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Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


Ollie is a performer and loves an audience. We were off to the vet simply to have Ollie's teeth checked after recent dental surgery. I put the cage on the back seat of the car and grabbed Ollie. Humans are such suckers. Ollie was all pathos "Please, please don't put me in a cage," he seemed to say. "I'll be good, I promise."

I forgot that cat is a born liar. "OK," I said, putting him on the front seat.

Things went fine. Ollie sat up and looked placidly out of the window as we drove. The veterinary clinic is set in a large clearing with car parks around the perimeter. In the corner of the clearing is a stand of huge trees. The wind was blowing a gale and the last of the autumn leaves were swirling and dancing like glowing red and brown butterflies.

The trouble started when I opened the door. Ollie sensed freedom and shot through the small space like a streak of quicksilver. A feeling of horror swept over me. Ollie was loose at the vets near a busy four-lane highway and it was my fault!! I was so stupid. Ollie never forgets a thing. Several weeks before he had been to the vet to have some teeth out and must have decided that he was going to have more terrible things done to him. I sped after him "Pussy, Pussy," I coaxed, "come on, nice Ollie."

Ollie was now standing in the centre of the clearing. Around him stood his audience - various carloads of people with dogs and cats, coming and going. Sometimes an attack of madness overcomes a cat in a high wind and this is what happened to Ollie. He began to dance - it was a glorious sight. Every falling leaf was his prey and he sprang and pirouetted. Sometimes he had one toe on the ground sometimes two. I danced after him like a lumbering elephant - snatching at thin air where Ollie coiling body had been just a second before. Even though Ollie wasn't a female and wasn't wearing a tutu it was certainly the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The crowd grew larger. People forgot about going to the vet and watched Ollie. A woman with a pug-nosed dog that resembled her remarked loudly that people should cage their cats when going to the vet. Oh God, if only I had. We danced on, with Ollie's leaps and bounds becoming more spectacular by the minute.

Someone's kid had now got in on the act. "I'll catch him, lady," he yelled.

I was too winded to protest but I could almost hear Ollie laughing. That cat tormented the kid. He whizzed to within grabbing distance of the yelling one and then did a nifty side-step to the left. The kid lunged forward and missed by a mile. He fell flat on his face and started to howl.

Ollie vanished under a car. I flopped on my belly and called "Olliieeeee, Olliieeee." Ollie was positioned under the centre of the car and was getting his second wind. He smirked back at me and didn't move a muscle.

The owner of the cat had a large white rabbit in a cage and eyed me sympathetically. "I can move the car if you like," he said. I thanked him breathlessly. He started up the engine and Ollie simply shot under the car next door.

I gave up and leaned against the bonnet of the nearest car. Tears filled my eyes. It was no good. Soon Ollie would disappear into the bushes at the back of the clinic and I'd never catch him. I began to wonder if he could ever find his own way home from the vet. clinic.

Then I felt something moving against my leg. Ollie was rubbing against me. I grabbed him and hugged him. "Oh Ollie," I sniffed. There were a few muffled cheers from the crowd and a bit of clapping. Ollie was delighted - applause! He would have got down and taken a few curtain calls if he could have. It all ended quite tamely. Ollie went into his cage, made a satisfactory visit to the vet and went home still in his cage. The moral of the story - never ever forget that cats are smarter, quicker and more cunning than humans.


Editor's note:

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