The Secret Diary of Lady Eleanor aged 11 and a Half

Saturday 27th October.

The humans, a man and a woman, arrived at a nice remote house in the French countryside after a full day of chauffeuring me from London. I instantly caught the smell of Guillaume's mum, 'maybe this was where she was when she wasn't visiting' I thought. I'm such a clever cat because moments later I saw her and Guillaume walking to the car. Then, minutes later the carry box was open and I was free to explore...

...a few hours after that, exhausted from checking every inch of every room, I sat on Guillaume's lap and had a little nap. I think this new home is going to be fun.

Sunday 28th October.

Guillaume got out that stupid lead today and we walked around the garden. I was embarrassed to have to guide a full human adult around the place but this way at least he'll know the area and wont wander off. Afterwards, I led him inside and decided to sit staring at an empty spot on a wall. Humans hate when cats do this. I must have dozed off for a while because I awoke some hours later to a commotion from the kitchen. Annoyed at being disturbed I promptly went to investigate and found myself eye to eye with some strange red haired creature. Like me, it stood on four legs, but the whole creature was so tall and long. Far too big to be a cat. I was too tired to contemplate it, so as it approached me with it's big, black, wet nose I did what any lady would do: I punched him. He jumped back and looked to the humans for assurance but they just laughed at him. It occurred to me this creature might be 'a dog'. A mythical creature I had heard rumours of but never imagined could actually exist. Smelling his food I turned away from dog and ate it. I feel it's best if he understands from the start that I'm boss. His food was amazing and I ate the whole bowl. Feeling full I went back to staring at the wall.

Saturday 3rd of November.

Daddy left today and gave me so many kisses goodbye. I miss him and other daddy very much but this afternoon I have Dog as my companion. Dog follows me everywhere. It's like he's a US secret serviceman shadowing me ready to leap out and take a bullet in the chest to save me. I find him quite sweet now and even let him eat some of his food occasionally.

Outside, I've discovered lizards and have taken to pulling their tails off. Gotta have a hobby. I have eleven so far and thought about making a necklace for dog

Sunday 4th of November

I was in the garden rubbing my face against things when out the corner of my eye I saw a quick flash of grey. Never one to move too quickly I padded off to the spot and to my surprise I saw a tiny mouse sat staring at me. Some instinct kicked in and I pounced but the mouse made a run for it. Quick as lightening he scurried into a thick bush and out of my claws' grasp. I'd seen his kind once before in my youth; I recalled they tasted good and humans love them as gifts. I will keep an eye out for more of them.

Monday 5th of November

This morning, I awoke in my warm little box with a sudden urge to climb a tree. I was itching to be allowed out and shouted until my human appeared. Eventually, the door opened and I got my chance. I decided to start with the one by the pool, I figured if I fell, the blue pool cover would make for a comfy landing. (I found it not unlike sunbathing on a giant waterbed yesterday). One paw at a time I heaved my tiny frame up the bark. It wasn't without drama, but I found a high branch to perch on a watch over my new kingdom. As ever, dog patrolled nearby sniffing fervently still trying to work me out. From up there he looked quite small. Then I saw it, only for a fleeting moment but I am in no doubt about it. There was a set of eyes peering at me from the forest, eyes like mine. Then as soon as I saw them they were gone. I wasn't scared then. I'm not scared now. They seemed kind, wise and lonely all at once. I hope I see them again tomorrow.

Tuesday 6th of November.

No eyes all day and not much of anything. The surprisingly sunny days may be over and the unsurprising rainy days upon us. I watched my human mum cook and demanded she feed me for much of the waking part of the day. I stared at the wall a bit and thought about my London humans. I hope they are managing without me, the two of them are going to bored very without me to serve and look after.

Thursday 8th of November.

The rain let up so I decided to go on a mouse-hunt. I thought I'd have the best chance of catching the mouse if I just sat unmoving for a few hours. Not a challenge to cat like me. Barely 10 minutes had passed when I saw him edging through the grass before me.

The instinct kicked in again as powerful as before and I leapt to block his escape and then charged at him. Though he quickly scurried away, I had him on my second attack. I let go and let him run bit further before tossing him in the air. A third attack and my mouth was full of the delicious mouse taste. A fourth dash for freedom and a fourth cat attack and then he went limp in my jaws. The little heartbeat I'd barely registered a moment ago, now resounded silently in my ears. I was shocked, thrilled and surprised at my own ability. All these years as a house cat and I still had it. I was walking proudly back to offer my gift to my new human when I saw the eyes again. A sleek and beautiful black cat stepped forward from the shadows and watched me unblinking. She was a girl like me only she wasn't a domestic cat, this I was sure of. I could smell only the nature and the outdoors on her. It was as if she had never been touched by a human. I stepped tentatively forward just as the house door opened and out bounded the brainless dog. My little black friend vanished from sight and dog sniffed the patch where she had been standing. He looked at me and tilted his head curiously. I tilted my head too in response. Our conversation over he ran after an imaginary car and barked at nothing. I delivered my gift to my human who shrieked with joy and placed the mouse in a special box in the kitchen. Must be where she hides her treasures. It had been a busy day by feline standards so I curled up in my box and fell asleep.

Friday 9th of November.

One of my daddies voices keeps coming out of a strange picture box in the living room. My new human talks to it and it talks back in his voice. It's very confusing... Has guillaume been turned into a 'mac book' as I have heard it called? He supposed to be in London trimming humans head-fur. Aside from this my day has been restful. I have been stroked and fed and stroked some more. I'm all purred out.

Saturday 11th of November.

I was looking in the garage for some newspaper to sit on when I sensed I wasn't alone. Turning around I saw black cat stepping delicately into the space. She seemed very uncertain so I leapt down from the shelf and made my way confidently to her. She held her ground and we had a little sniff of each other. There was the faint scent of another cat on her and I could tell this was a lost companion. I understood the sadness in her eyes. I decided at once she should live with the human, dog and me but as I thought it she glanced uneasily around the garage and signaled for me to follow her back into the open. She's a feral cat and detests human dwellings, I couldn't expect her to live with us here. We walked a little, side by side, around the edge of the garden and I showed her my lizard tails. She politely feigned interest before offering to settle down and groom me. When the two of us were washed from head to paw we ate some grass and vomited up fur-balls. All in all it had been a glorious few hours. Black cat had to go but I was sure she would return. As she slipped through the fence and off to the forest I heard my human call me and I went inside. That evening I dreamt of forest adventures with black cat and only stirred when my human lifted me off her lap and placed me in my cosy box for the night.

Monday 12th of November.

Two days with no black cat and a lot of grim rain. Dog still follows me around but seems more at ease with me being here. I worry about Black cat out in the cold but she seemed healthy enough... She must have a shelter out there somewhere. I dozed in my cosy warm box and tried to imagine it. Could it be better than this? I doubt it. Maybe!

Tuesday 13th of November.

A dry day at last and black cat appeared at the edge of the forest. She hadn't seen me on my new perch up the tree. Her black fur was dry and sleek, cleaner than I thought possible for a forest cat. Though she was thin she looked quite healthy and well. I leapt down to her level and met her at the wire gate, her sad eyes lit up and she pressed her cheek to mine. We walked again around the garden and climbed the big tree at the front. It looked too challenging at first but black cat made it look easy and I followed her elegant steps. I arrived on the branch a little shaken and looked at her anew. In the fading sunlight she looked resplendent, proud and happy. We sat side by side and watched the distant criss-crossing of cars. I feel safe with black cat and I wish so much she could live here with us.

Later, I found myself fearing for Black cat out in the forest. Rain lashed the windows and the wind howled at the shutters. It was warm in the house but deathly cold outside. I hope she is ok.

Wednesday 14th November.

Black cat arrived today looking unwell, tired and hungry; so very different from yesterday. We shared some food that had been left out for dog but I could see she really needed warmth. She ventured with me into the garage and we curled up together until I felt the warmth return to her little body. I groomed her a little but she never completely relaxed. All the household noises I was so accustomed to made her edgy and uneasy. Warm now, and stronger from the food we ventured to the gate to say goodbye. She pressed her cheek to mine and turned to leave. Suddenly, I was afraid I would never see her again. That without another warm body she would freeze out there. I followed her through the gate venturing for the first time towards the forest.

Black cat turned and saw me. She looked at me her little face filled with anger, she hissed and charged me, boxing my face with her paws. I scurried back to the gate unhurt but startled. She bounded fast into the forest and shot me one last look before vanishing into the trees. I understood. She didn't hurt me, she just wanted me safe. She saw me as a domestic cat incapable of living in the wild. Maybe she was right. But, she was a wild cat who couldn't live in-doors who might die alone in the wild. Something has to change.

Thursday 15th of November.

Dog knows something is up. I think he might be smarter than he looks. He's seen me looking out the window for black cat and he has started watching out for her too. When we're outside together he sits near the gate or patrols the side wall as if trying to keep me here. He's right to stop me, although I'm itching to go find black cat and see that she's safe I would likely die out there alone.

This morning, I heard daddies voice through the 'mac book' and my heart ached. I have come so far these last few weeks and as much as I miss my London life and love my new home I am thinking about my next life. Lady Eleanor of the forest. It has a ring to it.

In the afternoon I practiced my hunting and killed four mice and a lizard. I also climbed each tree in the garden again and again until I could do it with ease, grace and speed.

Dog sat by me tonight while I stared at the wall, I almost heard him say 'please don't leave'.

No news of black cat.

Friday 16th of November.

I saw black cat through the window and begged to be let out. Thankfully my new human must understand some cat language because she opened the door.

Black cat was thinner and colder than the last time she came and when we curled together in the garage I could hear her laboured breath. As before we stayed there, wrapped in each's soft fur until she was warm again. Then, as her breathing returned to normal, I gently groomed her. She was still uncomfortable in the garage surrounded by all the strange human objects, but she was too weak to resist. Eventually, she fell asleep. My food was inside the house and I was certain I couldn't persuade black cat to come in, so instead I patrolled a mouse hole by the wood shed. The timing was perfect because I'd barely arrived when I saw a fat mouse gnawing on some fruit peel. I was quick and merciless and made no sport of the meal. With the fat mouse hanging from my jaws I ran next door to the garage where black cat was now sat awake, alert and afraid. Calmed by my presence and relieved by the sight of food she looked more like her old self. She ate slowly, looking up at me from time to time. She was impressed and surprised by me.

Time was approaching when my human would open the kitchen door and call me in. I had made my decision. I looked at black cat and let my eyes tell her what we were going to do. I hardened my resolve as her eyes scolded me. Then I saw her relent. She pressed her cheek to mine and bowed her head. I looked around the garage at the man made life I was leaving behind. I summoned the faces of my humans to mind and hoped that they would understand why I had to leave. Black cat and I walked together through the wire gate across the path and into the forest.

I turned one last time and whispered my final goodbye.