At long last, Billy, Timmy and Joey are old enough to venture into the Great Outdoors. They've heard stories about what it holds - now they are about to find out for themselves - but first - there's the cat flap to get through .... 

Biggles_in_pot_of_catnipThe day dawned bright and sparkly as if the Heavens were in on this big momentous occasion. It was Good Friday and for Billy, Timmy and Joey, it was an auspicious day. Today was the day they would venture through the cat flap to the Great Outdoors.

Charlie had primed them on what to expect to see in the Great Outdoors. Garfield had sat them down quietly and told them about the Rules and Regulations they had to adhere to in the Great Outdoors. Biggles floated by with an aura of mysticism about him having been head first in the pot of catnip in the garden for the last twenty minutes.

On Charlie’s recommendation Billy, Timmy and Joey ate a hearty breakfast. Nervously, they viewed the cat flap. This tiny window on the world would open to them all manner of exciting experiences.

Timmy rushed to use the litter tray and produced probably one of the best reasons why now was the right time for venturing outside. Many a dinner party had been reduced to a hasty stampede into the cold night air with eyes watering, nostrils clenching, trying to hold on to one’s stomach contents – such was the prolific industry in the litter tray by three eager-to-please kittens. 

Finally I hoped, much as a parent applauds the arrival of the day when their toddler graduates from diapers to training pants, the litter tray could be dispensed with and all bottom activities would be delivered outdoors.

Timmy rejoined the queue for the cat flap. Garfield led the way forward and encouraged Billy to follow him. Timidly, Billy pushed the flap open with his head. ‘Great!’ called Garfield. ‘Come on!’

Billy wasn’t sure what bit was meant to go through the cat flap next and he backed himself up into the kitchen. Garfield came back through the cat flap and talked Billy through the steps one by one.

Once again he led the way but Billy held back. I bent down to push the flap outwards and encouraged Billy to join Garfield in the garden. Garfield waited patiently, smiling his encouragement. Hesitantly, Billy put his head through, then one front paw, and then the other front paw.

Half in, half out he leaned out towards Garfield. His bottom half tumbled out after him and he landed in an ungainly heap at Garfield’s feet.

He blushed deep crimson. ‘Don’t worry,’ Garfield soothed, ‘you’ll soon get the hang of it.’

I held the cat flap open and Joey seemed to just sail through it in one graceful fluid movement.

‘Well done, Joey!’ Garfield applauded.

'Yeah, whatever!’ grumbled Billy, silly smarting from his ungainly exit from the cat flap.

Timmy had felt an urgent desire to use the litter tray again, out-stinking the previous deposit. Nervously, he came up to the cat flap.

‘Do I really need to go through that today?’ he asked Charlie. ‘Couldn’t I be excused?’ he asked worriedly, looking at me to write him a note.

‘It’s ok, Timmy,’ Joey called, ‘it’s a breeze. You’ll love it. It’s nice out here!’

Timmy wasn’t entirely convinced. He sat down to pray first asking to be delivered from the fear of the Unknown. There was a resounding ‘AAAH M EN’ from Garfield, Billy, Joey and Charlie.

Spurred on and fortified with the knowledge that he was not alone, Timmy put his head through the cat flap. He began to put his front legs through and just as he was about to complete his journey, the cat flap hit him on the bottom, propelling him up the garden a mite quicker than he would have preferred.

With one single movement he turned around and flew back through the cat flap and raced up the stairs hiding under the sofa bed before Charlie had even had time to join the others in the garden.

No amount of cajoling could coax him out of his hiding place, and he spent the rest of the day upstairs, taking his meals under the sofa bed.

Meanwhile, Billy and Joey, flanked by Garfield and Charlie, cautiously began their trip up the Garden Path. Biggles who had been lying in the sun greeted them. He came up to Billy and Joey and kissed them.

‘See,’ he said, ‘it’s great! The World is your oyster now!’

© Pauline Dewberry 2004


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