Wednesday, August 12

Andrew Kay: Yak Yak Yak

- February 23, 2016



I am a parent once again. Not of a human of course, that would require so many unavailable factors as to be way beyond a possibility. No, I have once again adopted a rescue animal, this time a cat.

I had recently had a chat with my bestie about getting a beastie. I’ve never subscribed to that whole cat or dog person thing. I am an animal person. I grew up with cats, dogs and budgerigars, well I am northern after all. That does not mean by the way that I grew up with whippets and I have never ever worn a flat cap.
My first pet was a boxer called Judy. Judy was a good name, in later years when asked what things like your prostitute name was, Judy as it happens, it seemed rather suitable.

We had lots of lovely dogs and cats as I grew up and when I moved to Brighton and the time was right I had lots more – including two fabulous Cornish Rex kittens that grew up to be amazing characters.

Then I wanted a dog again, a boxer. I had by that time seen that there was a need to rescue pets that had, for whatever reason, been abandoned. I contacted Boxer Rescue, met the volunteer who appropriately vetted me and my home, and then joined the waiting list.

Some time later Buster arrived and my family was complete again. Buster loved my herd of cats, by that time five and they all slept together in the one basket, how Brighton is that?

Now many years on I have adopted once again. This time an elderly cat called Willow. Willow is half Siamese and half alien and I have had her less than a week. She is of course rather nervous as yet, hardly surprising given the sudden change in her circumstances. But she is already finding her way around my home and has discovered numerous places where she can hide away and give me a nervous breakdown. It’s amazing how well a cat can hide in a small home and even though I know she cannot as yet get out, she did avoid discovery last night for nearly an hour.

Of course cats are wily beasts and this no doubt was her way of punishing for going out for a couple of hours without her permission.

“It’s amazing how well a cat can hide in a small home and even though I know she cannot as yet get out, she did avoid discovery last night for nearly an hour”

She hides in silence, very unnerving, but once discovered she is the noisiest cat I have ever known. Friends tell me that this is typical of Siamese cats so I am not unduly worried by it, but my word what a racket.

She is also a creature of extremes. One minute hiding away and the next climbing up on my knee, then my chest and finally onto my face where she head butts me relentlessly. Willow came with a lot of possessions, bowls, flea combs, trays and the hugest variety of food stuff that you could imagine. She came with frozen fish, luxury sachets of chicken and seafoods and two kinds of dry foods, one for day and would you believe it one for night. It was a daunting selection delivered with the news that she is a fussy eater.

The first night she was very nervous, understandably, but she was less nervous when I offered her some slices of garlic studded leg of lamb. She ate with the enthusiasm of a lion devouring fresh kill. That night she had delicious garlic breath and was comforted that rather than being a fussy eater she was in fact a discerning eater.
Since then she has eaten pretty much everything that I have put down for her and polished off the lot. It does suggest that rather than being a fussy eater this is down to owners being fussy feeders and bless them that probably is born of love.

It’s very early days for Willow and I, and until she is more relaxed in her new home I have decided to keep her. This of course means the horror that is a litter tray. Her previous owners had told me that she is reluctant to use a litter tray and is more likely to use a pot plant. That was a worry and a relief too as I do not have any pot plants. So no alternative “facilities” for Willow.

I put out the tray and she gave it a very wide birth for quite some time, but needs must and eventually I heard the familiar scratching that one associates with catty toilet needs. An hour later I went to inspect and yes, she had used it, and yes, she had scattered the litter withe gay abandon of an aunty at a wedding furnished with confetti. There is a cat flap and it will be put into use ASAP!

All this marks a new era in my life, I’m sixty, single and have become a cat person. I may have to learn how to knit or crochet next, and who knows where that will lead.
Alternatively, you can all continue as usual, and treat me as the degenerate character that I hope I am best known as. Invite me for dinner, out for drinks, to parties… really I’m not old, even with the cat.

A friend on discovering that I was sixty thought that it would make me feel better to know that he was soon to be fifty and that fifty was in fact the forty. I replied that if fifty was the new forty then forty was the new waist measurement. That is not far from the truth either!

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