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About A Week: Lucky

Peter Hinchliffe writes about a stray cat called Lucky.

A nervous black cat came slinking into our yard. A stray cat, desperate for food but ready to run at the first hint of hostility.

Jean, our neighbour, immediately took pity on the creature. A nourishing cat’s dinner was placed outside her kitchen door.

The black cat ate quickly, as though the meal might be snatched away before it could be finished.

More meals were provided. A daily breakfast and dinner. The black cat began to make itself at home, content to bask in our garden between meals.

With growing confidence the cat began to explore the neighbourhood. It went out of our garden, out of the yard and across the lane to explore the field beyond.

While re-crossing the lane to return to its adopted home the cat was hit by a car.

The stricken creature scuttled away before anyone could see how badly it had been injured. It was not seen again that day, or the next, or the day after that.

Search parties checked the neighbourhood. Eventually my wife found it in a disused greenhouse. There were no obvious injuries.

Day by day, bit by bit, Jean and my wife have restored the cat’s sense of security. Jean sets out two gourmet meals every day. And before each of those meals the cat comes to our door for an appetiser - a Bob Martin conditioning tablet.

Now its black coat gleams, and it has a new name.

Lucky.

Well, what else could we call it?

I suppose we could have followed the herd and called it Charlie. A recent survey carried out by a firm which insures pets revealed that the most popular name for British cats is Charlie.

The other names in order of popularity in the cats’ Top Ten are Tigger, Oscar, Lucy, Scot, Thomas, Poppy, Sophie, Smudge and Molly.

One cat owner with numerous pets named them after the entire Arsenal team.

The top ten names for dogs by the way are Ben, Sam, Max, Toby, Holly, Charlie, Lucy, Barney, Bonnie and Sophie.

A quick check on the Net brought thousands of suggestions for cat names, some of them very strange.

Abraxas, Abubu, Adakin Skywalker, Al Capone, Alakazam, Ali Kat, Ambiguity, Ambush, Anthrax, Apocalypse, Arfur, Arpeggio, Aspirin, Attacker…

Can you imagine going to the kitchen door and shouting “Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Come on Anthrax.’’

Just the thing to make you popular with the neighbours.

And what of those overlaps in the popularity lists of dogs and cats names. Suppose you have a Siamese cat called Charlie and your neighbour has an Alsatian called Charlie.

Therein lie the ingredients of a situation which one day could set the fur to flying.

Perhaps some originality is called for in the naming of pets. Not that I practised what I am now preaching. The last pet cat we had was called Sam.

If I had a dog I think I’d call her Bessie. Bess for short.

Yes, I like the sound of that. Now all I need is a Border Collie to go with the name.

Lucky the former stray now gives every appearance of being a happy and contented cat. His black coat is regularly brushed. And believe me, he enjoys his food!

Regrettably he does not seem to have learned the obvious lesson. He still goes wandering across the lane, lured by the attractions of the field beyond.

The other day he was seen to be snoozing on the white line in the middle of the lane.

I hope we don’t end up remembering Lucky as Unlucky.

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