LUCIFER THE BOSS CAT
I have recently received a number of emails from readers telling me how much they enjoy my stories about pets and animals. So in response to popular demand here is another such story taken from my book ‘Animals Make You Feel Better’ which is available at all local libraries.
Elizabeth St George is very fond of cats – she once had twelve of them. They were, she says, under the control of a big black tom cat called Lucifer. He was so intelligent that he knew how to switch on the electric blanket in Elizabeth’s bedroom. He could then snuggle down in the covers and sleep. Even so, some of his talents surprised her.
Lucifer had a great dislike of car travel. Since he was such a beautiful cat, Elizabeth often entered him into cat shows. Less often did she arrive at these with Lucifer. He somehow knew that car travel was planned and disappeared through the cat-flap on the front door before she could catch him.
To keep him inside, Elizabeth decided to block off the cat-flap the evening before one particular cat show. She placed a huge five-gallon drum of disinfectant in front of the cat-flap, totally blocking it.
The next morning, the barrel barricade had been pushed aside and Lucifer was gone.
Certainly Lucifer on his own could not have shifted the barricade. The drum must have weighed ten kilos or more. The only way that barricade could have been moved was by the cats acting together as a team.
Elizabeth knew that Lucifer was in charge; she had seen him leading the others on a fridge raid. Some fridge doors can be opened by cats, if they are not too tight. Food kept going missing and the cats were looking plump, especially Lucifer. So Elizabeth decided to take precautions when she bought some steak for her Sunday lunch. On Saturday night she shut it into her oven, which had a very heavy door.
The next morning when Elizabeth opened the oven door, she was absolutely startled to find the plate that had held the steak empty. It would certainly have taken a gang of cats to open that heavy door, and the steak was far more than even a big tom like Lucifer could have eaten. The cats must have worked together as a team in both opening the oven and eating the contents. But imagine the cats being crafty enough to shut the door again!
It is generally believed that cats do not hunt in packs. However, Elizabeth believes that with Lucifer, the boss cat, in charge, her other pets obeyed his telepathic instructions. He seemed able to control them by the psychic power of his mind.
Very early one spring morning, just as dawn was breaking, Elizabeth’s son was returning home. As he walked down the long pathway leading to the front door, he saw twelve cats in a pack hunting by the side of the trees. At the front was Lucifer. His eyes were blazing like green fire as he led his troop of cats in a search for wild, fresh food.
The girl who could not read
In Woodfield Avenue, west London, directly opposite Lucifer’s home, there lived a girl called Anne who was having trouble with her lessons at school. At eight, she could not read or write, no matter how hard she tried. The teachers had told her parents that she was educationally subnormal and would probably never be able to read or write. They sent Anne to a special school, away from all her friends.
Anne had cried and cried when her mother explained what had to happen to her. She didn’t want to leave the school where all her pals from down her street went. She couldn’t understand why they wanted to send her away. It seemed a punishment, and she knew she had done her best.
Then one afternoon as she walked sadly home from her special school, Lucifer the cat fell into step beside Anne. He followed her all the way home and into her house. As she ate her meal, Lucifer sat and watched. Anne liked the cat and fed him a few tidbits from her plate. Afterwards, when she went upstairs to start the heartbreakingly impossible homework, he followed.
That evening Lucifer watched as little Anne struggled with the funny symbols that she knew were words, though she could not read them. Then a strange thing happened: this night she could see a word and it seemed to make sense. It was just a simple word next to a picture. ‘Apple’ she said out loud to Lucifer, and the cat seemed to smile. ‘Apple’ she said again, with growing conviction. ‘Apple.’ Hearing this, Sally, Anne’s mother, ran upstairs. She could hardly believe it – Anne was reading! For the first time in her life she had read a word.
From that day on Lucifer would meet Anne on her way home from her special school and, after a few morsels from her meal, he would follow her upstairs and sit by her side as she did her homework.
Days turned into weeks, weeks to months, and Anne gradually learned to read and write. Each night she would sit with the cat at her side and read her lessons aloud. Lucifer listened and the little girl got more and more confident. The schoolteachers were amazed at her achievement. She could no longer be thought of as a subnormal child, she was just Anne. It was all she had ever wanted, to be normal like everyone else.
For almost ten years Anne shared the love and friendship of Lucifer. Elizabeth St George told me that both Anne and her mother Sally are quite certain that it was the cat that helped save Anne from failure. Somehow the tom cat had given her just what she needed: an uncomplaining, uncritical ear. He had listened patiently night after night as the little girl had struggled with her words.
Anne will never forget him. Today she has just passed her driving test first time and is well on her way in the world. But for Lucifer, Anne is sure this could never have happened.
A cat fit for a goddess
Lucifer’s long life – he lived to be twenty-three – came slowly to an end. He had been a noble creature and Elizabeth loved him to the last. As she laid his weary body to rest in the shade of her garden, she remembered his goodness. Lowering him into his tiny grave, beneath a statue of Bast the cat goddess, just as she had always promised him, Elizabeth said a little prayer for his soul.
As she whispered the last words, the final rays of the evening sun filtered through the trees, bathing the entire garden in a golden glow. She looked up and saw the most wondrous sight: a proud black cat glistening in the fast-fading sunbeams. The cat was standing on its hind legs, just like a human. She swears it was the spirit of Lucifer; she knows because she heard the ghost speak, thanking her for keeping the promise she had made, to bury his body in the shadow of Bast, the Egyptian goddess.