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Running for the dungeon. Wednesday April 23, 2014

Back in February, an elderly friend of the family passed away suddenly. He had no next of kin and left no will. His house and all its contents were soon to be passed over, unceremoniously, to local government.

Mark, however, also had two cats, whom I know he adored. They were to meet certain doom unless homes could be found and quick. A kindly neighbour took in one and mum and I the other. Binky the elder. (Although, in all honesty, we needed another cat like we needed a hole in the head.)

Poor Binky had already endured a stressful couple of weeks and by the time he arrived here, without anything of everything he had ever known, he was wide eyed with fear.

As we have done with all waifs and strays we've helped in the past, we set up a comfy corner in the cellar (it's a nice cellar) allowing him to become accustomed to us, as well as all the scents and sounds of the house, before introducing him to our two other cats. Alas, all did not go to plan. We had completely underestimated poor Binky's terror and he somehow squeezed through a tiny tunnel in the cellar ceiling. This was a new and worrying development.

We left out food and water, of he which he availed himself but never when we were around. Two days later, I realised that I could get to Binky by crawling through 3 holes under the floorboards. (Fact: iphones have an excellent built in torch!) Now at the other end of the tunnel, it was still impossible to reach Binky but at least I could now talk to his face. I took care to blink softly at him. (Also known as 'cat kissey's'. Never stare at a cat you are trying to befriend. Blink. Fake yawns also indicate friendliness.)

It was a funny thing sat there under the house, amidst dust and soil that hasn't seen the light of day for well over a century. Sounds from the four floors above became dulled and distorted and yet, in a strange way, noises felt louder and more intimidating. How similar to a depression, I thought. You know there is life going on around you, life you could be part of even, but choked in your own darkness, everything becomes muffled. Inaccessible.

And how too, we 'bite the hand that feeds us' so to speak. We may react to well meaning family/friends like an injured, frightened animal - with snarls, hisses, growls; It becomes impossible to distinguish between someone trying to help and someone trying to hurt us, so we feel its safer to withdraw completely.

Well, the saga went on. We had moments of panic. Should we rip up the bathroom floor or tear down the cellar ceiling? As the RSPCA wisely said though, while he has access to food and water and is in no immediate danger, there's not much to be done but show patience.

Like Binky, when we're depressed, we'll run for the dungeon, pull up the drawbridge and withdraw into the darkness. We all know there are things that can help, like eating properly and regularly, but there are some depressions that cling to us like a bad smell and it's all we can do to just sit tight and allow for it to pass.

After several weeks of frequently sitting in the bowels of the house, blinking and yawning like an idiot, hopes of ever gaining Binky's trust began to recede. At last, one day, he started to slowly stay, albeit momentarily, out of his hole. Then, all at once, he allowed his barriers to melt. Binky cautiously ate some ham from my hand and the rest was history. Purring as loud as an engine, he seemed determined to make up for all the loneliness he must surely have felt in recent weeks. Jumping on my lap, greeting me enthusiastically. What a beautiful, beautiful moment that was.

Often you know, we humans, demand things, life, feelings, situations, to be fixed. Instantly. Sometimes though, a handful of acceptance and a sprinkling of patience are the requirement of the day. Binky ventured out of his dungeon. And so will we.

For pictures of Binky you can scoot across to

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nzeudaimonia Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 7:15am

What a stunning story, thank you!

Lex McKee Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 7:28am

Sensitive souls really do require more beauty... that was truly beautiful, Suzy.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 9:11am

Lovely Suzy. Thank you.

Jill Dobbie Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 9:54am

Wow Suzy, what an emotional story , so glad your kindness paid off and Binky came through his ordeal and is now happy in your home. Well done :)

Jools Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 10:05am

This was lovely, thank you! :)

Anonymous Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 11:41am

What a wonderful story! All too true about the depression, but at least this one ended well with cat cuddles :o)

PurpleSuzi Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 1:16pm

A beautiful story, beautifully written! Thank you Suzy.
I have to say that I scooted to your blog to see pictures, and Binky is purrfectly perfect! The very image of our own rescue cat...
Thank you for sharing so much of yourself today.
It really helped, and I for one appreciated it greatly.
Best wishes.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 1:58pm

Such a beautiful story...such a beautiful person.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 2:03pm

This is just a lovely story. Thank you!

Mart Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 2:55pm

Little does Binky know how famous he is now! And yes the parallelisms are there for all to see. He's a cat with feelings like ours!

Richard Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 4:50pm

Suzy, your writing is so honest. I agree. Sensitive souls do require more beauty. I love the photos of Pennington Street.
Warmest Regards,

G Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 5:42pm

This is a touching narrative to both depressed people and the anxious cat. Such a great analogy. Thank you so much Suzy for writing this.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 6:25pm

Reading this was the nicest thing that's happened all day. Thank you so much Suzy; that's lovely.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 7:40pm

Suzy this is a beautiful analogy. I shared a house once with a very timid little tabby. She was called Ooki. I'll never forget the day after months of trying, that she finally let me stroke and cuddle her. It was a magical feeling and a memory I still cherish today. Thanks for writing this uplifting, inspirational blog. Kate

Anonymous Wed, Apr 23rd 2014 @ 9:59pm

Incredibly lovely. Thank you for posting.

Suzy Thu, Apr 24th 2014 @ 8:27pm

This feels like too little too late but THANK YOU, all of you, for taking the time to comment. I don't think you can know how heartening and encouraging you all are, especially if/when struggling health wise. As always, hearty greetings to all you fellow sensitive souls xxxxx

Jessica Sun, May 4th 2014 @ 6:18pm

What a beautiful story Suzy, well-written and a fantastic metaphor too. It doesn't hurt that I love cats. I've saved this to my word document of favorite Moodscope emails :)

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