Bin diverI have always worked in the hospitality trade. I had two cafes and a restaurant, side by side which I was responsible for. I was front of house. Meet and greet was my speciality. I made sure guests were happy, entertained and sampling the food was my main priority.

I ensured that I turned up each evening, on time. Whiskers polished, black pelt glossy. I took pride in my appearance as I sashayed from table to table, tail hoisted in friendly mode, begging for scraps. I was quite the professional. I was the consummate charmer. 

I never went hungry!

As a kitten, I had been a bin diver, but the resident humans around here were rather posh. Tins, jars, and bottles were washed out before being put in the recycle bins.  Food was never wasted. Bin diving wasn’t really a successful career path.

That’s how I ended up in the cafes, winding myself round the tourists’ suntanned legs, mewing cutely for scraps. I earned a very good living. Then suddenly whooomfffff, everything closed down; humans were no longer on the streets. Oh, I sat outside the shuttered premises for a few days, waiting for someone to show up, but the town was deserted. It started to snow. I was cold. I got the hint.

I had to survive. I had to diversify. Otherwise I’d had my chips in this weird new world with no humans and nothing open. Occasionally you’d see one or two humans out, walking quickly somewhere, but once winter came and the snow started to fall, they just holed up and stuck the winter out snuggled up in front of log fires.

So with heavy heart I went back to bin diving, but without much hope. But wow! How things had changed. The humans, not venturing far from their homes were having their food delivered, mainly on noisy little mopeds. After they had feasted, the cardboard boxes were put in one recycle bin and the excess food into another. This was a lifesaver for me in this new silent closed world.

Pizza, chicken, burgers, kebabs, you name it, each night a veritable buffet of excess, as unwanted food was slung into bins just begging for a smart cat like myself to slither on top of, then delicately hook out what delectable treat I fancied. I became quite the fast-food furry gourmet. I could walk past any bin, and a quick sniff of the air told me what was in there, and how fresh it was. Sometimes it was still warm, a little treat on cold nights when the icy pavements were chilling my paw pads!

Christmas time was a feast! A lot of food around a turkey theme ended up in the bins. Turkey burgers, buns, sausages wrapped in bacon, sandwiches, all sorts. I absolutely feasted for days on what ended up in bins! Cream trifles, cream cakes, custard, the lot. Party food, finger food and nibbles. Don’t get me started on those calorie loaded treats! I looked like I was expecting a brood of kittens any day soon, my tummy was so bloated!

I survived, thanks to the humans’ takeaway and throwaway new way of life. In fact I managed to feed myself for months, especially those awful winter months, while everything was locked up.

Then one morning, my ship came in. Literally! I was sitting on the dock when a ship full of humans appeared on the horizon, followed by another. The shutters of the cafe and restaurant were thrown open, and things started to get back to normal, albeit slowly. There were less tables. Humans were distanced from each other, and their faces were covered in material.

The menu also had been cut back, but that’s fine. I have my bin diving skills to fall back on, and sometimes after feasting all week in the cafes and restaurants, a bit of bin takeaway means I now have a more varied diet!

Carol Lake




In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson