The True Story of ‘Penny from Beverley’
By Eileen Girling
In mid 1994 I noticed an old cat sniffing around in our front garden.
Not having seen her before and obviously an elderly cat i went to check
on him/her. Her eyes were "iffy" and running and apart from needing a
good brush she seemed okay and had a collar on and so I brought her in
gave her water and food ,which she ate but not hungrily and noted she
had a name tag on her collar and belonged to some people in Flemingate
not far from the Minster. So I rang the number and they asked if I could
take her back, which we did by car. They told us she had been adopted
from Bev. Cats Protection (League) a few years earlier. They called her
6 days later this same cat Penny , was in our front garden again. I
couldn’t believe it but again rang her owners who asked us to take her
in overnight and they would collect her the next morn, which they did.
Days later I opened the front door and Penny was sat on our front step
and ran up the stairs. Again she went home by car never walking in a cat
basket or such thing. Some days later she was back again, flew up the
stairs and settled down into a cat bed up there.
Well I have ALL the dates and times etc that she returned and went
home to Flemingate but suffice to say that Penny came back here 19 TIMES
and was taken back home by car. These owners had contacted the C P L to
have her taken back to them. I did not know this until the very last
time I rung them
BUT the most interesting things about Penny’s story were that the 19
times she came back here (on her own) got shorter and shorter. Yes, a
week or so down to a few days and then to a few hours. It was
unbelievable. She always appeared happy here as if "have me!" But how
did she get here? I suggest the 1st time was accidental but the second
after 6 days was deliberate and after that she would I assume be used to
the parh she chose. BUT she had to cross busy, main Flemingate to begin
her journey to us. It is a very busy through Road to Hull Bridge. It is
also a good 2 miles away from us by foot; perhaps nearer 3. We are at
the eastern edge of Beverley. I would love to know the path she chose.
Anyhow. a long story! However, as soon as I was told they were
waiting for a place for her at the Cats Protection League I rang them up
and Sheila (who knows me well) said “Will you take her Eileen? She is
very old and will not re.home easily”. I said “yes of course that’s why
I have rung you” (even though we had about 15 more rescue cats at that
time). So it was settled, Penny finally came to live here at the end of
1994 and spent a very happy couple of years even though our 2 dogs: Tyke
and Rambo. at that time, were not too good with her. But Penny spent
most of her time upstairs. totally contented, out of their way.
She finally had to be ‘put to sleep’ as she developed serious lung
disease and struggled with her breathing. The last day she was mouth
breathing badly. We took her back to the vets (we’d only had her there
the day prior!) They said ‘there’s no hope; and it’s not fair to keep
her going while she’s like this’; that it was best to Put Her To Sleep;
and we agreed as she was suffering badly.
An animal loving Vegan friend of mine, Rita (who died 5 yrs ago of
cancer aged 62. God bless her!) once said to me regarding Penny, that
she could imagine her running along to come back here ( 18 times!)
thinking “I’m going back to Eileen’s, I’m going back to Eileen’s!" Well,
I have never forgotten Rita saying that because that’s how Penny
appeared to be. The owners had 2 small toddlers and we wondered if they
let them pull her about? However, I really don’t know. The mystery of
how she kept returning 18 times is a true mystery. One day I might get
the answer to it. But ‘God bless her!’ she certainly wanted to be here.
Seeing the owner about a year later, she simply asked "How’s the cat?"
No, ‘how’s Penny?’ (My husband Nigel, and I, kept her name!)
Go on to The Flock That Christendom
Forgot: An Animal's Padre Uphill Pilgrimage
Return to Winter 2011 Newsletter