Saturday, 5 April 2014

My Feline Family

They say you are either a cat person or a dog person - well I'm not sure about that but if I had to choose I think I would probably fall into the cat camp.

I've had cats as pets for most of my life including a hermaphrodite cat my mum named Henry/Henrietta when the vet informed us he/she was a bit of both!
Badger "helping" with the washing

I have vivid memories of loving the tabby we had when I was a toddler maybe a bit too much. Mum has a sinister photograph of me, aged about two looking like a sweet blonde angel following the cat clutching a large poker! She assures me no harm came to Tiggy!

When I met the man who was to become my long suffering hubby I already had a cat - a rather eccentric black and white mob called Morty - or Mortimer after comedian Bob Mortimer. Don't ask - I've always been a bit odd naming things. He was lucky I didn't just call him cat. My stuffed toys weren't so lucky with my less than imaginative  names of "Bunny" "Teddy" and "Tortoise".

Anyway one day not long after we got engaged we were watching that famous American TV show "Cheers". One of the characters Cliff was played by an actor called John Ratzenberger which I observed was a great name. I may have mentioned it would feature highly in my list of names for either my first child or my next cat. Just days later DH took me to choose a rescue cat! Odd....

Ratzenberger (Ratz) lived with us for two decades and was the ditziest cat I've ever met. She couldn't retract her claws which made lap-time less than comfortable but conversely she was incredibly affectionate so we learned to tolerate her loving mutilations. My mum in particular loved Ratz and could endure her kneading and making holes in her thighs longer than any of us.

breakfast time!
 In her later years she became a bit senile (Ratz not my mum!) resulting in scenarios where you would put her food down then go to cupboard to put food away. She would hear cupboard opening and forget all about the food in front of her and think:"Ah! I hear the food cupboard. Must miaow for food!" and we would have to actually then remind her where her already prepared food was!

I say miaow. She couldn't actually make any significant sound so a cat-phobic friend of mine was always convinced Ratz was baring her teeth at her in a sinister way!

Ratz was the perfect pet for a couple starting a family -we were a bit worried about how she would react when we brought our first baby home and did invest in a cat net for the pram and cot but Ratz never tried to get into either and just accepted the new addition with no fuss. As our family grew and grew (and grew!) she endured toddler playtime, visiting friends, being incorporated into imaginative play and never ever scratched, hissed or bit. She was amazingly tolerant.

When she died I didn't think I could cope with having any more cats as we were so upset but heard of firstly one, then another two cats needing urgent homes so now we have three cats- Badger (9) Oscar and Tilly (7)

Badger came first - we called him scabby cat as he has a range of allergies and is not the healthiest-looking cat around! Treatment and love have made huge improvements! DS#3 adores him and they have a strong bond. As soon as my son sits Badger appears and heads for his lap.

Oscar is a big 'ole tomcat who is not light on his feet. And Tilly is a beautiful tabby who loves to lick - as my eldest son discovered when he visited one time, stayed over and woke up in the middle of the night to find her licking his face!

I'm so glad we took them in - with the exception of one of my children who is impervious to the joy of any pet - they are loved by all of us and spoiled rotten. Oscar in particular is a mad character who will pester and pester when he thinks it's time for us to go to bed so he can stretch his not inconsiderable length and weight over our chests or legs. DH and I admitted to each other that we have both been known to put up with being uncomfortable so as not to disturb the cat!

So yes- I'm a cat person I suppose although we have had a dog, fish, rats and about a million Giant African Land Snails after the one we bought turned out to already have been "love-darted!"

Oscar on my bed & on my legs!
It is important to know what you are letting yourself into when you are thinking of getting a pet. I love mine but it does mean you have to think about holidays, food costs, the environment you live in and whether you simply have the time to give a pet the attention it deserves. Definitely worth while reading up or looking for information on the internet before telling the children they can have a kitten!

If you are thinking about getting pet (or even if you already have pets) you might like to check out a new website Your Pet where you can see pictures, get advice, read stories and learn about how to care for a myriad of creatures from budgies to bearded dragons. There's even an online shop where you can buy publications to help you learn all about getting a puppy or kitten or how to look after your cat or dog and will soon stock pet-related gifts.

There are competitions, cute pics and Your Pet TV where you can watch informative and hilarious videos - well worth a visit for that alone!


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are as always honest and my own.

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