Coming up Trumps - Donald's Tale
12 March 2020
It’s a bizarre adventure story that could have come straight out of Hollywood. In fact, in many ways it might well have done so....
The opening scene is set in the sleepy Sussex coastal town of Eastbourne, where our principal character, a bedraggled down-and-out tomcat, was living alone outside a seafront supermarket. His only night-time shelter came from discarded cardboard boxes; and his sustenance from scraps of food thrown down by passers-by.
Eventually, one of them decided that this homeless, friendless feline should really be taken to a vet to see if there was any chance he might be microchipped and his rightful owner located. That’s when the story hots up to become curiouser and curiouser. He was chipped to an address more than 5,000 miles away in California. How on earth did he end up in Eastbourne?
The vet called the cat ‘Donald’ - but why? That’s because he was obviously American and sported long blonde hair - just like someone else across the Atlantic. He was advertised by the vet who also circulated Donald’s ‘Cat Found’ notice to other local practices in the hope that somebody, somewhere would step up and say: “That’s my boy!” Surely, it was thought, someone had loved Donald enough to bring him over to the UK. Sadly, however, not one person came forward. Donald was therefore taken into Cats Protection care and subsequently transferred to Crawley, Reigate & District Branch for a safe, permanent home to be found.
One unfortunate drawback was that Donald had a naughty tendency to nip – and bite quite hard. His fosterer assumed it was down to fear and uncertainty of new situations. Despite many months, Donald was not giving up this nipping habit. It was probably his way of letting it be known that he was a strong character with a big personality. (Remind you of anyone?)
Donald was homed, but after his initial adopters ended up having to wear protective gloves to cope with him, he was returned. Then – and here’s the show-stopper finale – along came a couple named Bridget and John who took an instant shine to our Donald and decided they could successfully get him socialised.
It worked and Donald is now living happily a bit further along the coast from where he was found. Interestingly, this globetrotting cat’s international connections remain strong because Bridget and John happen to be from Zimbabwe.
In true Hollywood style, Donald still gets top billing as star of the show. As Bridget told us: “I love telling people Donald’s history. We like to make up stories about how he may have come to the UK from LA. The best so far is that he’s a pirate stowaway. “Donald is still named Donald. It’s one of the many reasons we fell in love with him, so have stuck with it – and boy, has he settled down and is well and truly ruling the roost. I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting a cat with more character than Donald.”
Bridget added: “It’s been 115 days since his ‘gotcha day’ and we know his estimated birthday is in April, so we will be
celebrating with him. We honestly couldn’t imagine life without him now.” What a story.
As we might say, Donald has most definitely come up trumps.
Written by by Ann Judge