Saturday, 6 September 2008
Little Fish wants a cat. Little Fish wants two cats. Little Fish is scared of cats. Little Fish cries when cats come near her. But, Little Fish wants cats.
We've always had cats. Our last cat, Henry, moved out a couple of years ago. He decided our neighbours were more fun. Or we were less fun. Or something. Either way, he vanished on us, reappearing fortnightly howling with outrage that his foodbowl was empty. I think I put the finishing touch to his disappearance when I grabbed him one day, shovelled him into a cat box and took him to the vet who then pulled out all but one of his teeth. It needed doing, they were rotting in his jaw and must have been causing huge amounts of pain, but that followed by a fortnight's incarceration as he healed pretty much ensured he never came near us again.
So, for the past two years, we've been catless. It's been necessary to an extent. Little Fish, as I said, is scared of cats. We have had the whole house refloored, something a cat would not have enjoyed. We've been away for a month this summer, Mog's had major surgery, we've been busy.
Still, Little Fish has been angling* for cats for a while now. At first she wanted a dog and a cat. The cat would be called Woof, and the dog, Cat. There's a certain simplicity about it. But I don't like dogs (don't hate me), so that wasn't ever going to happen. And then she hit on the perfect (purrfect?) names. Names so good that we just had to have cats to make use of them.
So, today, we went to the animal sanctuary. Little Fish held tightly to Grannie's neck as we walked past the dogs, and clung on firmly as we entered the cat yard. This is an amazing place. At first glance, you think "that's a lot of cats", as you notice half a dozen feeding from the same dish. Then you notice another half dozen feeding from another dish. And another two or three under the shed. And twelve in the shed. And twenty sitting on the roof. And then another four sitting on the unopened cans of food. Then you go into the stable bit, and see some baskets with blankets in. And then the blankets move, and purr, and you realise there are another dozen in the room with you. And the little chicken wire box buzzes, and you realise there are twenty kittens all curled up together on a shelf in another little room. Everywhere you look, eyes look back at you, the walls wobble as cats make themselves known. Sorry; I forgot to take photos.
We talked to the cat lady about our needs, and she talked about the 150 cats currently housed by the sanctuary. We settled on two cats. Again, no photos. We will pick the cats up next weekend, and there will be photos then. In the meantime, a description.
The first cat is an elderly cat. He is grey, and looks like a puff of smoke from a damp campfire. Long hair with a floaty tail. A small cat with a lot of fluff and a giant purr. He's an old man with a heart condition, and will need to take pills every day - but apparently likes to take them with corned beef. Excellent; we like eccentricity here. He was very calm, very friendly without being at all pushy. And Little Fish looked at him from her perch on Grannie's hip and said "that my cat". She didn't want to touch him, but she didn't want to run gibbering from the room either.
The second cat is younger, and not so beautiful at the moment. He is suffering from stress (if I was sharing a room with 149 others I might be too), and so has bald patches. But he too was beautifully calm and very content to curl up on a cushion all day and watch the world go by. He is a beautiful ginger cat.
We looked at other cats, many other cats. But these two were the ones who stood out as right for our family; I hope we are the right family for them too.
Oh their names?
Come Back and Go 'Way. I particularly like the idea of the Come Back Cat.
*angling? catling? not pussyfooting around, anyway.