Published with the kind permission of the author Mrs Sylvia Hood. First published in 1975.
Part 3: Who Needs Lessons
To be honest, it was rather a bewildered kitten that was carried out of the house that morning. His nose still numb, after the slap for scratching the furniture; and now the dratted boy would keep on about him learning lesson number two. Frankly, if a stinging nose was all he learnt then he was certainly not interested in any more silly games.
The boy’s mother followed them both into the garden for she too was rather curious as to what her son had in mind. Her husband, Bill, could be seen busy working on the shed door; he had sawn a small hole in the bottom of the door and was now hinging on a piece of wood so that it fit the hole exactly.
“It’s a cat door”, cried the boy, “isn’t it a good idea now Mr.Dylan can come and go just as he pleases”. “It’s a marvellous thought” agreed the woman. “All you have to do is convince the cat”. Mr.Dylan was struggling violently with the boy, until he heard the man reply “I can’t see him being a problem, as cats go he’s pretty smart”.
“Smart! Smart!… of course I am”, thought Dylan; whatever it was he had to learn he felt sure he would get the hang of it first try. So Mr.Dylan allowed himself to be handed over to the boy’s father, who took him into the shed and closed the door. Seconds later a flustered kitten appeared through the small cat door. John, the boy grabbed him, stroking his head and speaking gently. “Good boy Dylan, good boy”. The man still inside the shed shouted “Right, send him back through”. “Go on then Dylan, go in”, urged the boy; pushing, yet letting the kitten feel the tiny door give against his head. “A few more times then he should be getting the hang of it”, said the boy grinning at his mother.
Minutes later after the manoeuvre had in fact been repeated a few times, the door opened and the boy’s father came out. “Now shut him in on his own, let’s see if he’s got the hang of it”, he said. The three of them stood hopefully watching. Nothing happened. Still they waited … nothing. Impatient, for some action, John looked through the shed window. “Flipping heck, he’s just sat there washing himself”, he said in a very disgusted tone. “Perhaps I have something which may bring him out”, suggested Mary his mother. With that she went into the house, only to reappear seconds later with a dish of cat food. “Watch this”, she said smiling; “Come on Dylan, dinner”. And suddenly there he stood, straight through the door, no trouble at all.
Indeed, it must be said that Mr.Dylan couldn’t really understand what all the fuss was about; all he’d done was crawl through a cat door, yet they were stroking and petting him as though some great event had just taken place. But he purred and mowled, snuggling into the boy’s shoulder, after all, if this meant they would take him into the house, back to his beloved fire… who was he to argue.
Next month: Part 4 – What Did You Say His Name Was?