Monday, 17 May 2010

Banjo and (maybe) the fox

I had a terrible fright with my cat Banjo a few nights ago.  Some time before midnight I was sitting at my computer at the back of the house when I heard the shriek of an animal, followed by other cries of distress, coming from the back of the house opposite, in other words some 50 yards away. 

Banjo hadn’t yet come back in for the night, so we ran into the street and heard it again – it was bloodcurdling.  Our neighbours were obviously asleep and at that point I didn’t feel I could knock on their door to ask them to look in their garden.  We were further upset by the fact that he didn’t answer our call, and he usually does. 
John got into his car (midnight by now) and drove around the block in case he could see anything, but no luck.  We called for a long time, and I was getting more and more distraught, as all was now quiet.  I was sure I had lost him to a fox and I just couldn’t bear it. 

We kept going out every few minutes and calling for him, but he was nowhere to be found.  He has a white chest and paws, which we’re very proud of, but they stand out like a beacon at night time, almost as if you were shining an ultra violet light on him, and I imagine this could be his worst enemy.
Meanwhile my other cat Rusty was very perturbed by the way I was behaving, and he was trying hard to comfort me by repeatedly rubbing his head against my face and purring very loudly. 

At 1.15 a.m. John went out once more and called, and would you believe it, Banjo appeared trotting along the top of the high wall by our neighbour’s house, and ran indoors.
The stupid thing was that I still couldn’t stop weeping.  Banjo was quite subdued, didn’t purr, and settled in a corner in a small ball (he’s a big cat), and there he stayed for most of the following day, and ever since, only venturing outside for short bursts, and never after dark. 

We’re now fairly confident that the dreadful noise came from foxes mating, being that time of year, and that Banjo must have been located very nearby when they were in full flight, as it were.  The volume of their screaming must have seemed deafening to him and scared him half to death, and perhaps he froze where he was, not daring to emerge until the foxes disappeared an hour and a half later.
John was very upset by the whole thing too, though he shows it less.  I felt drained all the following day, and my face was still puffy.  As I don’t have children, I suppose my cats are some sort of substitute, although most of the time I love and enjoy them for themselves and respect their personalities.  I love the way they ‘speak’ to me and show me what they want, and also what they don’t like. 
The fact is that the other night for the space of nearly two hours I believed that Banjo had been torn apart by a fox, perhaps protecting her young, and I kept insisting to John that he had to go and find his body – like any mother I was obsessed for that brief period with getting him home, even dead.  It was totally preposterous that it wasn’t possible because ‘I couldn’t disturb the neighbours’.  I refused to be reasoned with.  Goodness knows how I would have reacted if he had disappeared for longer, as cats do sometimes, or if he had indeed been killed.  I found the whole thing, and my reaction, frightening. 
Banjo has clearly had a sobering experience; I’m so grateful that he has been returned to me, and also that he may well be more cautious in future.


Photo Finish -
from Lonicera's non-digital archive

Around the house and garden

Clematis does quite well in my garden -
this is Niobe, a darker and richer red than you see here.

In the foreground the dwarf eucalyptus that hated the windy spot where I put it and eventually blew over.  In the field the cows belonging to the local farmer, then the motorway behind that row of green, and the red cranes of Porbury dock behind.  It looks very pastoral but if you were standing there you'd notice the hum from the motorway. 

This rose is much darker, and wonderfully fragrant.

Another clematis

This is a robin, my favourite bird, because it's so friendly, aside from being cute.  I live in fear that my cats will get them, and I try to shoo them away.  This one is resting on a branch of my mimosa (wattle) a beautiful tree which may or may not have been finished off by the severe frosts we had this winter.  It's been pruned, leaving the canopy so high up that I can't see if it's green or not...



Michelle said...

I am so happy your kitty made it home..

Lonicera said...

Thanks Michelle - I'm a wuz I'm afraid....!

Sandy Lee said...

It's ok to think of our furry friends as our children. I'm watching my daughters cat for the next 6 months. He's a house cat and we put him on a leash when outside but am petrified he will get loose or run out the door and into traffic. So glad yours made it home ok. They are two beauties.

Cindylew said...

My love to Banjo and Rusty...I have 3 of my own...chowder, scooter and pickles.

Girl Bandit said...

Oh your poor things....I am so glad he is ok...I would be devastated too...I LOVE my dog

Simone said...

Oh gosh, how awful Caroline, I'm so glad that this story had a happy ending. We have foxes around near us a lot and the sound of them mating is horrible isn't quite, really blood-curdling, I can quite understand your distress.
Poor Banjo!

Love your photos - and the cows, how lovely to be able to see them each day! Your garden looks very pretty, you obviously work very hard on it.

I gave you a little mention on my blog on Monday to thank you for always supporting me and for being there since the beginning, your support has not gone unnoticed and I can't see a cupcake now without thinking of you!! LOL! You know how I love them.

Last time I mentioned you on my blog, another Caroline thought it was her - and it wasn't!!! Oh well :)

Finally, thank you so much for your donation - that is so kind of you, I am honestly so grateful. People have been wonderful. One of my friends is running with us and she owns the local tearoom - hence our name the Cupcake Angels - the BCC team calls themselves the Guardian Angels so we changed it slightly. We are having a photo taken next week for the local newspaper - cupcakes and all! Sort of "Calendar Girls" but with clothes ON....obviously (and thank goodness!)

Best wishes to you - and thank you so much,
Simone xoxo

Lonicera said...

What sweet comments, thank you SO much. I still look at Banjo and feel greatful he's around. He's gone back to lying on his back with his legs in the air, so I think the episode is behind him...

Simone, I saw your mention, and I thought I'd left a message on your blog, but I've checked and I haven't, so many humble apologies. It's so exciting to be mentioned, I don't know how I didn't... I'm so glad the way yours is going from strength to strength. Please advise in due course in which newspaper you'll be appearing, and I'll search online. Thanks again for your message!


Simone said...

Thank you Caroline, I always love hearing from you when you pop over :)

I will definitely let you know when we are in the local paper...we are still organising the photo, it's difficult to get us all together at one time! We have been running regularly though and with great enthusiasm....this heat is lovely but today was just a little too hot for me - and definitely for running!

Glad that Banjo is his old self again....and congratulations on a 2lb weight loss this month.....YIPPEE!!!!

Take care xo

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