In my last blog on the subject of pets, I told you about Jason the rabbit and my brother’s guinea pig Brandy, AKA “Squeaker”. It is high time that I told you about some of the cats in my life.
We mainly stuck with rodents as pets when I was a girl, but later on, when I was a law student, I did “adopt” a cat. A friend and I were sharing a flat and the girl in the flat below us had a cat which she didn’t look after properly. We started to feed him and he became “one of us.”
His name was Thomas.
He was big and black, and very strong and resourceful. He could stand on his hind legs and open the fridge, so we had to start taping the door up with Sellotape.
He would sit on my lap while I was eating and continually edge his chin over the side of the bowl. I would push him back down but he would soon return. I often gave in and let him eat the last bit. He especially liked tinned rice pudding and fruit cake.
Thomas liked to sit on the cupboard behind my chair while I was at my desk brailling my lecture notes. He would put a paw on my shoulder and lean over as if he was reading my work. He also liked to sleep on my floor cushion, which was often propped up in front of a glass-fronted cabinet. The door of the cabinet didn’t shut properly and he would lie there, casually batting the door with his paw. I was often awakened at night by the gentle, thump, thump of the cabinet door banging.
Thomas’ other hobby was playing with wrapping paper. He just loved it. I remember Christmas in the flat, with me kneeling on the floor trying to wrap presents, and Thomas on his back, with his legs in the air, rolling happily to and fro in the middle of the wrapping paper.
Perhaps his most annoying habit was sitting bang in the middle of my bed. I would find him there each night when I wanted to go to sleep. I would try to edge ever so carefully into the bed so as not to disturb him but just when I thought I had achieved this feat, he would decide to get up and walk off in a huff.
I don’t have a cat myself any more, but fortunately my family have continued to keep them over the years. My brother and sister-in-law currently have two cats. One purrs so loudly that I can hear him all the way from Leicester! (Well, down the phone actually, but he certainly makes himself heard.) The other is a champion hunter with a taste for frogs. When she isn’t littering the house with dead amphibians, she proudly offers gifts of dead leaves.
My sister and brother-in-law used to have a lovely rescue cat called Maggie, who had the softest fur I have ever stroked. She had been raised entirely by humans and so didn’t know she was actually a cat. She couldn’t groom herself but for some reason she did groom me. When I stayed there she would lie on my chest and let me cuddle her like a teddy bear while she combed my hair with her claw.
Maggie also liked to sleep on my bed at night. Whenever she got thirsty, she would try and drink from my glass of water on the bedside table. One night, reaching over me to get to the glass, she put her paw on my talking alarm clock and accidentally set it off. I’m not sure which of us jumped most when a voice in the dark suddenly announced that it was 12:30 AM!