Monday, October 14, 2013

A blip for a Therapy Cat

It had to happen, Chloe's career as a Therapy Cat had to experience a blip . . . and, sad to say, it happened this week.
As you've heard all about the 'ups', I suppose I shouldn't keep quiet about the 'downs'.

Chloe has established a regular routine at the nursing home.  Not only does she know exactly where to go, which rooms to enter and which to hurry past, but, in each of the rooms she visits she has a chosen place to position herself.  In one room it's a purple chair . . . in another a green stool . . . each position chosen so that the patient she's visiting can fully appreciate just what a good little girl she is.

If  only Chloe were half as good at home as she is at the nursing home . . . but that's another story.

Last week we arrived to discover that there was a new patient on our list . . . Monica had moved in and had expressed a desire to meet the visiting cat.

The introductory meeting went off without a hitch.  Monica fell for Chloe who, in turn, was intrigued by Monica's highly decorative wooden duck.
Once Chloe had established her chosen position in this new room, there appeared to be no reason why everything shouldn't go smoothly.

As we entered Monica's room the following week I noticed that Chloe's new friend was looking rather excited.  She was clutching her handbag and eyeing us eagerly.
"I've a present for Chloe!" she announced.
After some brief fumbling in her bag, her frail hand drew out a small packet of cat-food . . . a gift that she must have asked one of the nursing staff to obtain for her.

Monica was eager and excited.  I was deeply touched.
But there was one imponderable in this otherwise happy scenario . . . how would Chloe react?

I knew Chloe . . . and it was here that my heart sank.  Whilst trying hard to look appreciative, I was worried.  Chloe is a fussy little so-and-so when it comes to her food.  Monica had been to a lot of trouble to get this gift.  What if Chloe failed to give it the enthusiastic reception it deserved?
No . . . it was a gamble I wasn't willing to take.

"How kind of you," I enthused, hurriedly reaching for the packet, "I'm afraid Chloe's not allowed to eat when she goes out.  We'll take it home with us . . . it will be a real treat for her lunch."

But my words fell on deaf ears.  Monica was already opening the drawer of her bedside table and reaching for a pair of scissors.  Egged on by a highly expectant Chloe, she snipped the top off the packet and tipped some of the contents onto the table.

Chloe sniffed eagerly, then, all too visibly, her face fell . . . it wasn't her favourite, fresh chicken breast . . .  it wasn't even her favourite dried cat food . . . registering total disinterest, she jumped to the floor.
Poor Monica was clearly shaken.

"There, you see . . . " I burst out, "just as I told you.  She knows she isn't allowed to eat when she goes out.  It's a shame, but she's a very obedient cat."
The 'very obedient cat' looked at me, slightly surprised at this unexpected commendation.
"I'll take it home," I insisted, shovelling the granules of rejected food back into the sachet, "she'll love having it for lunch."
I wasn't at all sure that Monica believed me.

There was only one thing to be done to try to save the situation.
Once safely home, I took out Chloe's feeding bowl.  Into it I put some of her favourite dried cat food, beside the bowl I placed the packet so kindly given to her by Monica . . . I then took out my camera.

Will Monica be fooled when I give her this photo next week?  I do hope so . . . it was such a kind and generous thought.
Let's hope that she doesn't examine the picture too closely and notice that the granules of Chloe's favourite cat food are slightly smaller than those squeezed out of the packet . . . a packet that was subsequently much enjoyed by the cat next door!

A blip in Chloe's unclouded record?  I'm afraid so.  But, knowing Chloe, I'm confident she'll now revert to being a wholly reliable and angelic Therapy Cat!