This morning’s less-than-eagerly awaited bout of cat boxing was a bit of a surprise.
Both cats were looking relaxed and easy watching England v Scotland rugby from opposite ends of the sofa. The cat box had been removed to the dining table and the front door – a kind of portcullis – had been lowered for ease of entry.
There was already a pad in the box but to make it more homely I cut a section of towelling from their favourite bed in my study and put that in there too. Familiar scents sometimes help.
So I plucked Fat Lily from magazine corner, took her to the box and gently released her inside it, pulling up the portcullis pretty sharpish (I know they usually go down but that’s cats for you – they have to be different). She looked suspicious but otherwise not worried.
I then got Leo, who is a much longer stringy boy with bony hips and, to be honest, wondered how I was going to get him in too, as Lily seemed to be taking up a substantial amount of room. What if she behaved like the average lone rail traveller who, on seeing a new traveller looking around hopefully for somewhere to sit, makes himself as large as possible by placing his knees wide apart, his jacket on the vacant seat and spreads newspapers all over the table? Fortunately, she wouldn’t do that to her brother.
So I lowered the portcullis and showed Leo the entrance and, miracle of miracles, seeing Lily already in there, he *walked* in!! I tucked the tip of his tail in behind him and secured the portcullis by twiddling little plastic lugs. They’re not going to last long.
There was a mew of confusion and Leo head-butted the sunroof a couple of times, testing the strength of what he probably felt was the escape hatch. There was a bit of furry jockeying for position in the box and then there was only the silent confusion and anticipation of two boxed cats.
The box travelled on the front seat of my car all the way to the vet’s practice in Cinderford.
There were a few loud mewings from Leo along the lines of “HELP! ANYONE?? SHE’S GOT US IN A BLOODY BOX!!”
Later on Lily uttered some subdued miaows along the lines of “Er, you know we’re still in here, don’t you?”
I reassured them and they shut up and settled down remarkably well. When I took them into the vets, another customer there remarked on how quiet well-behaved they were.
Sadly, the vet was no longer there. He’d been called out to a pregnant mare emergency, so the journey was wholly in vain. They were all settled and sleepy on the way home – did they know we were returning home, I wondered? – and when I set the box down on the living room floor and lowered the portcullis, they took their time walking out.
Lily even strolled back in to the box to inspect where she’d been.
I think I won the first bout of cat boxing on points.
Not sure what will happen in the re-match next Saturday though. They were caught by surprise by the tactics of the opposition today, I think – next week they will have experience on their side…
“It would be a good idea to lower the portcullis. Honestly, you just can’t get the serfs these days.”
“In your own time. It’s quite comfy in here…”