I’ve talked to you about some of the major loves of my life already. My newest love is gardening. I’m starting to panic already a bit about the winter looming because I’m not going to be able to get out in the garden once the weather turns and it really has become my happy place over the last few months. I feel completely calm and at peace when I’m pottering around out there, whispering sweet nothings to the hebes and running my fingers through the stipas fronds. Look at all the colour that’s sprung up over the past few months. I’m really going to miss it ….. until next year.
It’s going to be a real test for all the new plants that have found a new home in our garden. I’m mentally prepared to say goodbye to my annuals like the begonias and the dahlia because, sad as it is, I’ve always known that their floral destinies would be fulfilled within one summer, but I’m concerned about all the lovely new perennials. Although most of them are hardy and should make it to next year and come back with a vengeance, I’ve become oddly attached to them and I will really feel like I’ve let them down if they don’t make it. Time will tell I guess. I’ll keep everything crossed.
So, that’s my newest love. What of my oldest love? They’re furry, they’re cuddly and a home isn’t a home without them for me. Cats!
September is (according to Facebook) Happy Cat Month, so what better time to chat to you about our fabulous feline friends?
I’ve had cats all my life, bar the odd few months. My parents had a long haired black and white cat called Puddy when I was born. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of Puddy, but you can see where he got his name.
Puddy was born in the caretaker’s shed at the school where my Mum worked and he came home with her. After my parents’ circumstances changed Puddy went to live with my Grandparents in rural Surrey where he had miles of open fields to run and play in. His long fur used to get naturally brushed because he was always running through long grass. I must’ve been in my early teens when my Grandad had to humanely put him to sleep.
Back in the Midlands, imagine little three year old me excitedly skipping up and down a room lined with cages full of cats hand in hand with my Mum at the RSPCA centre in Barnt Hill. It was the summer and we were choosing a cat! I can still remember the excitement now. Mum had recently remarried and we were choosing a cat to surprise my Dad with (and, again, I must explain that situation somewhen).
There was a beautiful tabby cat all curled up with her back to us in one cage and Mum fell in love with her colours and decided this was to be the new member of our family. However, little did we know, but there was a teeny tiny (and I mean really teeny tiny) surprise cuddled up next to the tabby cat. She was a new Mum and the two came as a pair since the kitten wasn’t weaned yet. So, we welcomed Abbie and Sandy into our world.
It soon became apparent that Abbie had been mistreated in the past, and we think by a man. She used to attack men but was perfectly happy with women, until they put trousers on, and then she would attack them too. Unfortunately whatever had happened to her made her unable to trust humans, and as soon as Sandy was old enough to look after himself, she left home. We know she stayed around the area because she used to come back to visit very occasionally, bizarrely, usually when my Grandparents were visiting!
I don’t think any photos exist of Abbie, but I’ve got loads of Sandy.
Apologies for the poor resolution, firstly these are photos of photos, and secondly they’re more than twenty five years old.
You can see why he was called Sandy!
Look what he’s lying on in this one!
It’s the original blankie that I told you about here that I didn’t think I had any photos of!
Sandy was such a gentle boy and it was a wrench when he developed a tumour on his spine at sixteen and we had to make that awful decision.
A few months later and we were all ready to love another cat so back off to Barnt Hill we trundled. This time we only came home with one cat, but what a cat! Enter Sherry.
Sherry’s colours were stunning. She was a mix of tabby, tortoiseshell and white and she had a little fleck in her left eye. She had the most amazing temperament. She’d been involved in a road accident, which is how she ended up at the RSPCA and her pelvis had been broken. She wasn’t microchipped so her owners couldn’t be traced. Their loss was most definitely our gain.
She was a constant in my life for fourteen years. She was there when I got my degree results, she came with me when I bought my first flat, she comforted me in her special furry way when I broke up with my long term boyfriend. She was the first of my family to meet the man who would become my husband. She was distrusting of him to begin with and used to sit between us so he couldn’t get too close, but when she realised he was a keeper she changed tack and set about charming him into being a cat person (obviously she succeeded – no one could resist the charms of Sherry).
I can say with complete certainty that the day I had to make the decision to let her go was the worst day of my life, to date and since. It was horrendous, and still upsets me on a reasonable regular basis to this day. However, I’d go through it all again because she was such a special cat, my little Sherrypuss.
The pic above is a scrapbook page I did after she’d gone and the card on the right is a condolence card that my very special friend sent to us.
The pic below was taken on a really old phone back when camera phones were a new invention and they didn’t have forward facing cameras so you just had to turn the phone around and hope for the best. I love how it turned out and it’s my favourite photo of Sherry.
It took hubby and I some time to get over losing Sherry, but after a few months our flat just didn’t seem like home without little puddy paws padding around so this time we headed off to a different rescue centre called Wellcat. Pauline who runs Wellcat is the most amazing lady. She’s dedicated her life to rescuing cats, and her house and garden are full of cats and kittens needing a home.
We came home with Willow! Willow was another tabby but whereas Sherry was a cobby cat (short and stocky) Willow was svelte with a really long tail. She hid under our sofa for the first three nights we had her but slowly she began to trust us and she soon became a really loving puss.
Willow was scared to go outside when we lived in our flat but when we moved to our new house after we’d had her for two years she used to go in and out through our dining room window. We had to remember to shut it and wait for her to tap to be let back in because once she brought a HUGE rat in. Luckily (for me, not so much for it) it was dead. Hubby was out so I put a bucket over it, shut the door and told him he had to deal with it! He later uttered the immortal line, ‘it looked quite healthy’ to which I replied ‘what, apart from being dead you mean?’
Poor Willow came to a tragic end. One evening she didn’t come home, and we knew something must have happened because she never spent the night outside, she loved her creature comforts far too much for that! Unfortunately she’d been hit on the road and had been taken to a vet who sadly couldn’t save her.
So, this brings me to the present. After Willow, we decided we wanted two cats, double the trouble, double the fun. Given the danger outside we wanted kittens who had never been outside so they would be happy as house cats. I know lots of people don’t agree with keeping cats inside, and to a certain extent I agree – if the outside is safe. However, the way I see it is that there are millions of cats out there living in rescue centres and surely it’s better to give a cat, or two in our case, an inside home than no home at all?
Anyway, that’s the situation with our girls and they’re happy and healthy. They play chase the laser and catch the string every day and they race around after each other, and as of their last trip to the vet for their boosters, they’re both a healthy weight.
So, on to the gorgeous twosome. Prepare yourself for some serious cuteness.
Here they are a couple of days old. Tinkerbell on the left and Olive on the right. They were found with four siblings under a bush, having been abandoned still with their umbilical cords attached! How could you do that? One of their siblings didn’t make it, but the others survived and our girls were lucky enough to go to Wellcat. We had them at seven weeks and they were a pair of crazy, madcap kittens, full of beans and a zest for life.
They were so small they couldn’t even get up stairs to start off with.
We fell in love with them straight away. Well, I did. It took hubby a little longer because I think he felt it would be disloyal towards Willow if he fell for another cat. Of course he was won over. Who on earth could resist those little cherubs?
The girls are now three, and they make us laugh with their crazy antics every day. They look completely different and have opposite personalities. Tink is lean and slender with smooth fur and more tabby than white. She’s the boss and she’s confident and wonderfully defiant. Olive is cobby and fluffy with just a few tortoiseshell highlights amongst the purest of whites. She’s a nervous girl and she loves shoes and chicken.
I just love cats for their nonchalance, their easy arrogance, their complete and utter certainty that they are deities whose needs should be pandered to and their very existence worshipped. If you have to be either a dog person or a cat person, then a cat person I am, for life. Dogs, whilst lovely in that doggy way, are far too needy for my liking, they need reassurance that you love them and want them around. Cats don’t need this reassurance, they know they’re magnificent and have no reason to even consider that you might not be utterly, head over heels, spectacularly in love with them, and they don’t care whether you want them around or not, because as far as they’re concerned you’re living in their house and they’ll jolly well be with you if they want to (or not if they don’t).
I shall leave you with probably my favourite meme of all time, which sums all of this up to perfection.