when she went to the vet for what kittens go to vets for at that age.

And she hasn't been since.

But she will not climb into the basket as a volunteer.

And once she has realised that a journey may be ­imminent she simply ­isappears.

It happens every Christmas because the cat basket has to be removed from the loft so that we can manoeuvre the other rubbish that ­accumulates there to reach the Christmas tree.

It's a delicate operation reaching out for all the parts of the Christmas tree while standing on one leg at the top of a set of ladders. Not quite health and safety.

Still the cat basket is removed - and to Nipper the Cat it is an immediate threat.

And, obviously, the cue for a disappearing act.

And we will not see for her hours.

Then suddenly she is there standing in the kitchen looking through the window of the oven and realising that there is a rather large bird going through the stages of cooking.

And that means that instead of the usual packet of Grub-o-Cat there will be served up turkey and all the trimmings.

Meanwhile, the cat basket will be returned to the loft until, obviously, the Christmas tree is packed away.

Then Nipper the Cat will start the same routine - but this time there's no turkey.

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