When I was eighteen, I went to a small house party in rural Somerset. There wasn’t room for everyone to have a comfortable place to sleep, so one guy suggested that he and his two friends would sleep in his car in the street outside. I did well for myself – I was put in a double bed with two other guests. I didn’t realise how lucky we were until the next day.
In the morning, we started frying some eggs and bacon for a hung-over breakfast. Then the three guys who’d slept in the car staggered into the kitchen. They were covered in scratches.
“What happened?” we asked. They all had a faraway look in their eyes.
Apparently they had locked themselves into the car and settled down to sleep, leaving the sunroof open to let some air in. And in the dead of night, a cat found the sunroof and leaped inside.
The cat was startled to discover the three humans, and it panicked. In fact, it went ballistic.
One moment the three occupants of the car were sound asleep. The next moment they were in utter pandemonium, as the cat screeched and bounced around the car scratching at them. The humans frantically scrabbled at the doors, too disorientated to remember that they had locked themselves in.
The cat was stressed by being trapped in the enclosed space of the car, so it kept on leaping around and clawing at them until it finally found the sunroof again and shot off into the night. The three guys were left shell-shocked and bleeding in several places. They said it took them a long time to get to sleep again.
We listened to their story and offered them toast. The three of them could see the funny side, and they seemed to have bonded over their shared trauma. My short night’s sleep in the double bed suddenly seemed a whole lot more luxurious.