Who needs doctors when your feline friends are on hand to take care of you; to wash your face; to entertain you and stay by your side! Read on - this story is in four parts so keep reading!

Flu! I recognized the symptoms so I hurried home from work as quickly as my aching limbs would allow me. The grey November sky added to the misery of how I felt and I looked forward to putting the gas fire on full blast, getting my trusty old duvet and snuggling under it on the sofa. I would spend my final moments on this earth languishing with my three feline companions, brothers Garfield and Biggles who were seven years old and new kitten, Charlie, who at only 8 weeks old was already a comedian in the making.

Garfield and Biggles were surprised to see me home this early and Garfield checked the clock on the mantelpiece and saw that I was home several hours sooner than normal. He whispered to Biggles: 'she's not well' and Biggles nodded in agreement. Charlie, being a kitten, was practicing his stand-up comedy routines and was oblivious to their concerns as he had only been living with us for precisely one week before flu struck.

I arranged a pillow and the duvet on the sofa while the kettle was put on to boil. Charlie was playing with the potatoes in the bottom row of the vegetable rack in the kitchen. He had hooked out all the potatoes and was arranging them according to size. As I bent down to put them back, he asked a very small apologetic potato who was still in the rack if it would like to come out to play. The potato shrugged its shoulders. It had never been asked out to play before.

Charlie flipped it over the rim of the vegetable rack and the two played football, racing out of the kitchen, around the legs of the dining chairs until Charlie hit a spectacular goal - straight under the Welsh dresser.

Charlie squealed. He had lost Spud, his only friend. Spud wasn't too pleased to be lost under the Welsh dresser with a shiny silvery round thing looking at him. He missed his tribe from the vegetable rack and rued the moment of weakness when he agreed to be liberated from the only life he had ever known.

Help was at hand when all the crockery on the bottom shelf had been removed and the hardboard base was lifted up, revealing Spud cowering in a corner. Garfield had come to help with the rescue and spotted his silver ball. He picked it up in his mouth and took it into the front room where after a general wash and brush up, it was as good as new.

Charlie hovered for news of Spud, and was relieved when he was handed to him seemingly none the worst for his ordeal after being headed into the dark depths of a Welsh dresser's under bits at 100 miles an hour. Charlie solicitously patted Spud to see if he was all right. Spud shrugged nonchalantly and said he'd be all right after a rest for an hour or two. Charlie carried his friend to the rug in front of the fire. First he gave Spud a wash and tidy-up and then he had a quick lick and a promise. He made himself comfortable and with a protective paw around Spud's shoulders, they went to sleep, Spud still shaking after his nightmarish journey.

Meanwhile, the kettle had boiled and I made a hot lemon drink after replacing the contents of the bottom shelf of the dresser, and the potatoes were all safely back within the confines of the vegetable rack. I took my drink into the front room which was now quite warm and climbed under the duvet, looking at Garfield asleep on the rug with his silver ball close by and Charlie and Spud curled up together asleep. Only Biggles had settled on top of the duvet in readiness for a long siesta with the woman he loved.

I drank my drink and then let sleep overtake me. Garfield woke up and looked over towards me. He sprang into action. Putting a comforting paw on my forehead, he hummed and hahhed for a few moments, concerned that my temperature was 103. He began his own tried and tested flu remedy. He licked my forehead until my summer tan had disappeared then began on my eyebrows. When both eyebrows were going in the wrong direction he looked at his paw-work with pride. 'Not much more I can do here,' he implied with that knowing look that cats paint on their faces.

Click here for chapter 2


A Cats Purr

"Cats make one of the most satisfying sounds in the world: they purr ...

A purring cat is a form of high praise, like a gold star on a test paper. It is reinforcement of something we would all like to believe about ourselves - that we are nice."

Roger A Caras

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