The Tail of Arnold the Circus Cat

Before we begin, I should give some background info on my cat (the play-on-words in the title will become clear then)

A few years ago, whilst living in Ashford, my parents decided that they wanted another cat (I never understood why anyone would want A cat, let alone MORE THAN ONE cat!!) but anyway, we found a local cat-dispenser – friend of a friend as I recall – who provided us with a ball of ginger fluff with a bunch of razorblades at its extremities.

My mother bought into the whole “you only get ginger toms, not ginger females” wives tale so decided to change her name from Chloe (that would be a hint for me, cat IS female) to Arnold – Mother had a ginger friend called something Arnold when she was younger; and so the adventure begins: Female, Ginger Cat called Arnold… she has no chance…

The next chapter in Arnold’s life is a pretty dark one. One day we discovered that Arny wasn’t sitting properly, she had her backside up against the back of the sofa, and her bright RED tail was only being held in place by the cushion; in other words, Arny was not controlling it. The tail was bright red, where she had licked all the fur off it and left a raw, bald tail. (This looked quite freaky, as I’m sure you can imagine). We dragged the poor kitten – at this point I still had some respect and compassion for the cat – down to the vet to see what he thought.

Dr Doolittle [I don’t think that was his – or indeed her – real name] could not figure out what had happened to poor Arny but could only tell us that the tail had ‘died’ so (s)he suggested amputating the tail. The reasoning was this: if the tail had been shut in a door, there would be some ‘pinch’ marks either side of it; if the cat had been run over, the tail would be flat and Arny would have damaged claws, so this was also ruled out! So anyway, the tail came off…

So now we have a Female, Ginger, Tailless Cat called Arnold – which is obviously a boys name…

A few years later, we decided to leave Ashford (or Ashwitz as my father calls it!) and head for a very expensive bit of real estate, it was too far to bring Arny, because by this time the teasing from the other cats had driven her a little loopy, so we sent her off to stay in a retirement home… in the form of Grandma Grant’s beach house.

After a couple of years eating pilchards and salmon – I think my grandmother felt sorry for Poor Circus Arny – she completely forgot who we were, whenever we visited she would just hide or ignore us. So that was destined to be the end of our relationship… Until…

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