Chunk – Tales from the Sanctuary

Over the years we’ve tried to avoid taking in stray cats and dogs, mainly because in almost every town and village there is someone who is happy to look after stray dogs and mogs. Years ago when we talking our first casualties, agreed that only under special circumstances would we look after anything other than wildlife – for no other reason than all of the family love dogs and cats and it would be a short time before the house would be bursting with them.

However, the well laid plans of mice and men, as Robert Burns mentions in his famous poem, have at this moment in time 5 cats, sorry – 6 cats, and 3 dogs, all of them with their own little story. One cat in particular seems to touch all our visitors with her antics. It was just the other day, when I was involved in trying (trying being the operative word) to put a new roof on the pigsty, that I noticed her. How long she been with me in my endeavours I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that she was, in her own way, ensuring that I knew just what I was doing. As I got down from the ladders she would be sitting near the bottom rung and, keep me right, she would turn and jog in front of me to the heap of roof sheets, and she would sit and watch, as if making sure I picked up the right sheet. She would then jog off to the ladder, all the time looking back to see if I was following her, and, making sure she was not in the way, she would wait at the bottom of the ladder again. It was at that moment that I realised that this little cat often turned up in the middle of a job, I think she must have been a site foreman in a previous life.

All the animals that are with us for any length of time seemed to acquire a name. This is usually because of some characteristics that the individual may show; this cat is no exception and the name of Chunk fits like a glove.

Chunk is Foursquare, almost no neck, short legs and a tail that she carries around like a flag. She is as long as she is broad. No one knows where she came from and for a number of weeks the only time anyone saw her was as she started from one hiding place to another. She would allow no one near her. She would eat food put out for her as long as there was no one around. Chunk never bothered any of the animals that freely roam around the sanctuary.

I spend very little time sitting in a chair as I find it more comfortable on a beanbag stretched out on the floor. I don’t know if there’s any significance but the bean bag is in the shape of a pink pig. You may find it strange that I have mentioned this fact, bear with me a moment.

I was busy working on one of the enclosures, when my daughter came for me. ” Dad I think you better come and see this”. I left what I was doing and followed her back to the house. Just inside the patio door, up against the wall, I used to leave my bean bag pig, and when it was sunny we would leave the door open (to be honest we need not have had a door on because no one seems to use it and it stands open most of the time. No one in the family is surprised that anything that may occur, often visitors are a little surprised to find a swan or some such bird asleep on the carpet!) one of the curtains covered the bean bag and it wasn’t until Emma pulled it to one side that I was able to see what I had been brought to see. There in a hollow in my bean bag shaped out by Chunk were four beautiful kittens and a proud mother busy washing them. This little cat had nothing to learn even then, as soon as we appeared she sauntered off and left the two of us to finish off cleaning the newborn babies. The kittens all have good homes now and Chunk is part of our ever- expanding family. She does like to be boss whenever we are doing any building work. Up to this moment in time she always manages to leave her paw prints on any concrete we have put down anywhere on the Sanctuary. She is a proper site foreman!

George Scott