My shy, tiny cat's first adventure in 11 years reduced me to tears – Hayley Matthews

I'm supposed to be writing my column whilst the boys have their tea and Mr Hayley keeps them fairly quiet.

Saturday, 18th September 2021, 4:55 am
Hayley Matthews' cat Maxi had not gone out at night in 11 years until recently

However, I'm sat on the bed having a few minutes. I'm savouring the quiet in the bedroom, and so are the cats. Ellie's flaked out on the pillow like she's had a hard shift down at the Queen Vic, Thomas is rolling about the bed like he's eaten too much at Br Basri's £6.99 all-you-can-eat buffet and Maxi, well the look of relief on his face is clear for anyone to see.

He looks relieved to be home after a gallivant last night. Mr Hayley had mentioned how little Maxi (who's genuinely scared of his own shadow) had snuck out when he was barbecuing burgers. Just to be clear – Mr Hayley was cooking burgers, Maxi wasn't cooking burgers. He far prefers a king prawn skewer.

Anyway, I was distraught! Maxi is 11, smaller than a mouse and incredibly shy – and he was ‘out out’… 9pm came, midnight came, 2am came and nothing. There I was stood in the garden at 4am making kissing noises and whispering Maxi's name so I didn't wake anyone up.

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In all his years so far, he's never been out out, he's always been tucked up in bed by 7.30pm with a bowl of ovaltine. But not last night, the lure of the Restalrig nightlife had gotten to much for him, he'd jumped the wall and was off on a jolly.

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When there was no sign of him by mid-morning the next day, I started googling “do foxes eat cats” even though I’ve seen my cats chase the foxes away. My head was racing. I messaged all my neighbours but still, nothing.

I was quite dramatic towards Mr Hayley, telling him how he shouldn't have been barbecuing at night, moaning that he never shuts the back door behind him and how I was about to suggest getting a Chinese instead of a barbecue and wished I had because then Maxi would be home and blaaah – I burst in to tears.

As I sat on the bed feeling sorry for myself my phone suddenly rang. It was my lovely neighbours, Karen and Lindsey. The signal wasn't great and I could only make out a few words: “Maxi's hiding in our garage.”

I ran out the flat heading to their door, bursting through their garage there he was. His huge chocolate button eyes were wide open peering out as he sat curled on top of a big bag of compost.

Lindsey obviously eats his carrots because his eyesight is phenomenal. He'd spotted little black fluffy Maxi in the dark – incredible! We all stood in the garden joking about how Maxi might have smelt Joey (our other cat who moved in with Karen and Lindsey peak lockdown).

Maybe Joey's been bragging about the quiet life in his five-star bachelor pad with live-in help aka Karen and Lindsey.

Maybe word got out about their soft plush bouncy carpets, amazing central heating as well as the tranquility, peace and quiet.

I mean, who wouldn't want to move in with Karen and Lindsey? I'm not sure what happened.

However, I am relieved beyond belief that Maxi is all cosied up beside me. I'm wondering if I crept in through Karen and Lindsey's garage and settled down on their sofa in my jammies if I could go over for half an hour’s peace and quiet and a cup of tea too one night.

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