Another tough knock, but my cat Roo is still with us

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The Independent Online

Regular readers of this column might remember that I adopted a cat a while back. The cat, Captain Kangaroo, had been shot in the Cheltenham "hood". Apart from being surprised that Cheltenham actually had a "hood", I was happy to take in this gangster cat to our home. He was a great success and we all loved him immediately. When I say "we" I mean the humans in the family.

The dogs were terrified of Roo, and our two other cats tired of his Uber-Alpha Male character and upped and left home for destinations unknown. I occasionally spot them around the village and they seem happy enough, with no detectable desire to return. One of them, Doctor Pepper, did come back for a night. He appeared at the kitchen window and demanded to be let in. This we did and I was in the middle of feeding him when Roo walked in on us as if catching a cheating spouse in flagrante. He went for Doctor Pepper, I intervened and got my hand bitten by Roo. Doctor Pepper fled for good and I ended up at the doctors with a badly infected hand. Despite all of this I remained on very good terms with Roo and things started to get on a more even keel.

Then, last Sunday night, at about 1.30am, the bell on our gate started to ring incessantly. We were all fast asleep but finally we arose to hear a man shouting that a cat had been run over. We opened the gate and by the time we got dressed and downstairs the man had left Roo, the cat in question in a box outside our door. He was in bad shape. He was barely conscious, his head was swollen, one eye was badly disfigured and he had blood coming out of his ear. Things did not look good.

I drove as fast as I could to the 24-hour vets in Cheltenham with Roo lolling in the passenger seat. I was pretty sure he wouldn't make it. Upon arrival at the vet, I brought him in and they took him away. I was then asked whether I was insured (I wasn't). The vet warned me that to try and keep him alive would be very expensive and I might want to put him down? I couldn't quite believe this – it must be what going to hospital in the United States is like.

I said no, whatever it took, I wanted him to have the best chance. They gave him morphine (probably not for the first time with his "hood" background) and he survived the night. I was warned that he might have brain damage and extensive internal bleeding. The next morning I had him moved to the vets that I had adopted him from – they seemed slightly more interested in the cat rather than the bill.

I can now happily report that Roo, Britain's toughest cat, seems to be doing well. He is aware of his surroundings, purrs a lot and does not appear to have internal bleeding. My hat goes off to this tough cookie. He might lose an eye. If so, we shall make him a tiny eye-patch and rename him Pirate Captain Kangaroo. Get well soon, tough guy.