16: Trainhopping

16: Trainhopping

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That!

Trainhopping

It is in the nature of cats to do a certain amount of unescorted roaming.

~Adlai Stevenson

Fisk means “fish” in Danish, or so a friend told us after we had already named the black-and-white, half-grown cat we found on our doorstep one morning. The first day, we gave our friendly visitor milk. He was still there the next day, and the next. By that time we were giving Fisk bowls of minced meat.

“It seems to want to live here with us,” I said.

“We should put notices around the neighbourhood in case anyone has lost it,” Barney, my husband, suggested.

We did that, but no one called, and Fisk stayed. Outside we played tag with him in the yard around the vegetables, and inside we played chase the feather. He was now part of our family, but we put our name and phone number on a little blue collar around his neck as he still wandered off sometimes.

I would get phone calls from old ladies and other neighbours wanting to come get him after he had invited himself into their houses and sat purring on their knees. Once the local train station staff called, saying he was wandering around the station.

A few months later, our first baby was born. I was very busy with my new son, and probably giving Fisk less attention than usual.

One evening in December it was snowing lightly. The phone rang.

“Hi, do you have a cat called Fisk?” a man’s voice asked.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Well, a black-and-white cat with your phone number on a tag around his neck has just jumped into my car. I’m in the station car park at Hatfield.”

Hatfield was the next town down the railroad.

“That’s incredible,” I said. “We live in Welwyn Garden City. I know he tends to wander, as he used to be a stray, but how on earth has he got to Hatfield?”

“Well, as I looked down the platform, I saw a cat jump out of the train I just got out of,” the man said. “He must have followed me to my car. When I opened the door, this little cat leaped in as if he owned it.”

We both were laughing so much we could hardly speak.

“I shut him in the car to make this phone call to keep him safe,” the man said when he had controlled his laughter enough to talk. “Look, I’ll bring him back to your place. Where do you live?”

“But, surely,” I said, “you must have just got off the train at Hatfield because you are on your way home. You’re in the next town down the line. You won’t want to drive all the way back here. Why don’t we wait until my husband comes home, and he can drive over and get Fisk.” This was getting surreal.

“Well, don’t worry, it’s no problem. I’ll just bring him over now. What’s your address?”

I told him, and some time later the doorbell rang, and there was Fisk in the arms of this kind man, struggling to get free.

By this time, Barney was home. We both thanked the driver standing out there in the snow.

“Would you like to come in, have something to drink, or some supper?” I asked, amazed at the trouble he went to for Fisk and us.

“No, it’s okay, I’ve got to get home now before this snow gets bad,” he replied.

He waved goodbye as he disappeared into the snowy darkness.

~Caroline M. Brown

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