Cat-astrophe avoided: Milky Bar gets his mojo back

It’s Christmas Eve afternoon. We’re sitting in the garden room, listening to music and watching the midwinter sun die slowly in the western sky. Overhead, gangs of starlings flock back to their roost, chattering noisily to one another as they pass. Then, to our right, a familiar clatter. It can mean only one thing: our good friend Milky Bar, the visiting cat who calls our garden home, has leapt onto the rickety fence that separates our property from Jim’s.

The injured party: Milky Bar

Yes, there he is. But something’s wrong. Normally the fence panels, although barely a couple of centimetres wide, are no challenge to a young, athletic cat blessed with a fine sense of balance. Today, however, he’s struggling, jerkily swaying to the left and then to the right, like a drunken tightrope walker in a tornado. Indignity – and possibly serious injury – seems just seconds away.

But when we look more closely we realise he’s already injured. Milky Bar’s standing on three legs, holding his right front paw clear of the fence. It looks badly swollen, and we can tell by his demeanour that he’s in a lot of pain.

Maybe he’s broken a bone in a freak accident? Perhaps he’s ripped out a claw fighting with a cat that dared invade his territory? Or has an infection set in, sending poison coursing through his frail little body? This look serious.

For several minutes Milky Bar maintains a precarious balance on the fence, before finally taking a leap of faith into our garden. As he lands a shockwave runs through his whole body, and he immediately snatches his damaged paw back into the air. He just stands there looking stunned and dishevelled, apparently unable to take another step. The boisterous, confident cat we know and love is gone, and he looks so fragile that a gentle puff of wind could topple him.

Normally the fence panels, although barely a couple of centimetres wide, are no challenge to a young, athletic cat blessed with a fine sense of balance

We discuss what to do. If we knew where he lives we’d go fetch one of his family, but Milky Bar’s domestic arrangements have always been a mystery to us. We agree that if he doesn’t move on after a few minutes we’ll bring him into the house, keep him warm and give him some food. We’ll even try to track down an emergency vet, though on Christmas Eve in the middle of a pandemic that could be tricky.

Finally, after an agonising wait for all parties, Milky Bar gathers himself and hobbles off slowly towards the area of the estate where we suspect his family lives. He looks so sad, so crushed, and we fear that we may never see him again.

* * *

We spend a restless night, haunted by the prospect of losing another “borrowed” cat. It happened once before when Sid disappeared suddenly and without trace, and we can’t bear the thought of history repeating itself.

To reward his bravery we offer Milky Bar some cold roast turkey, and he’s pleased to tuck in

Christmas Day dawns and we work our way through the familiar routine: opening presents, phoning family, whacking a turkey the size of a small ostrich into the oven. It’s business as usual, but our spirits are subdued as we worry about Milky Bar’s fate. We scan the garden every few minutes, but he’s nowhere to be seen. We fear the worst.

And then, when we’ve all but convinced ourselves that he’s not coming back, Milky Bar appears. He’s limping badly and his paw is still swollen, but at least he’s made it through the night and must be feeling a bit better to venture away from home. A couple of minutes later he leaves, but we reassure ourselves that he’s on the mend.

We don’t see him again for the next couple of days, and our anxieties start to return. In particular we worry that infection has taken hold, perhaps because his family were unable to find a vet to give him some urgently needed antibiotics during the festive holiday. But still we check the garden regularly, hoping for good news.

“Please don’t disturb me while I’m eating my lunch”

And finally, at last, our borrowed cat re-appears, cheekily peering up at us through the kitchen window. We can tell immediately that he’s feeling much better. The sparkle’s returned to his eyes, and he’s moving more freely.

To reward his courage we offer our brave little soldier some cold roast turkey, tossing it onto the patio in front of him. Milky Bar’s on it in a flash, tucking in greedily and looking cuter than ever. Clearly, this moggie’s got his mojo back.

Then, to round off a perfect day, Milky Bar’s pal Malteser also puts in an appearance. Never one to turn down food, he wolfs down some turkey too.

Milky Bar’s pal Malteser also wolfs down some turkey

Having filled their faces, the two cats swagger off in search of their next adventure. But hopefully this time Milky Bar will take a little more care. It’s been an anxious few days, and we could do without a repeat performance any time soon.

* * *

Postscript – do you want to know more about Milky Bar and Malteser? Follow the links below for earlier posts featuring the feline superstars

14 comments

  1. thelongview · January 13

    Hurrah for Milky Bar!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. krikitarts · January 15

    Any further updates on Milky Bar’s condition? Since he’s obviously an outdoor cat, my first thoughts would be cat-fight injury with resulting abscess or physical trauma from an unfortunately-executed jump. But I know well what a challenge it can be to try to get a close examination of a stray, so I hope that he continues to do well. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for black-and whites.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Platypus Man · January 15

      He called yesterday evening, and seems back to his usual self. He’s moving as normal, and putting full weight on the injured paw. No sign of any swelling. His body language was that of a healthy cat, and his coat is in good condition. He sat around for a while, had a long drink from the pond, then sauntered off to who-knows-where. Panic over, thankfully. He’s a beautiful cat and his visits always lift our spirits.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. TravelwithJun · January 16

    Glad Milky Bar recovered! He is a beautiful cat, and the pictures look great too. I have two indoor sister cats. Oreo is a white-black cat. Calie is a calico cat. Oreo is just my baby, following me all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 16

      He’s a handsome boy, and very entertaining. Your cats sound great too, and with them being indoor cats I imagine there’s less chance of getting the sort of injury that hurt poor Milky Bar. Maybe one day you can do a blog post about them; Oreo sounds very cute.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TravelwithJun · January 16

        Thank you. That is very good idea. I have too much too say about them😜

        Liked by 1 person

  4. T Ibara Photo · January 17

    Oh, dear Milky Bar. What a cat you are! Your human family has been so worried for you. I’m really doing to have to find a way to send you some sushi πŸ™‚

    Hello Mr P. I have been so late in catching up with my favorite blogs. I do hope you, Mrs P and all your dear ones are staying safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 17

      Konnichiwa Takami-san, Milky Bar desu. Old Man Platypus looked really worried when I was ill. He kept comin’ into the garden an’ talkin’ softly to me, told me he’d take care of me. Also, he buys me some special treats wot he calls “pillows,” small crunchy cookies flavoured with salmon and made just for cute cats like me. I think he’s probably quite a kind and carin’ man, but I’m keepin’ that a secret…we don’t want him gettin’ big-headed. PS My paw still aches a bit when the weather’s cold. Sushi would really help my recovery; about 10 kilograms would do nicely 😺😺😺.

      AND NOW A MESSAGE FROM Mr P: Hi Takami. At last Milky Bar’s gone home, so I can get back to the laptop!!! Mrs P and I are safe and well, thank you. Over the last 10 days three friends / family members aged 80+ have been vaccinated against Covid. I will be at least a couple of months before we have our vaccinations, but it’s good to know that progress is being made. Soon, hopefully, things will start to improve in the UK, Japan and across the world.

      I hope you, your husband and your loved ones are also staying safe and well. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      • T Ibara Photo · January 19

        Hello Mr. P,
        That’s a real relief to hear that you and Mrs P are safe, and that you have had some friends and family members successfully received their vaccinations that’s good news indeed. As you say, it is a ray of hope that progress is being made one step at a time. I too, hope that things will start to improve across the world, and of course in our countries.

        Hello dear Milky Bar,
        I am so happy to know Mr P is treating you well. Okay, I won’t tell him your secret πŸ˜‰ And I will see what I can do about that sushi! But first, do take care and try to stay out of trouble!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. magarisa · January 18

    So glad Milky Bar is doing alright. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 19

      Me too! He spent a long time in the garden yesterday, snoozing under a bush, drinking from the pond, eyeing up the birds as they flew overhead and staring at the kitchen window in hope of receiving an edible treat (I relented, of course!) Milky Bar’s definitely back to his old ways, and is as cheeky and as handsome as ever!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie Graves · February 2

    What a happy ending! Did my heart good to read this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 3

      Thank you. Milky Bar remains in good health. Just a couple of days ago he was going wild trying to catch snowflakes! He’s a crazy cat, but very, very loveable!

      Liked by 1 person

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