Ptolomey's story


born 12th April 1981

Ptoly or Tol, for short, came to us one day walking across the driveway in Finchley. He was a semi-longhaired cat, with a tabby back and white front, in fact, very much like a Norwegian Forest Cat. When we first saw him he looked rather dirty, but of a good shape. He was not frightened of us, and appeared again the next day. As he still looked rather dirty, we wondered if he was a stray, so I left a little food out for him which had disappeared by morning. To check that he was really lost, Eric and I managed to get him to run into the warehouse (it wasn't our showroom at that time) and cornered him without too much fuss. Then we put a collar on him that was ready prepared with a medallion with our address and telephone number - the theory being that any owner would wonder where that had suddenly appeared from and, hopefully, give us a ring.

He hung around for a few days, also visiting other families in the street, and then vanished for about ten days. This was in the autumn.

Then he appeared again looking none the worse for wear, but not much cleaner, and still with the collar on. That decided us - if no one had rung, and the collar was still there, then he could not have an owner, so it was up to us to adopt him. He certainly didn't object to more regular food, and none of the others complained, so we caught him once more without any trouble and off to the vet for a checkup. The best estimate that we could come up with for his age was that he was at least one year old at that time, so in 1982 we gave him a birthday of the 12th april 1981. He was still fertile, so he was neutered (all for the best even if an owner eventually turned up!) and back home to sleep it off and get properly introduced to the house and the other cats.

The sequel came in the spring when a couple turned up one day in their car to ask how was our fluffy cat? They had read the medallion when he reappeared at their house, but as he didn't come back again, they hoped that he was back in his rightful home. If you are wondering why they didn't check before, well, they lived almost a mile away, and on the other side of the Northern Line! Ptoly had been back and forth between his different friends at least five times, crossing the railway and two busy roads unscathed! That was a really tough little cat! It was great that he was around to see them, and he seemed to recognise them, although never went visiting again!
(I almost forgot - why Ptolomey. Rather involved! 'I Claudius' had just been broadcast; we had a cat called Cleopatra; sounded good!) (Even better, when Derek Jocobi who played Claudius came several times to record a book in our vocal booth, Ptoly met Derex!)

Ptoly became a very handsome cat, although only middling sized, and also liked to talk to visitors. When I built our showroom I also installed a cat door in one of the large warehouse doors so that cats could visit us during working hours. Ptoly was very fond of that and the opportunities it gave him to find the latest cardboard box or cabinet of equipment to creep in to. He would often appear to check on a strange voice. He was equally fond of popping in to the swimming pool to greet friends. At APRS shows his photo was included on our display stand together with other of our cats. We posed all seven in the pool house - here is the pose we didn't use.

APRS show poster

One day when he was a few years old we noticed that he was pawing at his left eye and miaowing as if it hurt him. I took him the the vet who found that the lens in that eye had slipped out of position and that was the cause of the pain. Medicine couldn't be of any help so the only solution was to remove the lens. The vet assured me that he waould still have some sight and the pain would go. I left him there overnight for the operation to be done and collected him the next afternoon. He was comfortable again and never showed any signs of the lack of focus that the loss of the lens must have caused.

Many years later, after we moved to Denmark, he did get some infection in that eye which was treatable for a few more years but the new vets agreed that he was too old for an operation to completely remove the eye. His eye slowly changed into just a ball of tissue and that became a tumour which was no longer treatable. Sadly we had to agree to euthanising him when it became more swollen and very uncomforatble for him. Most of his story is in Chapter 13 and Chapter 4 of book 2 of our History (link under menu, Text).

He was 15 when he died on 27th July 1996 in Denmark.

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