Dear John and Norma

The Downing Street cat who went missing in June denies that he was ever lost, and explains why he could no longer bear living at No 10
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Why couldn't you just have left me alone? Surely you realise that I know the way back: cats have superb navigational skills. I was not lost, I was just fed up with Downing Street. That's why I walked.

Let's face it, I never settled down with you. It was heaven at Downing Street for the first two years with Maggie. Most people did not realise it, but she was a kitten. Maggie had a soft spot for wayward types, and I was part of the scene, along with old Cecil Parkinson and her other glamour boys.

In those days, No 10 was fun. At night it was just girls, girls, girls. There were none of your rules about no sex in public. And when I slunk past the policeman at the crack of dawn, you can guess who was there with a saucer of milk, twinkle in her eye, listening to Farming Today. How I loved sinking my claws into those fluffy tweed boucle suits. I ask you, where's the pleasure in cuddling up to John's grey worsted?

I tried to make things work when you moved in five years ago. Sure, I hated the redecoration, but did I protest? Did I climb the Austrian blinds? Did I knock over Norma's ornaments or pee on the garden gnome? Of course I did not. I even brought you a present: not one, but a whole family, of robins. And what did I get in return? Seven nights exiled from the prime ministerial duvet. Maggie made a man of me: you left me emasculated.

"Back to basics" was the last straw. All that talk of marriage left me gutted. Some of my best friends are single mums. And back in June, what with half the Cabinet on the prowl for your job, it looked as though things could only get worse. Hezza rushed about in such a hurry that he constantly tripped over me. Portillo was always too busy stroking his own hair. The future looked grim: like the rest of my generation, I have never known a Labour government. Thank God, I did not realise John Redwood also had secret designs on No 10 - climbing on his lap was like getting into a fridge with no salmon.

So I made my break. I considered dropping into Buckingham Palace, but who wants to compete with a bunch of smelly corgis? Thankfully, I landed on my feet at the Royal Army Medical College. The food was a big improvement on those leftover cod and chips (how I hate vinegar) that you dished up. And at last someone fixed that nagging kidney infection: more than all those health ministers breezing into No 10 ever managed.

Now, three months later, you have catnapped me. You are just like so many people who keep cats. You think you own us, but we are not like dogs. We are independent, freelance pets. We may have hung around humans for thousands of years but, deep down, we are still tigers. So if you think that locking the cat flap and buttering my paws is going to stop me wandering off, you are mistaken.

There will have to be changes. You started off well, asking Maggie around for my first night. But if things do not improve, you know what will happen. I have been to all the meetings; I know where the skeletons are hidden. One bad meal and the cat's out of the bag.

HUMPHREY

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