Wednesday 22 Feb 2023: The power of Facebook

Holly at home

I seem to have inadvertently taken another day off on Tuesday. I worked late Monday night to submit Part 4 of the ghostwriting job and finished at around 8am Tuesday morning.

It took a looooong time for me to finish this instalment because we had a humane trap in the garden connected to a motion-detecting camera, and every time the camera pinged on my phone, I had to go and scare away the wrong cat before it activated the trap. It was a lovely black thing that I’ve seen a few times in the garden. But by the time I’d scared it off about a dozen times, I wouldn’t have cared if it never came to see us again!

The poet was getting up to go to work just as I was getting ready to go to bed. I slept for most of the day and finally surfaced at about 3pm. Because I was aching (probably after sitting up half the night), I dived straight in the bath and I washed my hair.

We’d also set a motion camera and some food up in the neighbour’s garden where Holly was last seen on Sunday morning, but that only went off a couple of times during the night, first when they let their own cat out and back in at night and again when they did the same in the morning. They also checked the cat food situation a few times too.

Throughout the day this camera up there was pinging, and when it went off at around 5pm, I thought it was just them again, or their cat again. I had a look anyway, and it was Holly!

Now, I was lying on the bed wrapped in a towel and with a towel on my head and there was Holly in our neighbours’ garden having a right old scoff. So I rang them up… but it went straight to answerphone. I rang the poet up then to see what time he was coming home and he was already on his way, but when I told him Holly was in the garden round the corner, he told me to go. I said my hair was wet and I was wearing a towel, but he told me I had to go and I had to go NOW.

So I threw some clothes on, took the towel off my head, and drove round to the neighbours’ thinking if Holly had gone then at least we knew the trap would likely be more successful there. But she was still there!

She ran away when she saw me and tried to escape up a dead-end, which resulted in her panicking a lot, running around in a figure of eight, and trying to scale a fence that was far too high for her. I grabbed her, she spat and hissed and yowled, but as soon as she was safely in my arms she started to purr like a jet engine.

The lovely neighbours let me borrow their cat basket to take her home, and when we got home Holly ran about the house, checking each room, and shouting at me for leaving her out in the wild for so long. She was starving hungry and very thirsty too, and very, very dirty. But she was home, and that was the main thing.

We would not have found her had it not been for Facebook.

I did post the lost cat notice all over the place, but the first place I posted it was our very own village community group. And when these neighbours saw a cat in their garden that they hadn’t seen before, the lady remembered that she’d seen a cat just like it on Facebook. On Sunday morning, at around 11am, it was her partner who came to the house and asked me if the cat he’d photographed on his phone was our cat. (Someone had even told them in which bungalow they thought we lived, such is the community here.)

I also posted the notice in the community group for two of our old villages too, just in case the cat had a moment and had tried to find her way back to one of those. It was in our last-but-one village community group, for Barnby Dun, that someone tagged a dog-catching lady, and it was she who provided us with the trap, the cameras, and the sardine gravy trail to attract the cat’s attention.

I know I complain about the likes of Facebook, but I’ve always thought it was useful for keeping in touch with people. It’s the unsolicited ads they force on us and the stories they think we want to see that get on my nerves. But I do think it’s a useful tool.

So, thank you Facebook, thanks to our neighbours, thanks to whoever it was who told them where they thought we lived, thanks to everyone who shared our posts, and thanks to the lady who brought the cameras over. Holly would not have come home on Tuesday without them all.

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