Surprise Birthday Visit

A couple of months ago I suffered a whiplash injury, (long story, don’t ask ~ I am recovering slowly.) Pain has prevented me from crocheting, knitting, gardening, reading and using my iPad for longer than half an hour at a stretch ~ which is why I’ve been absent from the blogosphere. But something enchanting happened on Saturday ~ The Artist’s 60th birthday. And if writing about it gets me back into blogging more frequently, albeit with regular breaks to ease my neck and shoulders, then that would make it truly magical!

Way back in February 2012, I wrote about the cat who’s not our cat. Summer rapidly became queen of the ‘catwalk’ ~ the railway sleeper path which felines of this parish used as a shortcut through my kitchen garden. That is until earlier this year, when we fostered my daughter’s dog, Indie.

I was brought up in the countryside, surrounded by animals, so had every confidence that feline/canine entente, if not cordiale would at least be tolerant. But, whilst Indie was keen to make Summer’s acquaintance, the stray did not wish to play and I had to accept that this pair would never be BFF’s ~ or even ‘just friends’.

So we worked out a strategy to keep them apart ~ Indie had freedom of the ground floor and the enclosed courtyards at the back, while the cat crept in through the front door and bolted upstairs to the studio, where she was fed and could doze in peace. Apart from the odd frantic moment, when the hall door was accidentally left open and they caught sight of one another, this worked well.

As the days became hot and the nights balmy, we saw less and less of Summer. We weren’t particularly worried; she did the same last year… and the one before that. She would still follow Martin to and from the nearby Spar shop but when he arrived back at our gate she would chirrup fare~well and sidle off into the dusk. Sometimes we’d observe her from the window, allowing other people to stroke her ~ which she’d never done before. Now and then I took a dish of food out to her but she rarely finished it, so we were reassured that she wasn’t hungry.

Then we realised we hadn’t spotted her for a while ~ maybe 10 days to a fortnight ~ and we wondered whether we would ever see her again. Although this made us both a little sad, we respect and celebrate her free spirit. We’ve always been aware that one day she might walk out of our lives as mysteriously as she strolled in. When it happened we just assumed she’d moved into another ~ possibly dog~free ~ household. That idea was preferable to assuming the worst.

On Saturday evening, when we returned from a spontaneous celebration with family on the mainland, The Artist decided to treat himself to a couple of beers, (well, it was his birthday after all ;)) As he walked over to the shop to buy them, he heard Summer’s familiar trill. She accompanied him as far as the sliding door of the store, waited outside until he’d made his purchases then led (not followed) him back ~ straight up the garden path, into the house and upstairs to the studio, where I was sitting comfortably in my big yellow chair.

Thinking we’d seen the last of her, we’d fed her remaining cat treats to the D.O.G. (shhh!) But she accepted a snack of sardines, then began to preen herself in front of a full length mirror. Her silky reflection confirmed what we’d both noticed ~ she looked different. Sleeker and better groomed and lighter ~ as if she’d spent the last couple of weeks at a spa! Even her tail looked slimmer and her voice seemed to have changed from demanding bossiness to a less strident, more cultured miaow.

She wasn’t inclined to snuggle up to me. Although she graciously allowed herself to be lifted onto my lap and permitted me to stroke her gently (whilst checking, surreptitiously, that she was actually the same cat who used to leap on me, regardless of my comfort, as long as her desires were met.)

After a short interval she jumped elegantly down and bade us a purry ‘goodnight’. Martin escorted her safely off the premises, happy that she’d chosen his special birthday to pay us a ‘royal’ visit, because that’s what it felt like! But also content that, wherever she’s spending her time now, she’s being well nurtured.

When Summer came into our lives, we decided she was my spirit animal. (My Angel cards predicted that one would appear and, as I read that, I heard her calling outside the back door!) Her synchronistic re~appearance ~ albeit fleeting ~ has reminded me that I must nurture myself too, particularly at the moment.


Well, it’s taken me four days, on and off, to write this. Although it was a bit of a struggle at first, I’ve enjoyed myself this afternoon. But I’ve learned, from experience, that I shouldn’t overdo it so I’m going to call it a day.

‘Nurturing Thursday’!

Nurturing Thursday is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog ‘On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea.’ To read more about it, or to find out how you can join in, press this link.

Other ‘Nurturing’ contributors are:

Crowing Crone Joss

Inside the Mind of Isadora

Laurie’s Notes

Pocket Perspectives

And…..finally….to read my earlier ‘Nurturing Thursday’ posts (all 14 of them!) please visit Wightrabbit’s Blog

8 thoughts on “Surprise Birthday Visit

  1. This is a great story, Jacqueline. As a cat lover I relate to your sensing and knowledge of the feline spirit. There is a cat next door who comes over every morning for breakfast. She naps on one of my chairs on the carport, and she meows at my door in the afternoon until I go out and give her some treats. My neighbor and I agree that we have shared custody of this beautiful animal. The best part of this story is that my two cats, Mystic and Merlin, have taken Muffy under their wing and treat her as a family member. Cats are great and so are you.

    1. It’s great to hear that other cats and cat~owners (all over the planet!) have similar tales to tell, Brenda. Thank you for your lovely comment ~ I love reading your blogs, you are great too 🙂

  2. My goodness, this story restores my faith in having humans on this planet who know how to live with cats! Well done, Jacqueline…Summer’s been given a great pair of people to love her through whatever stage until it was time to move on. Wonder if her name is now Autumn. ..

    As I read, I anticipated Summer would bring home several babies – having protected them from Indie until they were dog-proofed.

    1. Haha! Amy, I never thought that Summer might have matured into Autumn. We were visited by another stray, who turned up in winter, so we called her Christmas, then found out that the neighbours named her ‘Cleo’ because the black markings around her eyes reminded them of Cleopatra’s make~up!

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