Susan Morrison: In Leith, everyone can hear you scream at the cat

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An episode of The Twilight Zone has haunted me ever since I was a child. A lone driver, late at night on a desolate road, looks into his rear view mirror. There, right behind him, rising from the back seat, is a terrifying alien, reaching acid-dribbling claws towards his neck.

Last Tuesday morning, that was me, that was. It wasn’t actually on a desolate road. It was Great Junction Street, which to be fair, does have its desolate moments. On the plus side, it’s a great place to scream like a banshee without attracting undue attention.

What we need here is a Twilight Zone montage of going back in time. Cue swirly effects and tinkly music . . .

Our old cat has been displaying some disturbing behaviour. He’s been girning in a cat sort of a way and, without going into grim detail, spending a lot of time in his litter tray.

Actually come to think of it, there is no grim detail, since that was the very problem. Despite a great deal of time and effort, there was no detail at all to speak of. All was not well. He’s of an age where I hit the worry button about everything. A panicked phone call later and the vet nurse booked us in pronto.

Of course, the first problem is to get the cat in the box. Any attempt to get him into a cat box and this old fella turns into a four-legged buzzsaw, capable of taking skin off anything within a 2ft radius, which might not sound like much, but just how far do you think your face is from your hand? Exactly.

The husband, who was not at home, had safely put the cat box away, which means we can’t find the cat box, which means yet more pandemonium until we remember there is another cat box, well, it’s a bag really, with a sort of zip arrangement to close it.

The cat was in the bag and safely stowed on the back seat. To the vet.

In space, no-one can hear you scream. In Leith, everybody can hear you scream, but once it is ascertained that it is a woman shrieking like a loon because there is a cat sitting on the parcel shelf, eyebrows are barely raised.

It was like that bit in Aliens, when the alien has infested the rescue craft, and the pilot finds the sticky goo everywhere and the alien lunges and the next thing you know there is gunk and gore all over the shop. OK, I’m overstating slightly, but you get the gist.

In the rear view mirror I could see a seriously miffed moggy who did not take kindly to being bundled into a glorified carrier bag. He was hellbent on seeking vengeance, which he did by springing with remarkable dexterity for a lad of his age and attaching himself to my shoulder.

Safely parallel parking a car with one hand whilst holding down the furry fury of an outraged cat with the other is the sort of skill they should teach at driving school.

Got a sore throat? It’s time to suit up..

The call to the vet was at 8.55 in the morning, and by 9.15 the vet was doing something with a gloved digit that the cat was seriously not pleased about. Let’s be honest, this is not a good cat day.

Our NHS surgery down here in darkest Leith is pretty good with its appointments, but I’ve heard tales of people waiting for days to see a GP, which makes me wonder if we shouldn’t all just register with a vet.

Pull on a panda suit and there’s a fair chance you’ll get away with it, if all you’re looking for is some help with a frozen shoulder or a sore throat. It’s probably not a good idea if you’re looking for help with something more intimate, and certainly not conception.

n In tandem with my super record time appointment at the lovely vets, I also, and quite rightly, got smacked with a bill in super record time for a tidy sum, to reflect the cost of the very good care he had received.

Imagine being asked for your credit card every time you went to the doctor. What doughballs would think that’s a good idea? Oh, hang on . . .

It might creak on occasion, but let’s hear it for the NHS.


It’s the last time I’m going to mention it this year, but this weekend it’s Previously . . .

Scotland’s History Festival and it would be just great if you came along! Check out our website for some great food for your brain. On Friday evening you can catch Professor Sir Tom Devine in conversation with Kevin Mckenna at The Stand Comedy Club, or drop by our “home” at 28 York Place to find out more about ghosts, castles and William Wallace.