READER REPORT:

Tabitha, the well-travelled tabby

EWEN SPARK
Last updated 05:00 17/11/2012
cat
THE BOSS: Tabitha the tabby.

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Tabitha was already the boss when she gave that look from the window of the pet shop. 

She was nothing special in the pedigree stakes and the price tag was only $50 - with a $50 discount on desexing. A free cat right? Uh uh, not on your life.

By the time she was settled in and dominating the household she had cost more like $500. My wife didn't mind how much she cost as long as she was happy and healthy. It was then I realised my wife had been hypnotised.

She loved all the toys that she was presented with on a regular basis as she started to grow and dominate her surroundings. She quickly learnt that to fill up your food bowl all you had to do was sniff it, sit still and look at your slave and make the appropriate cute sound. This would stop my wife in her tracks and have her run to the fridge and fill up the food bowl with only the best cat food money could buy.

She would perch herself on the end of the bed at night on what she had decided was her blanket. If there was a cardboard box laying around she'd chew it into millions of little pieces knowing that it would be picked up by her slave without a groan of complaint.

When she was a year old we decided to move to Australia. I thought about leaving without her for a split second then imagined the consequences. Nah, I was trapped here. Either we all go or I go on my own.

Two thousand dollars later our boss had the most expensive air ticket in the family, along with the best medical check and inoculations money could buy. We spent six months in the Outback where they kill cats to protect the wildlife. If she didn't become a house only cat, she'd be dead and all of that money would for nothing. 

The next thing you know she had another 50 or so toys and a cat gym that cost $200. Letting her take a run round the neighbourhood started to look appealing. Best keep that thought to myself, I'm sure she can read minds and get me in trouble. I look over at her on the end of the bed and she sneers.

Our six months are up and we decided to take a road trip across Australia. This trip would end up being 12,000km and over 20 stays in motels and motor camps. Only a few of which welcome pets, and then with ridiculous conditions.

One said, "yes you can bring in your cat, but there's a $150 deposit and the cat stays in the car."

That seemed about as reasonable as a free injection to put her to sleep ... mmm ... maybe that would save some money. Oops, she's looking my way again. No! I didn't think that about you.

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For the entire 12,000 kms she had pride of place in the car and would sometimes just sit perched high in the back smugly watching the world go by. After we booked in I was bullied until I sneaked her into the room. 

After we arrived on the other side of Australia, we settled into a nice neighbourhood. Maybe she could go outside and spend some time chasing bugs, which she loved doing in New Zealand. 

Now after a couple of months she has her routine.

Mornings as it gets light: one claw drawn, she pulls on my arm as I snore away ever so loudly. Just enough to make me wake up. I drowsily drag myself out of bed and open the door for her to go outside. Somehow I end up back in bed.

Breakfast time: She wanders inside meowing to her number one slave to wake up and feed her the finest of food.

The rest of the day: She disappears outside to explore the neighbourhood. If she finds a frog, toad, lizard or small snake she will bring it back to boast. She just wants to play and show off, much like those fishermen who catch a fish then let it go after posing for a photo. We sneakily pick up her prizes and rescue them and let them go out the front door, well not the snake, that needed to be driven far enough a way that she wouldn't catch it again. 

Evenings: She comes inside, makes all of the necessary noises and sits by her food bowl and waits for the slave to supply the appropriate portion of expensive cat food. Then she's off to sleep on the end of the bed on her blanket until tomorrow comes and she can do it all over again.

You wouldn't think this cat cost so much and has travelled more than most cats travel in their nine life times.

That's our Tabitha, called that because she's no ordinary tabby.


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