I didn't think about doing this article until this morning - in bed! About a week ago, I was chatting to my neighbour who cuts the grass for the block of flats where I live. She was putting a poster up about a lost tabby cat called Freddie. The cat apparently lives with the woman who owns and occupies a large house next door. I am not sure (just guessing) but I think she is divorced and living in the family home, the husband having moved out. That is the way it typically is in the UK on divorce if there are children.
Anyway the house and garden are enormous for London or anywhere for that matter, and it must be worth about £3 million (4.7 million US dollars). Plenty of money, then, for a great cat enclosure or to build a high wall etc. to protect her cats from the London traffic which is no more than 20 yards from her front gate.
About 2 years ago I first met a cat I named Pippa. She was a little black cat, very sweet, a truly charming cat. She wandered into my life - you know how it happens. She often stayed for a bit of food and to rest up, get warm and receive some TLC - tender, loving care. It was nice to see her.
In contrast it was horrifying to see her cross the road, which I can see from my kitchen window. She would frequently and casually walk over the road to a piece of waste ground to explore and hunt. On one occasion I raced out of the kitchen and held up rush hour traffic in both directions to prevent her being injured. I couldn't live with this anxiety any more as this was becoming a kind of routine.
I asked around to try and find the "owner". My first port of call was the right one - the large mansion next door; the home of the same person who had lost Freddie. I explained to the woman what was going on with Pippa. She said that her cat was very smart and would never get hurt on the road..bla...bla... bla..rubbish. Becoming a bit annoyed, I explained that she had plenty of space and (presumably) money to build a very large enclosure or provide a high fence/wall or some such structure. My pleas fell on deaf ears. She refused to do anything sensible and responsible and closed the front door on me.
Well, while my neighbour was putting the poster up about Freddie, I got talking about Pippa. I was told that one day about 8 months ago (the last time I saw Pippa), this "lady" (not quite a lady - sorry) was driving back home and when just outside her home the car immediately in front of her and in full view of her, had hit Pippa as she crossed the road...Pippa had been killed as expected.
I knew she had been killed even though I didn't know what had happened because she had suddenly stopped coming to see me. This just confirmed it. My neighbour who cuts the grass is a nice women and plays golf with the lady in question so I couldn't be too hard but this is a classic case of very poor cat caretaking.
Now to me. Yes, I am being hypocritical. I let my Charlie out and although I am careful and supervise him there is a chance that he might get hurt. My elderly lady cat doesn't go more than a dozen paces into the garden so is safe.
It brought it home to me. I'll have to move and do what Finn has done and build a catio or cat enclosure and leash walk. Or make a really large (garden sized) enclosure for my peace of mind and my cats' safety. In a city a domestic cat has to be an indoor cat plus enclosure to be truly safe. This has to be the best compromise and the most sensible solution.
Maybe I could have done more to save Pippa. I don't know. I feel sad about her. It shouldn't have happened.