Something funny is going on in the Harbour. Mummy has hardly left the house even to go to work and there are aren’t as many cars driving around on the streets. The other day when I popped over to On the Spot there was a queue of people lining up to go inside but it wasn’t a normal queue because everyone was standing a metre or so apart. Maybe they’re all playing some sort of game? Humans can be extremely odd sometimes.
I decided there was no point in asking Ron so I went to find Serafina to see if she knew what it was all about.
“Humans are all in isolation because of the coronavirus,” she began.
“What’s the groaner virus?” I didn’t like the sound of this.
“It’s a deadly virus that is spread between humans via small droplets produced during coughing, sneezing, or talking,” said Serafina knowledgeably. “Covid-19 is a coronavirus that has been declared a global pandemic. Surely you’ve read about it or seen it on TV.”
Come to think of it I think I had but I hadn’t taken much notice.
“Is there anything we can do to help prevent it?”
Serafina was now fully in her stride. “Well, the recommended measures to prevent infection include frequent hand washing, maintaining physical distance from others and staying at home. The use of masks is recommended by some, although there are differing opinions as to the effectiveness – “
I didn’t hang around to hear what Serafina had to say about masks. I needed to go home and make sure Mummy was OK. What if I gave her this deadly virus just like I’d caused her to get MS when I tripped her up when I was a kitten. When I arrived home I was shocked to find that Mummy wasn’t there. I checked the house to make sure she wasn’t already dead but since her walker was gone I concluded that she’d gone to On the Spot to play that silly standing outside game.
I lay on the deck in the sun feeling exhausted. Did cats get this virus, I wondered? What if I’d already passed it on? But surely I was doing everything that Serafina had said helped prevent it – staying at home, maintaining my distance, keeping myself clean. All of this was second nature to a cat. Hopefully Ron, Squeak and Serafina would be round later and we could discuss our pandemic plan together at the mindfulness meeting.
I must have dozed off and awoke to find that not only were Ron, Squeak and Serafina gathered in the garden to discuss the coronavirus crisis, but hundreds of neighbourhood cats, some of whom I’m sure I’d never seen before. I shook off my sleepiness and at once realised what must have happened. I had been selected as a candidate in the upcoming Supreme Ruler of the Universe elections. This was my big chance and I wasn’t going let the opportunity pass me by. I would soon have these minions eating out of my paw with my powerful personality and decisiveness. I stood on the deck and raised my paw to quiet the babble as more cats joined the throng.
“Do you have a plan to contain the coronavirus amongst cats?” A question from a sexy little female tabby with big tits in the front row.
“I do have a plan and I think it’s going to be handled very well. I’ve already handled it very well. Now the virus that we’re talking about having – you know that a lot of people think that the virus will go away with the heat. Now I’ve checked the weather forecast and the rest of this month is going to be warm. It’s going to be unseasonably warm. You see I check these things. So typically it will miraculously go away but we’re in great shape though. I have done an incredible job and that will continue. It’s going to disappear one day. It’s like a miracle.”
I heard someone in the crowd say: “in the name of Jesus we thank you” and then the others all said: “we thank you.”
I decided to leave it at that for today.
In the following days I was getting stopped in the street and asked for my opinion on the virus.
“I’m not surprised you’re asking me,” I said to the Persian who cornered me outside the school one day. “You know my uncle was a great scholar. He taught at this school for a record number of years. He was a great super genius, Dr John Walter Weasley IV.”
The Persian looked incredulous. I’ve never liked the Persian as a breed.
“I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Everyone asks me how I know so much about this. Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have been a teacher instead of running for Supreme Leader of the Universe.”
Two weeks later the virus hadn’t gone away but that was all fake news and I knew that my opponents were attempting to create a diversion so they could beat me to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe title. I needed to point this out in my next address.
“Now my opponents are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that right? Coronavirus. It’s all turning. They lost. Think of it. Think of it – this is their new hoax. Thirty-five thousand cats die each year of cat flu. Did any of you know that? Thirty-five thousand. That’s a lot of cats. And so far we have lost no cats to coronavirus. And it doesn’t mean we won’t and we are totally prepared. You have to wonder why everyone is in hysteria mode. We have lost no cats. Not one.”
The applause was so deafening I had to end it there because it was starting to make my ears hurt. I was so angry the following day when Serafina came to see me to say that one cat in Waipapa Avenue had died from the virus. Surely it must have had an underlying condition?
But there were more deaths and I needed to be there to provide the leadership these cats needed. Of course I had done my homework like I always do and I found out that the virus started in Purau. Typical! I needed to show my followers that I at least was tackling the problem head on and doing something about these filthy cats from Purau.
It was a warm sunny day in March when I made my address to my growing number of followers.
“My fellow cats, I want to speak to you about my unprecedented response to the coronavirus outbreak that started in Purau and is spreading throughout the Harbour and is now a global pandemic. I am officially declaring a national emergency. My over-riding goal is to stop the spread of the Purau virus and to help all cats who have been impacted by this. And this will pass. This will pass through and cats are going to be even stronger for it. I’ve made the decision to toughen the guidelines and ask cats everywhere to stay home, maintain social distancing, avoid gathering in groups of more than ten cats, avoid discretionary travel and to keep yourselves clean.” I pointed and gave a little wink as I delivered the final directive.
“No change there then!” shouted someone from the crowd.
“Not for us maybe. We’re not like those Purau cats. You need to stay away from them. You need to stay away. It comes from Purau,” I said. “I want to be accurate. Poo-rau.” And I spat just to make my point.
Then some jackass piped up that we didn’t have enough testing kits and were risking a dangerous undercount of diagnosed cases.
“I think I’ve done a fantastic job particularly with the testing. Our tests are the greatest in the world. I took it over and we are doing very well. I worked with the system we had and in a short period of time we’re testing millions of cats. I’d rate my response at a 10. I think I’ve done a great job, really I do. The cases will be down to zero in a week or so.”
But a week later the cases continued to climb and I was starting to fear for my chances of becoming the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.
“I’d love to open everything up by Easter. I’ll tell you that right now. I’d love to lift the restrictions and have everything opened up and ready to go by Easter. A great feline resurrection!”
Everybody loved this of course and my campaign was going right up to the top and everybody knows it. My ratings are so high – higher than the Bachelorette or the rugby world cup games and the numbers just continue to rise.
“Weasley is reaching too many cats. We must stop him!” said one lunatic.
The problem is that some of these cats are so stupid they think I’ve said things when I haven’t and then bring it all up when there’s millions of other cats watching. Why don’t they act a little more positively? Maybe they can’t hear properly. That’s it. There must be something wrong with their hearing. They’re always trying to get me. Getcha, getcha. That’s why nobody trusts those stupid cats anymore. They should go live in Purau.
But Easter came and went and there were over half a million cases of the Purau virus and over 20,000 deaths. But surely there weren’t half a million cats in Diamond Harbour? And why were all of these cats sitting in my garden wanting me to put them on ventilators? I didn’t have nearly enough ventilators so I tried to chase them away but it was like trying to herd humans. They were everywhere!
“Weasley, Weasley, Weasley!”
Surely they didn’t want me to make another speech? But there was only Ron, Squeak and Serafina sitting in the garden.
“Nightmare,” was all I could say when I finally opened my eyes. I could feel the bile rising up from stomach and I dashed into the bushes and vomited.
I don’t feel up to chairing the mindfulness meeting this evening.