Well, after a rather lengthy hiatus, I’ve decided I really do believe in Santa, after all! Let me tell you why.
Our very old (17 years), rather deaf and definitely tottery in the hind-quarters, cat went missing last Monday. This was a very unusual circumstance. We’ve had her for 16 years and she’s never strayed. Never. Not even when we drove her all the way down to Palmerston North to stay with my hubby’s folks for a couple of weeks until we found a permanent place to stay in Wellington – a hellish trip, by the way, considering she gets carsick. She stuck with us when we drove her from Palmerston North to our rented housed in Wellington and she dry-retched the entire way. She even forgave us when we had her sedated and flown back from Wellington to Auckland after we bought our first house. And she settled in no problems at all, when we moved into a new house in April this year. Heck, she even featured in a local newspaper article about myself (as the 2006 Clendon winner) and Yvonne, as a past winner who’s now multi-published. We were sitting in her spot, you see, and she was rather vocal in her disapproval so James, the photographer, gave in gracefully and allowed me to pick her up. Consequently, Yvonne and I are both grinning and Hazel’s forever immortalised in the newspaper. She’s a stayer, is our Hazel. At least, that’s what we thought.
So she went AWOL on Monday. We walked up and down the street on Monday night calling for her. Tuesday, we did the same. Wednesday, the kids and I posted fliers featuring a photo my son had taken of her lounging under the Christmas tree. Thursday, I phoned all the vets in the area and the SPCA with a description. By Friday, I had to tell the kids she probably wasn’t ever coming back. You know the drill: she’s an old cat. She’s probably found a nice bush to hide under, fallen asleep and didn’t wake up. Heart-breaking, but the most likely scenario. As the days passed – 10 to be exact – we quietly gave up hope and said our good-byes.
Except for the kids. My son asked Santa to give us back Hazel for Christmas and my daughter thought aloud that it’d be great to have Hazel back as a Christmas present, too. You gotta admire the absolute faith that children show, don’t you? And so they were rewarded for their faith.
Wednesday this week, the day after the kids broke up from school, I had a call from the SPCA saying they had our cat at their animal hospital. Now we’re a 45 minute drive from Mangere, and factor in a stunned mullet of a mum who got rather lost getting there and it was more like an hour’s drive. I still couldn’t believe it to be true. But there she was: curled up in a cage, apparently none-the-worse for wear. And I cried when we loaded her into the car after thanking her caregivers and giving them a generous donation since they wouldn’t take any payment.
So the kids got their Christmas wish – to have their cat back. And I’m still shaking my head about how she got all the way down to the main road before she was picked up by the SPCA… and how she coped with such a long trip! Needless to say, she didn’t make it back home in the car with us without losing her breakfast. So she seems pretty content to hang around now and we’re hoping she’ll be with us for a few more years, too!
Merry Christmas, everyone. And remember, wishes do sometimes come true.