Miss Lemon’s Cat
Miss Lemon was in a pickle about her beautiful tabby, Mischief. For the past three months, Mischief had been a bit of a trial. To Miss Lemon’s untrained eye, Mischief seemed to be in a permanent state of agitation – clawing at the cushion covers, chewing the antimacassars, even spending long hours hiding behind the pelmet. In desperation, Miss Lemon turned to the Thompson Local and found the number of Positive Outcomes Cattery & Kennels Society (POCKS). The relief was instantaneous. Yes, they had a bed available for Mischief. At competitive rates starting from £3500 per week. And they would start an immediate programme of assessment, which in turn would lead, to a behaviour plan that would reintegrate Mischief back into the community at Laburnum Lane. So off he went.
Nothing could have prepared Miss Lemon for that dreadful day, 7 months later when she arrived at the cattery, with a fresh supply of seven field mice, which she’d harvested that day from the local disused quarry. She was met by a member of the POCKs senior management team who broke the news that Mischief had passed away earlier that morning. The CEO, Ms Pursestrings, went to great lengths to reassure Miss Lemon that it had been natural causes and that the sudden disintegration of his skull was quite common for cats of his age.
Feeling wobbly on her feet, Miss Lemon sat on a bench in the car park before her return journey home. A man was sitting next to her, eating a boiled egg bap. Noticing her tears, the kind man asked if he could be of any help. Quite by chance, the gentleman happened to be an employee of the Cat Quality Commission and he listened empathically to the tale of Mischief’s demise. “I smell a rat” he said, which jolted Miss Lemon as she realised that she still had the seven mice in her handbag, but Mr Candour was talking about an altogether different rat. He announced himself and reassured Miss Lemon that he would be looking into the matter forthwith.
Within a week, his extensive 260 page report was complete. He had investigated all 48 of POCKs’ services and discovered that between 2011 and 2014, there had been 309 deaths. Only two had been reported to the inspectorate. The report found failings at every level of the organisation and was particularly critical of its leadership and quality systems.
The following day, the matter was all over the National Press, front page lead story in 6 of the main newspapers. All the main news channels picked up on the story and soon the story was being seen as one of the biggest national scandals this country has faced in many a long year. The Prime Minister answered questions in the House and promised immediate action. Mencat & the Challenging Dog Foundation issued a joint statement calling for the shutdown of all assessment catteries. Bono and Tinchy Stryder organised a concert for the victims of this outrage. By the end of the month, the entire board of POCKs were charged with corporate cat/dog slaughter. To sum up the mood of the nation, the Queen delivered a live broadcast, praising all those that had acted so decisively and commenting profoundly that our nation had turned a corner in the way it deals with our vulnerable animals.
The evening of the Royal broadcast, Miss Lemon collected a fish supper . Although still grieving, she was proud of the part she had played in exposing this scandal and bringing about such a sea change in public comprehension into the plight of the nation’s most vulnerable pets. Removing her cod from a page of the Newport Pagnellshire weekly Bugle, she noticed an item on page 23, under a piece about local chiropody services. It was the story of a young man with autism who had died that week in a specialist unit – the 309th death in the last four years.
“Small world” thought Miss Lemon, as she tucked into her meal, “Perhaps Cats are more human than learning disabled people”.
From → Social Care