The Wonderful World Wide Web
A cat causes consternation in Linda Lewis’s humorous complete story.
THE moment I opened the front door to four-year-old Jake and f ive-year-old Lucy, my cat fled through the cat flap. Thomas hasn’t got used to the grandchildren yet. Sandra followed us into the house. “Thanks for offering to look after them, Mum. If I get this job, it will make a huge difference.”
Now I was nearby and happy to look after Jake and Lucy, Sandra had applied for a part-time job at the local supermarket. She put down two bags crammed with snacks, drinks and toys.
“I hope you haven’t been glued to the internet all morning, Mum. You know how I feel about Facebook.” “Actually, I’ve been on Twitter.” Sandra sighed. “You came to Yorkshire for a fresh start. You won’t make new friends if you stay indoors messaging the people you left behind!”
She had a point. I’m fine once I know people; it’s taking that f irst step I f ind diff icult. “Did you try the group at the church?” “Yes, but all they talked about were soap operas.”
Sandra, a huge “EastEnders” fan, laughed. “It can’t have been that bad, Mum.” “No, but everyone was in their own groups. I f ind it hard to butt in.”
“I know.” She gave me a hug. “Promise me you’ll give it another go.” “I will.” “Good. I won’t be long,” she said, as she headed for the door.
Being with the grandchildren was so much fun, I was shocked at the time when Sandra returned. I knew from her face that the interview had gone well. “You got it!” “Yes! I start a week on Monday. Thanks, Mum. I wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for you.”
As they got ready to go Sandra reminded me about the craft fair.
“Saturday morning. I’d come but I need to catch up with chores.” “I could help you,” I offered. She smiled. “No. You need to meet people, Mum.” Sometimes I wasn’t sure which of us was the daughter.
Once they’d left, I put the TV on, then opened a tin of cat food for Thomas. I went on Facebook and uploaded some of the photos I’d taken.
An hour went by, then I realised there was no sign of Thomas. It wasn’t like him to be late for dinner. What if something had happened? This was a new place for him, too.
I put on my jacket and went outside to look for him. When I reached the end of the garden, I heard a pitiful miaow. I looked up, and there was Thomas, stuck halfway up the oak tree that, though actually in the park, shaded the bottom of my garden.
I called his name, but all he did was miaow more pitifully. I had no idea what to do. My son-in-law wouldn’t be home for a couple of hours and I didn’t want to ask Sandra for help. She’d be busy with the children. I stared at Thomas. “Stay there,” I said unnecessarily, “while I call the Fire Brigade.”
The call didn’t go well. Cats stuck up trees aren’t emergencies, of course. They said they might be able to help if Thomas was still there the next day. They suggested calling the vet.
I did, but they were closed on Thursday afternoons. There was an emergency number but I didn’t want to take the vet away from a real emergency.
It was up to me. I went to the garage, pulled out the stepladder and leaned it up against the fence that separated my garden from the park.
One step, fine. Two steps, OK. Three steps proved too much. One leg dug into the mud, making the ladder wobble. I didn’t dare risk a fall.
I fetched some of Thomas’s toys and waved them at him, but he refused to move. It would be getting dark soon.
My friend, Janet, would have known what to do, but she wasn’t next door any more – she was back in Devon.
That was when a lightbulb came on. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I could still ask my friends for advice!
I ran indoors, logged on to Facebook and described what had happened, then I went on to Twitter.
My cat’s stuck in a tree. Any advice?
MOST replies suggested the Fire Brigade, then a friend sent a message saying she’d read about a man whose dog got stuck in a rabbit hole.
What’s that got to do with my cat? He’s up a tree! I responded.
She asked for help on Twitter and people turned up and helped dig it out, came the reply. If it worked for a trapped dog, it might work for a cat up a tree.
Having no better ideas, I posted a plea for help, asking people to retweet it to their friends.
My cat’s stuck in the big oak tree in the west corner of Manston Park. Can anybody help?
I added the postcode and pressed Send, then I set off to the park. It took me a minute or two to walk round to the entrance. By the time I reached the tree, two teenage boys were striding towards me, carrying a ladder. “Are you the lady with the stuck cat?” “Yes! Thanks for coming to help.” I pointed to where Thomas was cowering.
One boy held the ladder while the other clambered up, but as he reached for Thomas, the cat edged further along the