THE CAT BURGULAR by Maggie Hegarty
The following incident occurred some years ago when my husband and I lived in England:
We returned from a wonderful holiday, and although we were looking forward to seeing our two cats, Harvey and Gilbert, we were deflated and tired and dumped some items in the hall. Our camera, with memories of the visit, was safely deposited in its case but left at the bottom of the stairs.
Harvey and Gilbert were always rather strange after being left for two weeks. Cat lovers should note that they had been cuddled, fed and watered by a friendly neighbour. As we attempted to get organised, the tabby, Gilbert, ran hell for leather down the stairs and somehow managed to tangle his head in the camera case strap. This made him more manic and he raced through the hallway, kitchen, and cat flap, trailing case and camera behind him. He bolted down the garden and disappeared over the fence.
We had visions of him getting stuck on the branch of a tree and strangling himself. When he didn’t return, my husband went knocking on doors enquiring about a cat with a camera around his neck and asked if he could search gardens. As you can imagine, he received some strange looks and some neighbours, who didn’t know him, were not prepared to give him access. It was dark so their refusal was perfectly understandable.
He felt foolish but persevered with his search until he realised his efforts were futile. He returned home with a heavy heart, feeling sure that Gilbert had perished. However, later that evening, Gilbert strolled in as if nothing untoward had happened. There was no sign of the camera but our tabby friend had come home and we were overjoyed.
Some days later, we found the case in one of our trees but there was no sign of the camera. As it was a relatively expensive item, we decided to make a claim on our insurance. I contacted the company and explained the situation. I would imagine the claims officer had heard similar weird tales because she didn’t seem surprised by my incredulous story. She explained that we had to report the incident to the police, because as far as they were concerned, the camera had been stolen.
Who, in their right mind, would bother a busy police station with such a story? And who would accuse a gorgeous tabby cat, called Gilbert?