THE CURSE OF TOOTY
In societies around the world there are beliefs that cats are creatures connected to the supernatural. It is said that The Lancashire Witch Old Mother Demdike had a cat that she used to help her communicate with the foul fiend we call The Devil. This strange story of a psychic pet is all about a strange black cat that had mystical authority.
In the leafy suburbs of Woodford Green in the county of Essex, there lives a black tom cat called Tooty. His owners Andy and Penny Boot told me of their pet’s amazing psychic powers. The story starts in 1980 when Tooty first came to live with Andy and his wife Penny. They had a home in Leytonstone then and were both struggling to earn a living as writers, always a difficult task.
Stroke a cat, make a wish
In November that year, the atmosphere in the Boots’ home was desperate. There were more bills than money and Andy wondered how he would find the cash to buy food. Penny was fed up with being skint and Andy was close to despair.
Over a late-night cup of tea, Andy picked up Tooty, petted him and told him his troubles. Stroking the cat’s deep-black fur, he looked into Tooty’s mysterious green eyes and whispered, ‘Help us, Tooty! We’re stony-broke.’
As he gently rubbed the little cat’s back, Tooty suddenly bristled. His eyes were shining like two lumps of bright-green jade. Andy wondered what the little creature was thinking.
Two days later a cheque for many hundreds of pounds arrived in the post. It was payment for the Japanese rights to a book Andy had written years before and almost forgotten about.
Tooty the cat-finder
One day the Boots’ other cat, a tabby tom called Spangle, went for a walk and failed to return. After thirty-six hours he was still missing and they were worried. Then Penny had an idea. She picked up Tooty and said to him, ‘Go find Spangle.’
For a second Tooty stiffened in her arms and his eyes flashed brilliant green. He jumped down from Penny’s knee and ran out the door.
It was almost midnight when Penny heard the bedroom door squeak open. There in the doorway stood Tooty. He strolled in and curled up at the bottom of the bed, in his usual place.
Two minutes later, in walked Spangle. Tooty had been out, found him and brought him back.
Nellie the bully
Tooty also has a darker side to his psychic powers. If anyone hurts him or his friends, Tooty takes action. Quite how he does this is beyond explanation; certainly Penny and Andy don’t know. But they have seen the curse of Tooty working. It is bad news for those who cross his path, be they animal or human.
The first time they witnessed this was in 1990 when Nellie joined the Boot family. She was a huge black and white female cat, twice the size of Tooty. Nellie was a big bully of a cat. She would walk up to wherever Tooty was sitting and push him out of the way. If he didn’t move, Nellie used to lie down on top of him, crushing the poor little creature.
One morning Andy saw Nellie on top of Tooty and went to pull her off. The black tom cat was half dead and had difficulty breathing. As Andy stroked him, he gasped for breath. Then he grew tense, all his fur stiffened and he looked straight at Nellie with green fire in his eyes.
As soon as Nellie saw the look on Tooty’s face, she ran out of the house with her tail in the air. From that day to this no one has seen Nellie: she just disappeared.
Jasper the molester
Next, the Boot family decided to buy a dog. They got a big friendly hound they called Jasper. Now Jasper took quite a liking to Tooty – too much so. He would creep up behind the black tom cat and his intentions were not those of a gentleman. Tooty objected, and quite right too.
For a few weeks the cat put up with Jasper’s unwanted attention. But one day he suddenly turned. Jasper had just put his front paws round the cat’s back when Tooty shot forwards, out of his grip. Again his dark eyes sparkled with emerald venom. The dog whimpered as though it had been hit, then crawled quietly into a corner and lay perfectly still.
That afternoon when Andy took Jasper out for his daily walk, the dog ran away. No sooner had Andy let him off the lead than the dog had bolted into the distance. And that was the last they ever saw of him.
Back at their home in Leytonstone, Tooty was quietly contented. He snuggled up to Penny and seemed to be smiling, as if the cat knew that Jasper had gone for ever.
It was when the Boot family decided to move to Woodford Green that the very weirdest thing happened.
Knowing how much Tooty loved their garden in Leytonstone, Andy chose a nice house that had a big garden. They even took Tooty to have a look and he seemed to like it. Then things started to go wrong. The surveyor who was called in to make a report on the property made some major mistakes.
When surveyor’s reports are wrong, they can cause a lot of trouble. Just ask Andy and Penny. They lost their ideal home and had to move into a tiny place with no garden. Tooty didn’t like it at all.
On the night they moved in, Andy could have cried. His pet had nowhere to play and the house was so small. He picked Tooty up and told him what had happened. The black cat’s eyes glowed green as Andy spoke of the surveyor whose fault this was.
A few days later, Andy had cause to telephone the office of the surveyor who had messed the move up. The surveyor’s receptionist told him that the man who had been dealing with their property had suddenly been taken seriously ill. He was not expected to work again.
Andy put the phone down and went to tell his wife. Before he could do so, he saw Tooty the cat, sitting on a chair and staring at the telephone. His eyes were sparkling with a strange green light, as if he knew.
Tooty is seventeen years old now and still lives with Andy and Penny. Any told me that they treat him with great respect – no wonder!
You can read more such stories in my book PSYCHIC PETS by John Sutton published by Bloomsbury Books available on Amazon.