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Hendrix the cat
Maggie's stray mog
Every year the Cats Protection League rehouses a staggering 55,500 cats and kittens which are lost or abandoned. Maggie Philbin tells of her tale of woe after finding a stray cat in her street, and how she found Hendrix a temporary home in Newbury.
Six months ago a starving ginger and white cat turned up in my street. He looked like a walking toast rack and had all but given up the will to live.
When I first saw him he was lying in a patch of sunshine and as I approached, he hauled himself to his feet and tried to drag himself away. It was pitiful. I fetched him a bowl of food.
The next day he turned up in my garden just as I was about to feed my own two cats and I fed him again. After that – he never missed a meal.
Maggie's cats watching Hendrix
Over the months he got bigger and bolder. We gave him a name. Our cats being Harrison (George) and Springfield (Dusty), my daughter’s boyfriend suggested that Hendrix would be a good moniker for a cat from the wilder side of the tracks.
He was extremely wary of humans and it was a big day when he trusted me enough to allow me to stroke him
And so the staggering toast rack turned into a muscular handsome tom who decided that life at No 64 was all he’d ever wanted. Food turned up on time, there was a convenient cat flap into a conservatory where he could shelter from the rain and only a couple of pesky cats between him and total cat bliss.
In fairness, it was Harrison who started the fights. Fiercely territorial he was like the fool in the pub who picks on the big bloke in the corner. We kept hoping that things would settle down and that my privileged pets would take some pity on the charity case.
Three times Harrison had to be anaesthetised to deal with deep infected bites from these scraps.
His sister, who wisely ignored the pair of them, became very stressed and spent a weekend on a drip after a long bout of nervous vomiting and diarrhoea. It was becoming increasingly obvious that no truce was ever going to be called and that Hendrix needed to find a proper home.
You may have heard me talking on the radio about how difficult this proved to be. In the weeks before Christmas, all the animal charities near me were completely full.
This didn’t stop the fights. Harrison would hurl himself at the double-glazing whenever Hendrix walked past and the two cats would have surreal, noisy fights on either side of the window.
Two weeks into the New Year, it was time to look a little further afield.
I made a desperate phone call to the Newbury branch of the Cat Protection League who luckily had a space.
Hendrix in his new temporary home
I was expecting him to behave like a dervish on that 70 mile drive down the motorway but he sat quietly for the entire journey and looked almost angelic when we carried him through the door.
The centre has a relaxed atmosphere. A couple of long term inmates wander freely around the place and there were an encouraging number of people were pulling into the car park, keen to adopt .
Hendrix was assigned a pen with a two-story cat house. His familiar bed was put inside and the staff assured me he would settle down. Just one hurdle. He would have to be tested for Feline Aids . It’s a big risk for unneutered cats and if he was a carrier, then he would have to be put to sleep.
It was a long , long weekend waiting for the results. But Hendrix is in the clear and is now looking for a second chance in life. :i
We’ll be following his story on BBC Radio Berkshire and back home Harrison can't believe he’s gone.
last updated: 21/01/2009 at 10:43
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