Curiosity won't kill this cat if I can get him first
IT'S BEEN cold, but really no colder than this time last year, which I well remember.
It was the corresponding week last year that I discovered just how cold a Toowoomba winter's night can be and how useless cats are.
It was at a time when my second-hand cat's original owner had been staying at my house in the ghetto, hence the reason the cat was there in the first place.
It was late one July night when I realised I hadn't put the bins out and so, dressed in tracky dacks and hoodie, I ventured out into an arctic blizzard to complete that domestic chore.
Because I'm a man, I got distracted while outside and ended up walking up the street to see what was lying on the road.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, she had jumped into the shower and alighted in pyjamas, noticing the doors to the spare room off the lounge were closed.
I'd closed the doors because I had the heater on in the lounge and wanted to warm that room.
She took the fact that the doors were closed that I'd somehow gone to sleep in the spare room and so proceeded to turn out the lights, lock up the place and shuffle off to bed.
Some 20 minutes after I'd gone to put the bins out, I returned to find myself locked out of the house.
After a series of text messages to her inside went unanswered, I figured she was asleep and so I nestled in on the veranda while I pondered my next move.
After an hour or so of pondering, no next move came to mind and I was started to shiver.
Enter the cat! Or really, exit the cat as it wandered out from the warmth of the house through the cat flap and promptly sat at my feet.
"Great!" I thought, "the cat always sleeps in the bed with She Inside, so all I have to do is get him to go back inside, jump up on her bed and wake her and I'll be saved."
Nothing doing. No manner of prodding that cat could I get it to go back inside.
In the second hour, with hyperthermia setting in, the cat eventually felt the cold too and sneaked back inside.
"Great, at last. 'Now, go to the bedroom' I urged him in whisper through the cat flap.
My hopes were dashed, however, when I heard the unmistakable sound of a cat chomping down on his dry cat biscuits.
The bloody cat had stopped inside the door for a midnight snack.
"This cat is no Lassie or Skippy", I grumbled to myself.
Further text messages went unanswered as she inside slipped into deeper slumber.
Four hours I was out there on the landing in subzero conditions.
It may have been cold-induced hallucinations but I swear I heard the growling of wolves waiting to pounce on a fading human, weakened by hypothermia and hunger.
Thank God she inside was a smoker because it was only a 1am coughing fit that saved me.
Waking to a cough, she glanced at her phone beside the bed to see a series of unread text messages from an increasingly desperate housemate locked outside.
"Why didn't you phone me, you bloody idiot!" she said with all sympathy as I shivered past her.
"Oh, I never thought of that!" I replied through chattering teeth.