The Star

Media: The Star, June 2011

They thought he was a goner, but Cosmo the cat came back

There are litters of felines in fiction, in verse and in song: I think of the cat who came back the very next day; the McGarrigles’ Kitty, who did not; Jeoffry, who rolled among prank to work it in; Sylvester of the cartoons; T.S. Eliot’s practical cats, the only boring felines in the books; many others, of course, but none like Cosmo of the Annex.

As a kitten, Cosmo was rescued from death by abandonment, along with his brother and sister kittens, by Gabe Drainie, scion of a family famous in this country for the arts.

Cosmo, along with his sister Alice and five other kittens, were brought to Annex Cat Rescue, and the writer Sylvia Fraser cared for them and nursed them back to health.

Cosmo and Alice were then adopted by the novelist Susan Swan, who gave them as a birthday present to her man, the publisher Patrick Crean.

And they all live happily together in the pretty little house once occupied by the journalist and music producer Ian Pearson.

That’s a literary pedigree.

Cosmo, of mixed parentage, is 2 years old and he is alert and playful and resembles a Russian blue.

A week or so ago, Susan was gardening in the back yard, with Cosmo for company. “I’ve always been nervous about cats going out; but usually, if we clapped our hands, or if we banged the bowl, Cosmo came, almost like a dog.”

Like a what?

Susan continued, “I was planting some lupins when he jumped up into the chestnut tree, and that made me laugh. A couple of minutes later, I looked for him. I clapped. He didn’t come. He’d never not come before.”

She hunted high and low.

No Cosmo. Not that night. Not the next morning. Patrick said, “We put ads in the papers and online, we put posters all over the neighbourhood.”

There was hope, at first. Cosmo is chipped and collared, and Susan and Patrick offered a reasonable reward; along the way, they learned about the extensive network of shelters, animal rescue teams and pet finders all across the city.

But no Cosmo.

Susan was worried. “There’s a steal-and-sell ring operating in this city. A friend had a dog taken; they called and told him he could have the dog back if he paid and kept his mouth shut.

“I called the police about Cosmo. They told me Russian blues can go for $1,000 on the market.”

Speaking of rings, did you know there are animal psychics operating in this town who purport to commune with lost pets?

Oh, for the luvva . . .

As we talked, little Alice slept on a nearby chair. Did she miss Cosmo? Patrick said, “She seems fine.” Susan said, “She’s frantic.” Patrick said, “She looks out the window wistfully.”

Fine one minute, frantic the next, wistful thereafter; also, very sleepy; that’s a cat.

Patrick and Susan have been searching the neighbourhood ceaselessly. Sylvia Fraser has ridden the streets on her bicycle. There have been false sightings.

Still no Cosmo.

Patrick said, “I think someone’s taken him in; otherwise, he’d have come home.”

I left them then with the promise that I would ask Star readers for their help; when I got home an hour later, there were emails from Susan, including a photo of Cosmo. And then one more note.

Susan told me she went out after I left and called for the cat, and she heard a faint voice, and she found Cosmo holed up in a neighbour’s garage.

You know I don’t think he was lost or locked in. I think he was working on his novel.

Joe Fiorito appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Email:

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