Frivolous Monsters

Happenstance, Coincidence, and Fate – Part 01

There have been two times in my life when I’ve encountered events of such synchronicity that I’ve come to hold them aloft as examples of fate. Only twice. Some people find fairies at the bottom of their garden, such as Elsie Wright in 1917 – who actually cut out some pictures, stood them up with hatpins, took some photos, and went on to fool the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Kodak – whereas, in 2010, I found what turned out to be a very hungry three-legged, half-eared cat.01 Cottingley Fairies

As I’m a keen supporter of garden wildlife I always have an eye on the cats passing through the garden. Thus a newby who seemed to be limping got my attention and I was soon able to temp him over with a handful of biscuits. He ate the lot. The same with the second and third handful. And it didn’t take a vet to work out that he had good reason for his limp. 02 Pod April 2010He was missing a leg, some ears, and both testicles. I was a bit concerned because another local cat’s missing an eye and it was almost as if someone around here was gathering parts to build their own Frankenstein-cat. After this introduction the cat seemed to stick around, turning up in the garden every day, and sleeping time away in the sun. Which was all fine until suspicions grew and we started watching him properly, around the clock, and between me and my parents we chalked up almost a clear 24 hours of sightings. It turned out that he was living in the garden.

Addressing the D-word you may have a lot of preconceptions, and he may have a lot of bits missing, but he was definitely not disabled: I’ve seen him jump up fences taller than me and leap off shed roofs and take the impact on his one front foot. There was really nothing which he could not do although the jury was still out on how he’d cope with stairs as I imagined a milk stool descending and it always ending up arse-over-tit. And that’s whether you imagined a pigtailed milkmaid sat on it at the time or not.02 Pod Garden 3We spent four months trying to locate anyone who was missing him before we decided to adopt, in advance of a harsh winter, as some nights he would clamber up to look at us through the living room window with sad eyes like Tiny Tim peering into a pie shop. Adoption wasn’t going to be easy as we already had a houseful of cats who didn’t take kindly to strangers.

The vet checked him over, declared him middle-aged (about 8-ish), and that had been very well looked after in his life. He bore no missing-leg scar and so I imagined he’d been born this way, but as he has a socket it was apparent that this did indeed herald from some mystery incident. The only clue to his other mystery, as to his identity, was the family heirloom he brought with him around his neck on a grotty collar like some Dickensian urchin cut adrift from its gentrified background. Something with his address on might have been more use but instead he came with a silver bell. Silver coloured. If his life were a film then it’d this hot-prop which would prompt recognition of, and reunion with, his first family at the end.

And so began a process of integration, cleaning his filthy black ears, and only then his other problems became apparent. We have a cat shed where our cats spend time outside and we moved the newby in as a permanent fixture. To bring him inside caused him to panic and to explode into a fountain of foam, like a rabid fire hydrant, and the panic of all this only cased him to panic more until soon, with reactionary head shakes, he was knocking his junk about all over the place. I myself got slapped in the eye with it like an ill-fated porn star. And once he was going off there was no stopping him.03 Pod FrothOutside he didn’t enjoy the company of cats, who he’d been ambivalent to the week before, and as a result he wouldn’t get down off his high shelf to use the toilet. Literally. All this went on for a good while and the worst part of his failed assimilation into the family was hearing his pitting whimpers at night when he was left out on his own.

The outcome to all this was perhaps inevitable, there’s only so many times you can put a cat bed in the washing machine, and one day we decided, with much regret, to release him back to the wild.

The three legged, half eared cat walked away from me forever as if to the sad music at the end of every episode of The Incredible Hulk.

The only difference was that, unlike David Banner, the cat didn’t move onto a different town but just sauntered across the garden and went to sleep on a bush.

The experiment was over, and all hope was lost, but the fickle finger of fate was only just warming up and beginning to point my way.

You do know that this has a happy ending don’t you?

I should have said CONTAINS SPOILERS. 04 Pod Garden


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30 thoughts on “Happenstance, Coincidence, and Fate – Part 01

  1. Beautiful. The photos are particularly great.

    Our dog has been limping around on three legs for the past two weeks having torn the cover off one of her claws while on a run with my partner. So much blood! But she is more than capable of getting around on three legs, and our biggest challenge is stopping her chewing off the bandage which is there to protect it. The cone of shame made another appearance but hasn’t stayed the distance.

    I suspect your three legged moggy is happy to be fed and cared for, under its terms, and has no need for your indoors affections.

    • Thanks. In part 02, which isn’t that far away, I’ll mention the comments he gets from girls! I had to split into two (again) as there’s a lot of stuff in this story and this was the small half. There’s a lot of fate to come.

      I saw a dog with a cone the other day. The do look funny.

      And he was happy to be fed outside, on his own terms, but then this was over the summer and what happened when winter came we were worried he’d freeze to death. There is more to come on that arrangement I assure you.

  2. He certainly looks like a happy cat. 🙂

  3. Ah what a sweet , touching , story your usual ironic humorous touch. Can’t wait for the ending. I REALLY hope it IS happy…… did you ever give him a name?

    The other underlying story is that you really are a kind person.

    Love Denise

    • Thanks, there really is a happy ending coming. It just took a hell of a lot of time (and money) getting there! I’ve posted up pictures of him a couple of times on here over the past 18 months and he always got a lot of comments. People have been asking for “his story” and it’s taken me a long time to work out how to write it. There’s a lot of things to include which means this is the small half, as it stands at the moment.

    • Oh and as for name, yes and no. I don’t feel right naming an 8 year (probably more) old cat as he already has one. We just don’t know what it is. He’s come to be know as Pod, short for Tripod. A traditional three-legged name.

  4. Loved this post. With “Like Tiny Tim peering into a pie shop” and a Hulk reference I am still laughing.

    Hopefully the person building the Frankenstein cat doesn’t realise the havoc that transplanting that drool gland could wreak…

    • Thanks. There are some things that words fail and the exact emotion can be conveyed with a Pop culture reference. I can’t remember if, in A Christmas Carol, Tiny Tim ever did peer into some window of a better off family, and I never checked that, but I vaguely recall something similar.

      And as for the Incredible Hulk, that moment with the sad piano music is international currency for anyone over twenty-something… Saying that they’ve used it in Family Guy. It was literally that music in my head that lasted for about 5 seconds before he hit the bush. Some people.

      And I’m not sure you should request the drool gland. I don’t have many pictures of him “doing it” but this was the best. I think that may have been during illness, yet to be described, but that amount hanging off him was produced in seconds!

  5. A cat with a history. My daughter chose our cat from our local rescue precisely because she thought no one else would want her. She has a seriously bent tail, a good mouthful missing from one ear and a very flabby belly. Trapped by a car door, a fight and a 12 kitten pregnancy; we can only surmise.

    • Good for you. I don’t think I could ever go to a cat shelter as I would just find it too distressing knowing those you’ve left behind. I hope your “cat with a history” is working out for you – good on your daughter – as it certainly gives a cat character and they appreciate the love… from my experience.

  6. What an adorable cat, he seems to have a lot of personality. 😀

    • He does. He’s wonderful. I’m in two minds as to whether I believe he was abandoned as his froth problem (and it was a problem if you live in a nice neat house) was caused by illness, mouth agitation, panic, stress, and needing the toilet. And that was a lot of the time. It took a long time, and I’ve learnt not to fear getting slapped in the face with it, but (SPOILERS) we have fixed most of that and it’s a rare occurrence now!

      One of the odd things about him, which I don’t seem to have fitted in anywhere in the second half, is that he doesn’t drink water. Considering what he must have lost with these attacks it’s doubly odd. I can probably say that I’ve seen him drink about ten times and he makes do with getting all his moisture from his food.

      • That is really interesting. It makes me wonder if he had a previous owner who perhaps passed away and the cat is having to make it on his own now. That would be very traumatic for any animal. But it sounds like he is a fighter!

  7. I have never seen such impressive drool. Does this happen every dinner time?
    I may have to reblog this, as I have a host of cat lovers following my blog, attracted possibly by its title (just call me Miss Marple), and it would be unkind not to put this their way.
    I am pretty much against people buying kittens or puppies. There are so many unwanted pets out there. As you probably know, my own handsome cat was running with fleas when I got him, having been rescued by some caring but clueless students from the mean streets of Brighton.
    I couldn’t have a better cat.

    • Not sure why I had to approve this comment. That’s not dinner time drool, but stress/illness/panic/overly needing the toilet drool. It’s the best picture I had to illustrate it. I think this is taken during one of his many periods of illness which is wh he’s docile enough to sit still whilst I took this. It’s how any of his problems manifested itself. I will get much more into it (and the ways in which I solved it) in the second part.

      The title “Happenstance, Coincidence, and Fate” will become much more relevant in the second part too and it was only when I realised I could tell his story revolving around the “two instances of fate” that I suddenly knew how to write it in an interesting way that had an ending.

      Interestingly as I thought of Happenstance and Coincidence I needed to work out which was the right order to put them in so they were properly building up to fate and I very quickly found there’s a quote from Ian Fleming (in Goldfinger) where: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it’s enemy action.” I’m pretty sure I’ve never used the word “happenstance” anywhere before, ever.

      Thank you for the publicity and I just hope no-one recognises him! And like you say I couldn’t hope for a better cat either.

  8. Reblogged this on IsobelandCat's Blog and commented:
    It would be a sin to deprive the cat lovers among you of this post by Frivolous Monsters, who is a favourite blogger of mine.
    Sit down and enjoy Episode One.

    • Thanks, I’m guessing you were one of the people who commented ages ago when I used pictures of him on here (for some reason I forget). It’s taken me that long to getting his story down and one of those I’ve been meaning to for a long time.

  9. What a fabulous chap!! I look forward to the next instalment. Thank you

    • Thank you, I feel a bit of a fraud cutting it in two, but each story has it’s own length and this one was always going to be very long indeed. Plus it did seem to work out well with the natural break in the middle. I won’t keep people waiting for too long for the resolution.

  10. What a character.
    And I used to love that David Banner music.

    • I just fished this out of the spam. I don’t know why you ended up in there. I think I always found the Hulk ending really sad with that piano music. It is memorable though more than most of the programme which I can’t remember.

  11. I’m so sorry for ur loss.. I was out on my porch 5 yrs ago and a kitten ran up on the porch . She’s about 6 wks . I take her to the vet the next morning . The vet says your gonna want to see this I’m like okay . Someone shot her in her leg. She was a baby I was mad! Why would someone be so cruel . Well she has a rode in her leg now. Now she’s five she busted my screen out the window and got outside she came up missing. I didn’t stop for one minute looking for her. We have a factory across the street . I felt she was there maybe stuck due to her leg. Well I look around all the house I just never thought she was where she was at on once again my cat is in a bad spot . She would’ve never got out on her own. It was a 9 foot drop . Well she’ll be at the vet tomorrow for her leg. I knew something wrong I felt it . I don’t let her out. I was in the scenario of what could happen to her. Any thing can happen to your cat . But u have to protect them just like they are your kids. My cats are indoor but one . They only go out when I do and they don’t get to roam . I hope 17 days stuck stops her the next time she wants to get through a screen . To be out doors .

  12. This not only made me laugh, but also clearly illustrated all the things I admire about cats. ( I mean, minus the drool and missing body parts.) Great pics too!

    I’m off to read Part 2 now!

    • Thanks, as it’s easy to snap away with digital cameras – and then have to store them all away on computers and external hard drives – it was hard work trying to sift out the good ones.

      And yes, like a box set viewer, or a Netflix subscriber, you can view the whole lot in one go now. I didn’t imagine many people would be up for that slog!

  13. Pingback: …things I Loved! Week of July 7th – July 13th 2013 | ...things I LOVE!

  14. He has gorgeous eyes! Now that I’m finally in WordPress (sometimes it take me 15 minutes to get in and then I have to do a back door round about way of clearing my history and then trying again, this normally works, sometimes I just give up out of frustration) sorry about the detour but as I was saying, now that I’m in Im so delightedto have tour story to read, cant wait to read the rest yay!

    • I am one of the many that has been having a lot of issues with WordPress too. On many occasions I cannot see my own blog, but other people’s are worse.

      I’m glad, after all the effort, that the story is of interest to you! All my cat photos are the best of many and I’ve struggled through with a few good ones appearing.

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