Family Pets. A Good Thing?

I’m thinking about getting a cat.

You’ll note that I said ‘I’m thinking’ and not ‘We’re thinking’. The boy isn’t quite there, but he’s the closest I’ve seen him yet.

And I know my mother in law will be reading this shouting ‘Noooo! Don’t do it!’ She hates cats. When we visited my sister’s house once I could see her stiffen as Pepper entered the room. Pepper sensed her fear, likes a challenge, and jumped straight up on her lap to say hi.

My sister’s cat Pepper is pretty near my perfect cat; independent but not aloof, enjoys a cuddle, loves toast and last week ate my niece’s homework, no joke.

I’ve been thinking about it since we moved house to a more rural setting. But after spending a bit of time with my family’s pets the other day it’s reminded me how nice it can be. I watched as Little P stroked Pepper so gently, whispered to her and followed her in and out of different rooms. She hung herself round Stella and Rosie’s necks, my Mum’s lanky rescue greyhounds, kissing their wet noses.

Miss L is less sure but she’s being somewhat shamed into being more brave by her little sister. And this makes me think even more that it’d be a good idea.

When I was growing up my family weren’t huge on pets but we’ve had a few. I’m probably more of an animal liker than a lover. I don’t approve of dog clothes and don’t do animal kisses. It’s not kissing, its licking. And we all know what else they lick.

1. Brig

A cairn terrier with a rotten arse, all he did was fart. And sleep. And fart.

We got him as a puppy when my parents were together, us sneaky females went out and bought him unbeknownst to my Dad and placed him at the door to the living room. Brig waddled in and pissed on the carpet.

Bless him, he was very sweet but had some incredibly unsavoury habits included humping the draft excluder and eating cat poo from the litter tray. Cat litter would stick to his moustache, dead give away, and he’d be all like ‘What? It wasn’t me.‘

He’d frequently get poo stuck to his kilt-like undercarriage that’d need cut out. My Mum, sister and I would draw straws for who’d get the head end, tail end or the scissors. Oh the humiliation for poor Brig.

When my parents seperated and we moved to a flat with no garden, we all agreed it wasn’t fair to keep him. We re-homed him with a farmer and the little shit never even glanced back as he ran off with his new owner.

2. George

My sister’s hamster named after her sweetheart Mr Michael.

His heart finally gave up after one too many games of Ball of Fear where we’d put in him plastic exercise ball and encourage Brig to chase it, batting it along with his nose. My sister was distraught but my Dad promised her that he would make sure he gave George a proper burial, leave it to me he said.

Unluckily for him it was winter so when she looked out the back window she saw his foot prints in the snow leading from the kitchen step to the dustbin where George lay wrapped in a piece of toilet paper.

3. Gable and Monroe

My birthday presents, bought during my obsession for old black and white movies, two rescue cats that were sold to my gullable Mum as an inseparable BOGOF deal, ‘Cannae split them up Hen, they’re like brother and sister’.

In reality Gable couldn’t give a toot about Monroe. He’d pin her down with his paw so he could eat her dinner before starting on his own. Monroe exit stage left.

Gable stayed with us for years, a handsome grey blue short hair with an incredibly loud purr, a mute miaow, he liked to stick his head inside lampshades and lick hot lightbulbs and had a special talent for vomiting.

His top ten of vomiting spots included inside a shoe, over a set of keys, in my jumper hood and from a great height off the kitchen cabinets for maximum surface coverage. One time it hit the open door on the way down, shooting vomit deep into the cooker. But it wasn’t so bad, most of the time Brig and his moustache got there first to clean it up.

I liked Gable very much.

4. Some fish. Names forgotten. But I can remember the burial of one, we placed it’s cold gold body in a small pink plastic soap container and dug a spot in the back garden. 3 weeks later we got curious about what it’d look like and dug it up. It wasn’t fragrant.

So, now I need to start writing my pros and cons list, visiting our local cat rescues and see where we go from there. Key outstanding questions…..

Do you need to have a litter tray?

Is it mandatory to hoover every day once you have a cat? And is it wrong to shave them so they don’t shed hair?

Could we train it to become, eh, top dog in the street so it could beat up the other cats if they poo-ed on our lawn?

And the critical one. What would we call it? Current favourite with the girls is ‘Pink’. Oh yes, I can just see that.

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