Once upon a time, when I was off in some far-flung land, The Parents arrived home one night in the torrential rain.
Nothing too unusual about that, you might suppose, since it is Always Bloody Raining in this country. However, it is a slightly rarer occurrence for someone (e.g. The Parents) to discover said torrential rain inside the house as well as outside.
Thanks to some poor planning on the part of whoever built this house, the yard slopes down towards the back door. Very occasionally, owing to a disastrous combination of very persistent rain and the drain becoming blocked at the most inconvenient of times, the water will just merrily flow down the back yard, under the door, and into the house. This doesn’t happen on a regular basis or anything, but it’s certainly an experience when it does. The only recollection I have of it happening was when I was very young, maybe 5 or so, and went to go down the step into the kitchen one morning to find that it was, in fact, ankle deep in water. It was all very exciting, although mum didn’t seem terribly amused.
Anyway. The Parents arrived home one day last year to discover that disaster had struck again. Poor mum had just had the new kitchen fitted, and there it was, all full of icky water. Dad pushed open the kitchen door to find himself paddling, as a pair of shoes floated past. He heard a terrified miaow, and saw, on the windowsill, poor Kat the Cat, who had no idea what was going on. She was sitting there, a small and furry Robinson Crusoe, watching with wide and frightened eyes as random household objects floated around below her on the previously dry kitchen floor.
A cat rescue operation was carried out, and the house restored to its previous dry and clean condition. There were lasting consequences. One of these is that both my mother and the cat are now scared when the rain comes on. Mum’s out checking the drains and the yard water levels every five minutes; Kat comes flying off the roof like a mad thing and racing down the yard with a wild look in her eyes as soon as the first heavy drops appear.
Which brings me to yesterday. It has rained, and rained, and rained here lately. It is depressing the hell out of me. Rain, rain, rain, it goes. Rain, rain, rain. Yesterday, it was particularly determined rain. RAIN, RAIN, RAIN, it went, thundering on the roofs and windows and bouncing off the ground. Kat the Cat appeared from nowhere as if by magic, paws hardly touching the ground as she sprinted into the porch and hid behind the door. But here’s the weird bit. When it’s raining heavily, she won’t lie in her basket – which isn’t at ground level, it sits on an ottoman. So it’s not like it got flooded previously and she thinks it’s going to happen again. And yet rain seems to put her off getting into her favourite snoozing spot.
So yesterday, I went out with my laptop to sit in the porch and absentmindedly lifted the cat from the only chair, placing her in her basket instead. That was the point at which all hell broke loose. The ridiculous creature was genuinely petrified – hair standing on end, legs outstretched, claws out, hissing, wriggling, the works. The second she touched the basket and all this happened (taking me somewhat by surprise, as you might imagine), she howled and practically fell backwards on to the floor in a scrambling flurry of legs and tail, in her madness to get away from the scary killer basket she’d been happily snoozing in a few hours earlier. She then proceeded to sit on the floor and stare up at it, ears back, eyes wide and frightened. She refused to get in until the rain stopped.
That cat has never been all there, mentally, but I fear that being terrified of her own bed when it’s raining outside is taking things a little bit further towards Seriously Disturbed than ever before…