Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Little White Cat who went to Tea at London Zoo

Bianca, a much loved and pampered cat, stretched herself out on the chaise longue like a netball goal shooter. Her two front paws extended overhead, lazy claws making tiny stabs at the empty air.
Where's my beautiful Bianca?” called her lady owner coming through from the dressing room as she put on a pair of pearl earrings, “There you are, darling. Found you. Have you had a good nap?” Bianca's green eyes sleepily blinked back as if in answer.
Of course you have. Let's get you ready shall we?” And before Bianca could give her usual consent, she'd picked her up and ceremonially carried her to the dressing table with its oval mirror.
How precious you are!” Her lady said as she stroked Bianca's purring head and studied their reflections in the glass, “Don't we make a gorgeous pair?” She laughed, “The very fairest of the fair.”
And that much was true: they were both exceedingly fair. The lady had platinum blonde sweeping hair, which today was swept off her face and swung in a loose pony-tail, and which combined with her smooth marble-like skin accentuated her ice-blue eyes; cradled by her Bianca's plush fur was whiter than the first falling of snow and her green eyes glittered like emeralds.
She was so relieved her lady owner hadn't thought to call her Snowflake or Snowball. Bianca was much more original, and it was a blessing that being so white she wasn't stone-deaf, although sometimes her lady seemed to misread her miaows. Mistaking one which meant 'give me fish' for 'let me out'.
Bianca purred as her lady brushed her soft fur and fastened her expensive diamanté choker and clipped the matching lead to it. All ladies should walk to show off their figure, her lady believed, but Bianca saw that the lady had packed her 'cat companion' travelling cushion in her Gucci handbag, so they must be going somewhere by chauffeured car.
Outside, a black Mercedes with dark tinted windows was waiting. On seeing them descend the stairs, the chauffeur popped open the back passenger door and made sure both were comfortably seated. 
You're... a VIC – a Very Important Cat,” was what Bianca heard above the gentle rumble of the engine. Of course I am, Bianca thought, and assumed she was being taken to meet the Queen. Her Majesty had obviously heard of her excellent breeding.
But instead the Mercedes took them to London Zoo. Bianca's whiskers bristled with indignation. Here! Her lady can't be serious! But her lady produced a gold-leafed invite and was ushered though, passed the queues with Bianca digging her sharp claws into her shoulder. “Act important!” Her lady hissed.
Bianca plaintively miaowed and leapt to the ground and walked alongside her lady, very perturbed, but with some vestige of dignity. The official stopped outside the zoo's latest star attraction: a rare Bengal white tiger named Raj, who had recently finished a tour with two famous magicians.
Her lady bent down, “Go with the nice keeper,” and handed over the leash.
Bianca by now had realised her misapprehension...she was about to meet a VIC. She gulped nervously, was she to be the tiger's dinner? All the same, she sauntered into the glass enclosure as if this was her first and last 'red carpet' moment.
Raj, who languidly sat on a throne in a sapphire smoking jacket with a jewelled crown perched on his head was evidently amused. Their eyes met, as if they were part of a screenplay, across the fragrant plant-filled room, very aware that lots of interested eyes were upon them.
She lowered her head and allowed herself to be placed in the diminutive garden chair alongside the monstrous throne, where to her surprise Raj, as he smoked cigars, fed her smoked salmon on buttered brown bread.