So, I'm at the cattery ready to pick up munchkin number two from his holiday (he seems to enjoy himself at the cattery as much as we do on holiday, so I have no guilt leaving him there). I'm stressed because the blimin' credit card machine has rejected my card twice already (apparently there was a technical fault due to inclement weather... what???), I have no cash so I've been rushing in and out of the cattery trying to secure some form of payment from the husband who is sitting patiently in the car park. Finally, after coming to some sort of IOU arrangement with the proprietor I head in to pick up my cat who doesn't seem that thrilled to see me, and who I practically have to drag out of his cage (this may have something to do with the endless supply of biscuits, the staff who drool over him, the tortoises and budgies placed temptingly in front of his cubicle, and the soft heated blanket in his bed).
I trek back into the snow-covered car park and manage to squeeze myself in to the car with the cat carrier perched precariously on my lap. Just as the car engine starts, both me and the hubbie notice a very unpleasant smell, far worse than any nappy Lara has previously managed to produce! To our utter disgust, the cat has gone to the toilet in his basket between leaving his cage inside the cattery, and making it out to the car. There, at the far end of his basket, is the biggest poo known to man. The stench is overpowering; there is no way we are going to make it home. Argh.
I jump out of the car, cat basket in hand, and grab the nappy changing bag as I go. Armed with a nappy sack and a handful of baby wipes I feel prepared to take on the challenge! Goodness only knows what I'd have done pre-baby, back in the days before I kept a stash of baby wipes on me at all times! The smell is obscene! I've spent the last 6 months cleaning up someone else's poo (Lara's, not my husband's!) but nothing has prepared me for this.
With my hands covered in a protective layer of baby-wipe, I tentatively open up the top of the cat basket in an attempt to reach the offending article (mysteriously the cat is sitting at the opposite end of his carrier, totally oblivious to the stress he is causing me at this time). Before I know it, the cat has rocketed out of the basket like a jack-in-the-box and is legging it across the car park, back towards the door of the cattery.
At this point, the hubbie steps out of the car, offering to help. You should see his face when he notices that not only is the poo still in situ, but that the cat basket is devoid of cat, and that I am now sprinting, like a white, overweight Usain Bolt, across the car park, wildly waving a nappy bag. I set the hubbie to work dealing with the poo, while I chase after the stowaway cat. I finally manage to isolate the cat under someone else's car. He's sat there, just out of reach, miaowing with a vengeance.
By now, there are other customers arriving and the sight of me, on all-fours, up to the elbows in snow, peering mysteriously under a stranger's car has obviously started people talking! Members of staff now appear bearing cat treats and blankets. We have the car surrounded.
At this point, it's probably worth saying that my cat is a rescue cat; he's nervous and distrustful of most human beings. Being surrounded by anxious humans in the snow probably isn't his idea of fun. I know it isn't mine. After a few (increasingly freezing) minutes sitting in the melting snow with no gloves and no jacket, calling his name and shaking the cat treats tantalisingly, the cat finally plucks up courage to show his face. I make a grab for him (by now I'm practically face-first in the snow) and physically haul him, limbs flailing everywhere, from beneath the car.
With the crisis averted, we get back into the car... I retrieve the nappy sack from the ground but we are both too embarrassed to head back into the cattery to get rid of it, so we end up driving off with the evil-smelling stench-bag still in tow. Once we are far enough away that we think no-one will notice, we find a bin to put it in!
The cat has forgiven us now and has remembered that home is just as much fun as the cattery. He is currently sitting on the hubby's lap, getting hugs. So, let that be a lesson to you – take baby wipes with you EVERYWHERE.
On a totally unrelated theme, stay tuned for Lesson 3 in my series on 'Free baby stuff', coming as soon as I find time to write it!