Cat in Hell’s Chance


Editor's Picks
14 January 2022
Samantha Elmhirst has been rescuing cats since she was a child, but after seeing the plight of cats on a Greek island, she stepped up her quest as she explains in this True Cat Tale…

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who went around rescuing cats from the streets of North Finchley. Unbeknownst to her, these cats all came from loving homes and they had every intention of returning to their comfortable, happy abodes, if only they’d been allowed to. That was once they’d had their routine walk outside and seen what’s what and sniffed at who’d been where, as cats do. But if they happened to pass the little girl by when she was playing outside, beware! They could be scooped up, given a reassuring cuddle, and taken back to her house with the child’s cry of: “Mummy look! I’ve found a lost cat!” ringing in their delicate fluffy ears. 

Once they’d been fully inspected by a grown-up and found to be wearing a collar and name tag, off mother and daughter would troop taking the poor, and by now rather bemused, little cat back to its home. This was only ever a few houses down the road but to the child it seemed like a very long walk (she only had little legs as she was only seven) so it always felt good reuniting the ‘lost’ cat with its owner. Despite having cats of her own at home, her heart felt big enough to try to take care of all cats. She didn’t like to think of them being lost, lonely, or homeless. 

When she was older — and being an entrepreneurial sort of kid — the Christmas holidays were spent carol singing with her friends and school summer holidays looking after neighbours’ pets when they went on holiday. Every penny earned doing these things she sent to animal charities.

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Well, I was that little girl and I’m recalling the events of over forty years ago. My love for animals, especially cats, has never waned. The years since then have been filled with a career in veterinary illustration, publishing my first novel, and having a houseful of cats — present number being three and three-quarters, but I’ll explain the mathematics of that later.

Read the rest of the feature in the February 2022 issue. Buy the latest digital edition and read instantly on your computer, mobile or tablet device.

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