Saturday, February 12, 2022

Mutiny at the Sanitarium

Dr Bellen looked up from the papers he was studying at his desk. There seemed to be a bit of a commotion outside his closed door. That was unusual, because most of the fuss at the Cosy Apartment Feline Sanitarium occurred in the wards. With a knitted brow, he stood and walked to his door.

“What in the world is going on?” he questioned.

Three cats stood in the outer office. They looked as if they had been arguing amongst themselves and with the doctor’s secretary, who had not had time to call her boss on the intercom. The three cats froze when Dr Bellen appeared. Sheets of paper seesawed through the air to the floor, having been grasped none too certainly in little thumbless paws. The doctor picked one up.

“What is this?” he asked, frowning at the paper in his hand.

He glanced up. He was surprised at who the three cats before him were. Two were residents of the sanitarium: Neville, a long-haired grey fellow, middle-aged, who preferred to spend his days sleeping in his room, and Hector, a new youngster, all black, but for the inevitable white patch on his chest. The third cat was Dr Bellen’s principal assistant in the wards, Renn.

“Well?” The sanitarium’s director raised his eyebrows.

“It’s a spitoon…” answered Hector.

“A petition,” corrected Neville, eyeing Hector sidelong.

“A petition! Concerning what?”

“Awl the noo rodents,” Hector said, his head high.

“Residents,” said Neville, with a sigh.

“Aren’t you a new resident, Hector?” Dr Bellen inquired.

“Nooer rodents, I mean…” mumbled Hector, lowering his head.

“We are here as representatives of the signatories of that petition, Doctor,” said Neville, after clearing his throat of an incipient hairball. “We are worried about the number and quality of the new cats being taken in by the sanitarium.”

“I see.” Dr Bellen looked at the papers in his hand but then turned to regard Renn. “Are you a signatory of this petition, too, Renn? I’d regret seeing an employee of the sanitarium attaching his pawprint to a document that would be biased toward some of the residents under his care.”

“Oh, no, not me, Doctor, no, not me,” Renn assured the human. “But there are some who a cat might have a complaint against…” He eyed Hector. “Abuse of staff, and all…”

Before Hector could say anything in response - his mouth was opening - Neville spoke again.

“There are some among the recent residents whom we feel might let the reputation of the sanitarium down, Doctor.”

“Yes. Auric, for wun,” said Hector in shrill indignation.

“What’s wrong with Auric?” Dr Bellen wanted to know.

“Heez too yung,” Hector asserted.

“You’re only a few months older than he,” reminded the human.

“There is the very old lady, Doctor,” said Neville, with gravity. “While we must be kind to seniors, her condition has led to certain unsanitary situations.”

“Auric iz a child…” stated Hector quietly.

“Neville, I’m surprised at you. How many times have you had to have your fur combed and cleared of mats, some very near your—“

“Well, yes, Doctor,” Neville blurted hastily, “but never such as this Madame Minuet has left behind. She makes one think of a barn-cat.”

“Auric iz a baybee…” Hector added, mutteringly.

“Madame Minuet is suffering from a great deal of stress. The change of address has been very hard on her. It often is much harder on old cats than on the young. It would be kind of you to comprehend that.”

“Auric iz a embrio...”

“All right, now,” said the doctor sternly. “I understand your anxieties. What is tough for one resident can sometimes affect everyone. What you forget is that the Cosy Apartment Sanitarium is the last refuge for many cats who have nowhere else to go. Neville, you came here because your diabetes could not be managed, and no one was volunteering to manage it. Do you remember?”

Neville nodded slowly.

“I should tell you that you were not universally welcomed when you first arrived.”

“What? Me?” Neville was startled.

“And you, Hector,” the doctor stood in front of the little black cat, arms akimbo; “do you recall how long you were homeless, because there was nowhere for you to go? Have you seen the weather outside? How cosy do you think it would be to be out in that?”

“Nawt cozee...” Hector hung his head.

“This sanitarium doesn’t accept cats because they are easy to live with or clean up after,” Dr Bellen stated, adding under his breath, “though goodness knows we’d like to…” Louder, he continued: “We take in those whom we can best help, when we can; those no one else wants to help. The Cosy Apartment isn’t the only place like this. There are thousands, all over the world, filled with millions of cats, just like you two, and you, as well, Renn. That’s what rescue is.”

Dr Bellen paused, and then said, in a gentler tone, “So when Auric chases you Hector, understand that he is still learning inside manners. He will; it just takes time. You had to learn some, too.”

“Some he’s still learning,” remarked Neville, again staring at Hector sidelong.

“And Neville, you have plenty of time for snoozing on your cat-trees, even if you are chased now and then. Your life isn’t very hard, is it?”

“No, Doctor,” confessed the grey cat.

“All right, then. Let’s go back to your rooms. It’s almost time to wake everyone for their afternoon nap. Renn, you’ll see to that?”

“Yes, Doctor!” Renn replied, cheerfully.

“Auric is calming down more every day. You and he may yet be friends, Hector… Did you just roll your eyes?… And Neville, Madame Minuet is cleaning herself quite well, considering her age, and we’ll assist her when she can’t. All right?”

“Yes, Doctor,” said Neville.

“Yes, dawktir,” said Hector.

As the two complainants turned to leave, Dr Bellen smiled, and glanced at the petition he still held. He frowned again.

“Wait a minute. All of these pawprints look like the same two sets repeated about a hundred times…” He looked up but saw only his secretary, filing some bills. He smiled once more. “Put this with the records, would you, Miss Beulah?”


  1. Oh what a good story. Thank you. Does this mean Auric got into
    mischief while you were out and the boys are trying to pin blame?

    1. Ha! No, fortunately things turned out well. I'll explain more in tomorrow's blog-entry.

  2. You tell such wonderful stories, some that bring tears to my eyes, and then there are these which give me a very big smile. Thank you.

  3. I do think you ought to take all of the stories of Dr. Bellen and his charges and publish a book. As the previous said, some stories make us cry, and some make us laugh. AND all of the stories bring the cat's characters to life for us.

    1. I agree. The Feline Sanitarium stories would make a wonderful book. Whenever any of the residents take the train to Idylland, it’s both heartbreaking and beautiful.

  4. I love your stories. You have a real talent for giving each cat his or her own special personality. Not to mention, they always give me a laugh and sometimes a tear.

  5. Dr. Bellen did good in explaining patience to the patients!

  6. Dr. Bellen sure is patient and kind. He really did help the patients of the sanitarium understand that things will almost certainly be okay with the new resident.

  7. Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant!
    Love it! Love it! Love it! :).
    One for the 'Pussy~Cat folder! :).

  8. I enjoyed today's story about the petition and the ones who presented it, so much. The advice to the petitioners was spot on and even they were agreeable. I think all will be well. I'm quite proud of Hector by the way. I like how he stood for what he believed and his understanding as well.

  9. Hahaha! Absolutely loved this. Like the others said, these stories should be put in a book.

  10. “Auric iz a embrio...”

    OMC, that cracked me up! I loved how Auric kept getting younger and younger. :-D

    I agree, a compilation would make a wonderful book, perhaps a fundraiser for the rescue, John.

  11. hector !!!! EWE SPEEK TROUT ~~~ just like de catfather did ♥♥♥☺☺
    bee sidez thiz storee bee in total lee awesum.... sew iz de uze oh yur speech ;) ☺☺♥3