“You wouldn’t read about it,” said Squeak, shaking his head and making a tut-tutting noise.
“We did read about it,” said Captain Obvious, Ron.
“But what are we going to do about it?” I just wanted to smooth this all over as quickly as possible.
Serafina jumped on top of the rusted wheelbarrow which she now calls The Podium of Truth and addressed the attendees of our Mindfulness Meeting.
“Obviously what we’ve all just read on the Diamond Harbour group page is very upsetting. There are clearly a number of serious issues affecting cats that need to be addressed. I put forward the motion that this Mindfulness session is now under urgency and that we tackle each individual issue separately to come up with effective ways of dealing with these problems so that we can all move forward as a community.”
A general kerfuffle ensued and the sound of soft paw claps and “hear hears” could be heard underneath the deck at my house. It had been hard to fit this number of cats into the venue, such was the interest surrounding our Extraordinary Mindfulness Meeting. I had pushed hard for it to be a closed meeting. I didn’t want lobby groups of feral cats and factions of the 1080 protest alliance infiltrating our group. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sure what time Mummy would be home from the pub.
“The first item of business,” said Serafina decisively, “relates to feral cats. Do we have any ferals here tonight?”
I looked around nervously. I prayed that there weren’t. There were a few cats not wearing collars which had sparked debate as to whether they should be allowed in at all as standards for the meeting needed to be maintained. Thankfully this was eventually over-ruled. I hate wearing a collar myself and normally manage to accidentally lose it, however the collarless cats looked well-fed and contented, unlike the feral cats who scared the shit out of me to be honest.
An immaculate female Persian, clearly a pure-bred, raised her paw and condescendingly said in an affected tone of voice:
“I find the use of the word “ferals” offensive and discriminatory. They didn’t choose to be born as feral and there is absolutely no reason for you to …”
“We’ll refer to them as homeless” I said, surprised that Serafina hadn’t seen this coming. I could see the Persian developing a head of steam as she saw other cats nodding their heads. We didn’t want to start our own angry debate whilst trying to dampen down another.
“We have attempted to reach out to the fer-fer-fer … homeless in the past,” said Serafina sounding as though she had developed a stutter to match Arkwright from Open All Hours. “Without success I might add. It seems they continue to disregard our contraception advice and are causing mayhem in the outlying areas of Diamond Harbour.”
I shuddered involuntarily. Serafina had tasked me with the job of educating the fer – homeless and I had even attempted to distribute leaflets at the point when they were about to … reproduce themselves as it were. It hadn’t ended well.
“I will preface my next statement to say that domestic cats in the more urban areas of the community are NOT AT RISK but homeless cats found hunting in outlying areas may, and I repeat may find themselves being shot or ending up in a trap. My advice to domestic cats is to wear your collar at all times. I know it’s not considered cool but the consequences of being mistaken for a homeless cat could be, well it could be a bit nasty.”
There was another hubbub of debate after this which seemed mainly to revolve around collar wearing. Were there not more important issues to be dealt with? Obviously it wasn’t just about maintaining standards at meetings but saving lives!
“The next item of business concerns the Godley House foundations which are considered by the Council to be of great archaeological value,” continued Serafina. “It would be wise to steer clear of the area in case we are seen to be interfering with a heritage site. There are also underground tanks which could collapse if a cat were to inadvertently put a paw in the wrong place.”
“OOooh, I heard that a cat had be rescued from a tank by the fire brigade today,” piped up the bloody Persian again. “Second time they’d been called out. Talk about a waste of tax payers money!“
Oh God, it was Cookie who had to be rescued today. I apprehensively looked over toward Ron and Squeak. This was a complicated love triangle which had the potential to erupt into a blood-thirsty catfight that I wanted no part of. It had developed when we’d attempted to form a singing group called The Gingernuts. Ron had fallen for Cookie in a huge way but she only had eyes for Squeak. To Squeak’s credit he had kept a low profile with Cookie for Ron’s sake, but I was fairly sure that clandestine moonlight meetings were taking place and possibly at the site of the Godley House foundations. Thankfully the fire brigade call-out had been at Cookie’s home and I didn’t think Squeak had been involved but I was still waiting for a full report on the incident.
Thankfully Serafina also wanted to move things along without too much discussion on the Cookie episode.
“There has also been talk of animals being poisoned with 1080 in the area,” she began.
The Persian fluffed herself up to nearly twice her normal size at the very mention of 1080. Jeepers, she was going to go ballistic. Our meeting wasn’t now just under urgency, it was under seige. But then I saw that Serafina had spotted the potential problem and was quick to the mark. She began to speak very quickly.
“I can confirm that 1080 is not being used on the Peninsula and I know that possums are a pest, as are fer-fer-fer – homeless stoats and weasels … ha ha not to be confused with Weasley who has caught a stoat and a couple of rabbits recently.”
Serafina was babbling and losing the plot in a big way. I saw the Persian taking a video and shuddered at the thought she might post an edited version of this on social media. My heart went out to my sister, Serafina and I mouthed: “Change the subject”.
“Um … so have any of you cats ever cycled over Dyers Pass?”
Postscript: After this disastrous meeting ended we all observed a minutes silence for Bowie who was tragically struck by a car last night