I grew up with dogs and have always considered myself a doggy person. When I first moved in with Jon he had a cat – a very charming tom called Tom! He died of old age on 7 July 2005, the day of the London bombings. A couple of years before Tom died we had acquired a second cat. It was not intentional. A girlfriend of my eldest stepson came to stay for a night or two while she looked for somewhere more permanent to live. Among the baggage she brought with her was a small bundle of fur called Fluppet. The girlfriend ended up staying for about a year. When she left she left Fluppet behind and her name changed to Tinkerbelle.
In June 2012 I noticed a slight swelling on her jaw and over the next week or so it got bigger. When I took her to the vet, I was expecting them to say she had an abscess but they said she had a cancerous tumour. It turned out to be a very aggressive tumour that grew rapidly. She was a very young cat when she came to live with us and I estimate that she was only 10 years old when she died 10 weeks later. The last couple of weeks, and especially the last weekend, were traumatic. She could no longer close her mouth and could only eat if I hand fed her, pushing soft food beyond the lump. She dribbled continuously and the fur on her throat and chest became sticky and matted. And, obviously, she lost a lot of weight. She looked frightful but, apart from the lump, she remained healthy and lively right up to the last weekend.
We were not sure if we wanted to get another pet but decided we would definitely not get one immediately. Every so often I would browse the websites of local cat sanctuaries but always convinced myself that I didn’t want another cat. I think I knew I was kidding myself and had subconsciously written a check list of what I was looking for. I wanted 2 cats, preferably two that needed to be re-homed together. I didn’t want kittens but nor did I want them to be too old, somewhere between 6 months and 3 years would be ideal. I wanted boys and they had to be house trained. And I didn’t want black and white cats – most of the cats in the neighbourhood are black and white and I wanted something different. It had been easy to tell myself I didn’t want another cat because nothing that fit my criteria came up. And then suddenly two pairs of cats came up on the same day. Two days later we went to meet them.
The first two, Jack and Max, were very much like Tinkerbelle, long paired and beautiful. They were 18 month old brothers. Their owner had died and they had been living with her nephew who was not interested in them. When he took them to the sanctuary they were slightly traumatised and rather shy. We thought that they would be quite content living in our quite household.
The other two were completely different - short haired, lively and inquisitive. Although they came as a pair, they are not brothers. One is 18 months old, the other 10-12 months old. We thought that they would enjoy our garden and the neighbouring school grounds.
I was totally torn between them, but in the end we decided to offer Fizzy and Fuzzy a home and they seem to be very happy with that arrangement. They will get new names but for now they are called The Boys. And I am really enjoying having them around (even though they are seriously eating into my stitching time!)
P.S. Jack and Max were re-homed the same day and are reported to have settled in nicely.