Monday, 28 January 2013


I am not a pet person. I was raised amongst animals - my sister had a Cocker Spaniel and a plethora of semi-wild farm cats. But aside from sharing a couple of goldfish with my siblings, I have never had any pets.

I have managed to maintain this happy situation for nearly forty years. I do not mind animals, but have never felt any desire to get a pet, the practical elements always outweighing any pet-related urges. What do I do when I go on holiday? Will I be a good owner? Can I face cleaning up after them?

Sencan is exactly the opposite. Her childhood home was filled with cats, and her mother collected a menagerie of semi-feral street cats that she still feeds to this day. My wife loves cats, heart and soul.

Last Saturday afternoon, Sencan got a call from out neighbour, saying a cat had been wandering up and down the street, trying to get into houses out of the snow. After watching it for an hour, he let it into the warm. Sadly it did not get on with his cat, so he wanted to know if we could help.

Sencan almost ran next door, and a few minutes later we had an eight-month old cat roaming around. It seemed reasonably well-kept and knew its way around a house - it was soon racing up and down stairs, and found its way into Sencan's lap within a few minutes.

The cynic in me kept well away for a while, but within a couple of hours I was playing with it. It slept downstairs with a kitty-litter tray provided by our neighbour, and in the morning I let it upstairs as I worked in my study. Within half an hour I had abandoned my work and was playing with the cat. In the process it walked over my keyboard and found a debug mode in Google Chrome that I did not know existed. How could I not like it?

Mid-morning, our neighbour came around with a travel-case and took it to the excellent Wood Green Animal Shelter. Since then, it has been successfully rehoused.

I was amazed to find that I missed the cat. It had only been in our lives for eighteen hours, and yet it had firmly inveigled itself into our household. Added to this was a regret and sorrow for a family somewhere nearby who had lost a kitten.

How can such a little ball of fluff change my mind so quickly?

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