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Cat Versus DIY

October 27th, 2010 by the_lifer

“Don’t let the cat out!” was Willow’s endless refrain during brunch at her house. “Cilla’s a house cat. It’s best for cats to be house cats in the city. She’s very gentle, she’s so sweet I’m afraid somebody would nick her. No, she can’t even go into the courtyard – Ruahine Street and all that traffic is right over there.”

So she’s quite horrified when, dashing back in to get her water bottle before the rally, she lets the cat out. When Willow shrieks in dismay, the cat promptly vanishes between two townhouses.

Now, while everyone else is at the rally, Willow is darting around Hataitai, trying to find the cat. Normally the shyest of neighbors, she is now barging through open gates and sticking her head over ornamental borders, saying “Excuse me…pardon me…have you seen a calico cat?” All the while, unintentionally, getting glimpses of how Wellingtonians spend a holiday day.

There is a family loading itself earnestly into a 4×4, armed with coolers and kickboards, just in case it warms up enough to go in the water at a beach. Another family is determinedly settling in for a backyard barbecue, offering Willow a sausage. A third group, more of a family by choice, leaps up and hides their ashtrays, blinking and blushing, to open their garage and see if maybe the cat is hiding in there. No cat emerges.

Willow feels her chest contract as she listens to the neighborhood roar of table saws, wood chippers, and water blasters, the sound of DIY, designed to terrify cats. Beyond that is the troubling sound of constant traffic. Oh, why hadn’t she put a collar and tag on Cilla, like Woodrow said they did in America?

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