The saga of Thug (The Purring Death) is drawing to a close. His real name is the arch-villain Drang, who usually works with his sister, Storm... Really, you couldn’t make this stuff up. Or if you did, no-one would believe it. So the arch-villain is a bit of hyperbole... but Thug is definitely Drang, and the sweet little tabby called Storm was very upset when her brother disappeared.
Drang lives about a third of a mile down the hill – how did we miss that? We thought we had canvassed the neighbourhood to find out if anyone was missing a cat, but that hit two practical problems.
Firstly, how do you describe a cat? It sounds easy, but you have to know your audience. If you are speaking to someone who doesn’t have cats, anything other than the word cat is lost, so asking have you seen a big ginger tom cat near your place translates as have you seen a cat... And the answer is no. Usually. With the cat-owned, you would think it would be simple, but that becomes a matter of perception and a surplus of contradictory detail.
Take Thug (or Thuggles to the support and service staff) as an example. We described him as a big, aggressive ginger tom, a lean-mean-violence machine who hates other cats. Even when talking to our neighbours, describing Thug made no mental connection with their affectionate, slightly chubby ginger tom who adores his sister.
Now, problem number two – geography. The first house I ever bought had a post-code that covered half the length of the street and probably contained fifty houses. I could walk from one end to the other in a minute and a half, maybe less. Out here in rural Cornwall, our post-code covers about twenty houses, spread along more than a mile of road. The house furthest from us might even be less than a mile away, as the crow flies, but you wouldn’t walk the direct route without stout boots, waders, perhaps a coil of rope, and a keen eye for a bull before crossing the fields. By road, it’s nearer a mile and a half.
Catching up with the neighbours for a quick chat does not happen every day.
During a recent visit down the road, we heard of the missing Drang... well, it could be Thug, maybe, can’t really tell. Even looking at photos took some serious staring... well, it might be Thug.
So, a few emailed photos went back and forth, different views, different angles... isn’t Storm cute. Thug certainly looked like Drang, and the neighbours were certain that Drang looked like Thug. We got him in a basket – not easy with such a large and energetic cat – and drove the suspect down the hill for a quick identity parade.
The neighbours took one look and positively identified Thug, who clearly saw that the game was up and confessed that yes, he was in fact the arch-villain Drang, and could he get another scratch behind the ears because those new people of his haven’t quite got the technique...
Drang, the monster recently known as Thug, is now re-united with his sister, and looked very contented on the sofa when we left. Our other cats have noticed, even if they don’t quite believe it yet. Ginge, who hasn’t dared come near the house for the last few weeks and had to be fed in the barn, appeared in the kitchen this morning. We all miss him... no, that’s not true... I miss him, even though I do appreciate getting a decent night’s sleep with him gone.
Thug has been returned home. Now we have to hope he stays there. And we can drop by for a cup of tea and say hi.