Last spring an emaciated black tomcat wandered into our garden. He had an abscess on his face and part of his right cheek was eroded away. His fur was mangy and he was riddled with fleas. A tic clung to his shoulder, growing fat on his blood. He whined as if he was in terrible pain. He was very friendly, however, brushed his body against your legs and was eager to be stroked. We de-flea’d him, got rid of the tic and started to feed him, buying extra cat food and giving him biscuits every day.
He was clearly homeless. Every day of the week you’d see him sitting near the garden table and sunning himself, or crouching beneath the table whenever it rained. We were tempted to bring him indoors but he hadn’t been neutered and would have sprayed his scent all over the place. Our cat Wilson saw him as a threat. They occasionally clashed. There was one particular episode in which the two became entangled in a terrible fight, rolling around on the lawn, spitting and screeching, their claws and teeth ravaging each other’s flesh. Wilson incurred a vet bill of over £100 due to infected bites and claw marks from the fight.
The tomcat still persisted on coming into the garden. We built a small place for him to climb into so that he could shelter from the wind and rain. It seemed like he was going to be here for a long while and so we decided to give him a name. We called him Boris after the ex-Mayor of London. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. The name stuck.
Summer turned to autumn and with the cold weather approaching we started to make provisions for him to be warm and comfortable, so we made up a bed in the shed — a box stuffed with old blankets. The shed door was left permanently open, so that he could wander in and out. We plugged in an electric oil-filled radiator and kept it on throughout the night. It took the chill off the shed and kept him nice and warm.
Worried that he would freeze in the rapidly approaching winter, we telephoned the local Cat Protection Society and asked them if they could take him in. A kindly lady called Joanne said they were unable to at the time but as soon as a place became available she would collect him. “We will pay for you to take him to the vet and get him looked over,” she added. “We will even have him neutered.” With that we booked an appointment with the vet. They neutered him in due course and gave him a series of injections to combat cat AIDS. They estimated his age at around six years old. He was very accommodating, allowing the vets to treat him without making a fuss. They all loved him. The vet said how affectionate he was. One of the staff would have taken him home but she already had dogs of her own.
Now that he was neutered, we allowed him into our house. He wasted no time in jumping up on the settee, curling into a ball and sleeping. Wilson didn’t like it. As far as he was concerned Boris was an intruder. He would glare menacingly as Boris slept on the settee. Whenever Boris came near he would growl. One had to watch carefully as they fed. It was a fraught experience. Wilson hissing at Boris, ready to pounce. We were also ready to separate them at a moments notice.
Wilson would not accept him and so we had no choice but to call the Cat Protection Society again and ask them to take Boris away. Soon a lady called Hilary called. She had a cat box at the ready. We reluctantly and sadly put Boris into it. Both of us were upset to see him go.
Joanne from the Cat Protection Society took photographs of him and put the pictures on their website. One person was interested in taking him in but in the end she decided against it — she already had other cats, and like us she was worried that they would fight.
Boris remained in a cat pen for around two months, maybe a little bit more. His photograph and name, along with a little report, was on the Internet and I used to look to see if there was any progress, whether anybody had taken an interest in adopting him. Nobody had and it looked as though Boris would spend his days penned up. I was beginning to think we had done the wrong thing. Maye we should have kept him? Eventually the two cats would have tolerated each other. Would they? Maybe not?
Then, suddenly I got a call from Hilary, followed by another call from Joanne. They were ecstatic. A woman living many miles away had just lost a black cat. She dreamt that a black cat called Boris had wandered into her garden. He was so affectionate that she was compelled to take him in. So intense was the dream that she decided to look at cat rehousing homes on the Internet. When she saw Boris advertised on the Cat Protection Society’s website, she was amazed. He was black and his name was Boris, just like the cat in her dream. She telephoned the Cat Protection Society immediately and said she was interested in adopting him.
She drove 50 miles to pick him up. A couple of weeks later we got a text from the Cat Protection Society. Boris had integrated himself into her home. At last he had found a good home. The woman was overjoyed and no doubt so was Boris. I was overjoyed to hear that he was alright.
How amazing is that? One could argue that it was pure coincidence. It just so happened that Boris fitted the profile of the cat she saw in her dream. Another could say it was meant to happen. I believe the chances of dreaming that such a cat existed, the same name, colour, was more than a coincidence. Maybe there was some kind of divine force at work, bringing two souls together. How wonderful. How incredibly uplifting.