Names have been changed to protect cats’ identities. They aren’t really called Black Puss and Ginger One but have asked that they stay out of the limelight and I must respect their wishes.
In 2005 we were a happy little family of Mum, Dad, son, one black puss and two stinking fish (read older post).
Black Puss was about six and convinced she was a princess (She still is! She struts like a catwalk model and has retained her looks so well that even at twelve she looks like a kitten).
Son then decided that one cat in the house wasn’t enough so he started ‘Operation Cat’. I must admit I was more than happy to add to our little household, so I became a supporter of his mission.
Hubbie wasn’t over keen on the idea, stating “Think of the food and vet bills!” So he decided to take a ‘safe’ punt to buy some time …
The Ashes were in full swing and, being a full blooded and patriotic Aussie, he told us “If England win the Ashes, we’ll get another cat.”
£125 later we had the new addition to our house. Now I know you might be saying why didn’t you just get a rescue cat? (Indeed Black Puss was). But you see, son and I had sneakily been looking and fallen in love with a pathetic ginger fur ball in the local pet shop - he was the one for us.
So the Ginger One came home with us and hubbie’s first words were “He’s a bit odd-looking isn’t he?” I think he was still smarting from the fact that he’d had to put his hand in his pocket after losing the bet but money wasn’t a problem at the time and he’d been the one to lay down the terms for the deal. Son and I had won, fair and square. We even gave him a cricket-related name to totally rub hubbie’s nose in it but I can’t reveal it for the reasons stated above.
Ginger One could sit in the palm of your hands. He was so tiny and timid. He piddled on our bed on the first night but that was his only ever mishap. I always marvel at how clever mummy cats are to teach their young so much in such a short time. The washing and grooming never ceases to amaze me and I can watch a bathing cat for hours. That’s all been taught to them by their mums before they’re ready to leave the nest … cardboard box … basket or whatever. My son still struggles with picking up a plate or putting the bath towels back on the rail!
As the months went on Ginger One began to grow. He soon outgrew Black Puss (who hates him, to this day - how dare he think he can share her space!) and his personality grew with him. The thing which grew the most though was his tail. It now resembles a fox’s brush and quite literally drags along the floor behind him. Most mornings we’ll wake up to leaves, sticks and half branches he’s managed to drag through the cat flap attached to his back end. He’s known in the neighbourhood for this magnificent appendage and also for the way he fearlessly patrols the streets; no sign of the timid kitten remains.
Before we had his ‘Ginger Nuts’ removed, he had a bit of an obsession with a fluffy snake toy belonging to our son. Said snake was the object of Ginger One’s desire and he’d often ‘make happy time’ with it. We remember with fondness the Christmas morning when Ginger One decided to ‘have knowledge’ of Mrs Snakey (as the toy had now been named) on the black plastic sack we were using for the discarded wrapping. Our son became less and less interested in his presents and more entertained by the live sex education lesson that was playing out before his very eyes. Hubbie and I were just slightly concerned about the use of black plastic for gratification, especially on the day of our Lord’s birth!
Ginger One is most definitely a Cat of Little Brain and I worry constantly about his whereabouts. Black Puss is a clever girl and rarely ventures further than the ‘ladies powder room’ - I told you she was posh! Ginger One will quite happily lie in the middle of our road defying cars to move - thankfully we’re in a cul de sac and everyone knows him and his odd ways.
Thankfully we’ve only ever had one real scare with him. A couple of summers ago he was missing for breakfast in the morning - very odd, we’re talking Garfield proportions here. When he still failed to show at lunchtime, we were distraught. Many trips around the neighbourhood, phone calls to the vet and yet more walking around the area revealed nothing. Then, at about 5pm, the local mini bus filled with elderly folk from the sheltered housing close to us, returned from a trip to the seaside. And into our kitchen sauntered a dehydrated Ginger One, covered in brake oil and burnt on his paws and down one side.
To this day, we have no idea if he had a day trip to Brighton curled up in the engine well of the OAP’s mini bus, but we don’t think he’ll be making the same mistake any time soon.
So that’s how our family became the way it is now. And, in case you’re wondering if hubbie still thinks that Ginger One is a ‘bit odd-looking,’ he can often be heard saying, “You coming up for a cuddle? Oh yes, he’s my big boy … yes he is, yes he is!”
In my novel ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit” there are no cats but a dog of dubious sexuality and a budgie named after Barry Manilow. Go on, give it a go! On Amazon for Kindle or PC. Now also available in paperback at Lulu.