It was a bitterly cold January. The weather bulletins reported temperatures of -14°C not far from York and there was snow, lots of it, in most parts of the country. One clear but wintry day we drove down to Northampton to go through Lawrence’s things.
As we arrived a sleek grey cat trotted and skipped through the snow to greet us. It was Lawrence’s Perspehone and she seemed delighted to see us. There had been no-one at the house for weeks; heaven only knows how poor Persephone had kept warm and found something to eat. But we didn’t dare let her in; if she disappeared inside she’d be trapped there when we left. Feeling mean and heartless we shooed her away and slipped into the house.
Persephone was still waiting when we came to leave, still happy to see us. We told her we were sorry but we had to go, gave her a quick stroke, got in the car and started to drive away. As I glanced in the wing mirror I could see a pretty grey cat sitting in a foot of snow watching us with an expression of such desolation that I couldn’t bear to leave her there.
Mary stopped the car while we tried to think of a way to help the poor creature. But we didn’t know anyone in Northampton apart from Jazmin’s foster family and we didn’t have their phone number or address. There didn’t seem to be a local RSPCA or Cats Protection League on a main road (and the local roads were treacherous). If there had been a cat carrier perhaps we could have taken her with us. Out of ideas Mary re-started the car and drove away. We felt terrible, but we tried to console ourselves with the knowledge that Persephone was healthy and obviously managing on her own somehow.
The following day I phoned Caren, Jazmin’s foster mum, and she temporarily added Persephone to her menagerie of one dog and three cats. The next time we were in Northampton we collected Persephone and brought her back to York where it took 10 minutes and a bowl of food for her to forgive us and settle in.
All’s well that ends well, as they say.