The Grand Tale Of Spike The Fearless And His Spiky Foe

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 26, 2021

Here comes the tale of fright and sacrifice that lead to our family accidentally adopting a stray kitten.

It was the middle of the night, and all was quiet in the cul-de-sac of the family home. I was tucked up asleep in my room with our cat purring on my pillow, my sister was off in dreamland in her sleepout in the back garden, and my parents were happily away in snoozetown in their shared bed. The time was around 2:00 am when something startled my stepfather awake.

He tried to ignore it, but after about five minutes, it was clear that the piercing sound was not going to end. Even if it was only disturbing him, he had to find and put an end to the disturbance. He put on a dressing gown, fished out a flashlight, and slipped out the front door.

The small front yard revealed nothing but the innocent plants; there was nothing hiding under the cars outside the fence. He tiptoed around, poking the light everywhere, until the sound led him across the small road into a neighbour’s yard where he found a tiny kitten being attacked by a hedgehog!

The kitten, no bigger than a palm, was wailing its little lungs out and trying to escape the prickle-beast, which had at least 20% more body than it did. The hedgehog also had the young cat’s ear in its mouth and seemed very determined that this should continue.

Being the proud cat lover that my stepfather was, he indignantly chased the hedgehog off into the bushes and let the kitten calm down before backing off, figuring the mother cat would soon be along to protect her little jellybean. He was too small to be far from her. Confident, he headed back to bed.

Ten minutes later, the noise had started up again. Confused, my stepfather grabbed the bathrobe and the torch again and slipped back out of the house. Despite his best hopes, the mother had not come back to her defiant child, but the hedgehog had! It was once again attempting to make a meal out of the helpless but very noisy little soul. Once more, my stepfather chased away the hungry rodent and scooped up the little palmful of kitten. But what to do with this bean? He decided the safest course of action would be to spirit it over the roadway and into our front yard. Surely then the mother would deem it safe to come rescue her infant, and there’d be no way a hedgehog would find it again. He found a good spot to tuck the kitten where it would be safe and warm for the mother to find and returned to the comfort of his bed.

You’ll never guess what woke him up two hours later. On went the robe, out came the torch. He rushed into the front garden to find that the mother had not tracked the kitten over the road, but a certain prickly fiend had! Once more, the barbed beast was driven off, and the kitten was placed in a basket on our back porch, with no more noise for the rest of the night.

Come the morning, it was still there. No mother had come hunting for her child, so we took it upon ourselves to attempt to comfort the shrill little creature with a jaunty half-ear. As we attempted to get him to eat and find him a place where he would be welcomed, our local SPCA rounded up a white cat with a similarly-sized white kitten. Maybe the mother and a sibling, but we will never know.

The loud-mouthed little jellybean made himself at home with us, even if our current cat did not approve, hissing viciously before running away and hiding on something tall.

We called him Spike. One of us because he had the one ear, one of us because Spike Milligan had just passed away, and one of us because he was a saucy little devil who would much rather bite someone than eat the food he was begging for. He lived a good life and ended up weighing eight kg — about twice the normal weight for a cat. He was eternally loud and always loved waking my stepfather up at two in the morning with his piercing cries, even when he had a cat door.

It just goes to show, sometimes you do have to scream when something goes wrong.

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