When I was a child we always had cats AND dogs, but dogs with our out and about performing lifestyle are more of a tie, so although I’m sometimes tempted, instead I just take great pleasure from our fluffy, purry, occasional mouse catching furry felines.
I can remember the first two cats my husband and I had.
A child at the Hounslow school I was working at brought her kittens in a cardboard box into the classroom to show me.
They were so cute and I was immediately smitten. One was ginger which I really liked due to childhood memories. My dad had had an elderly ginger cat called Mr Gilbert that lived with my granny and we also had a beautiful, tortoiseshell cat called Purdie that died young, leaving us as children devastated.
I went straight home and talked to my husband about the kittens and we arranged to visit the family at home.
It is something that has always stuck with me, because the lovely family were living in a council property that should have been condemned. I remember being so shocked that anyone in modern age Britain and with four young children, could be forced to live in such squalid conditions, they didn’t even have an inside toilet.
Sadly, they told us they didn’t tick the right boxes to push them up the ladder to be rehoused. It was a real eye opener and left me at the time feeling reflective and sad .
However, we left our visit elated with two beautiful kittens in our care.
One was ginger, so we called him Garfield. The other was black and charged everywhere, we called him Bomber.
They became our family and so important at a time when we were silently struggling to conceive.
As of course happens, just as the issue was about to be investigated I fell pregnant!
The house we moved to was set back from a busy road, but opposite an open, inviting wooded green.
Soon after we moved, Bomber disappeared and a couple of years later we found Garfield killed by the main road. He was buried in the garden.
We were both so distraught, we vowed not to have any more cats until we lived somewhere safer.
When we moved to our current house over fourteen years ago we went to a local pet shop and bought two black kitten sisters. One was fluffy, we called her Pepsi and the other was shorthaired, we called her Cola.
It was fantastic and so comforting to finally have CATS back in our family. Our two boys loved them as much as we did . They were desperate for one of the cats to have a litter, so we could have a kitten from birth.
We delayed getting them spayed, deciding to see which cat would be ‘mum’ first. We didn’t realise it would take a while!
About three years later when we had given up thinking about it, we spotted Cola looked a bit rounder in the tummy and wondered if this was it!
My husband looked under the bed, could hear squeaking and saw Pepsi and the mouse in the corner. The mouse however, on closer inspection was not one mouse, but two kittens! Pepsi being fluffy hadn’t even looked pregnant, what a surprise!
A week later Cola went under the same bed in the opposite corner and had three kittens!! A busy tom cat must have moved into the area. We had not one ‘mum’, but two!!
We loved the kittens, but of course we then had the debate of which kitten to keep. A friend took two of the kittens leaving us with three. We decided to be fair, we should keep one from each litter.
Unfortunately, two of us wanted one and two the other. I couldn’t bare the thought of ONE on his own, despite my husband saying “Honestly Fiona, it’s a cat, it doesn’t know!”. . . I didn’t believe him.
A few months later one of the kittens, named Dylan by my youngest son, was killed on the road. Three years later Radnar, who was named by my husband after a shut down pub he regularly frequented, disappeared. We were left with Bailey, named after a creamy alcoholic beverage, as he was mostly white. ( you can see a theme in the names!)
We are now left with three cats, as we first envisaged!
Pepsi –green eyed, black, fluffy, silky, but very slight. She is affectionate, demanding of attention, a lap cat and constantly hungry. She doesn’t like her sister and will sometimes hiss at her nephew!
Cola- black and white, playful, independent and a wanderer. She once disappeared for 3 weeks and reappeared one morning. She likes her own space, enjoys attention, but on her own terms and will lash out if not happy! She prefers to stay away from her sister and son, but enjoys the company of our rabbit, as long as he doesn’t get too close and personal!
Bailey-the kitten is now 9. He is a big boy in comparison to the girls. My husband believes he is gay! He is neurotic, scared of everything and everyone and continually running away and hiding. However, when it is just us, he is the funniest, most affectionate cat who amuses us with his very OTT dramatic behaviour. He is a talker and loves nothing better than stretching himself out in a debauched fashion or curling himself up in peculiar positions. He loves to sit close and personal, but rarely on a lap. He can be a bit of a bully to the ladies of the house and sometimes chases them!
He gets a good telling off like the other men in my family!
I love my cats and can’t imagine a household without them.
Honestly Fiona xxx