Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cleopatra, Coming At Ya

The death of Henley [] was a hard blow. While it appears I'm incapable of living with another person, I'm also incapable of living by myself. Two days after Henley's passing saw me becoming fractious. A house without a cat just isn't right.

I began to make inquiries. Kittens, how hard could it be to find one?! Very.... The large charities wanted a chunk of loot and to make home visits. Bear in mind I was looking for a cat, not trying to adopt a Chinese baby, I thought this was all a tad excessive. So I put the word out on the kitten black market, and was led to a small female black cat, a couple of months old.

She was laying on the floor in a chavvy corner of the region, trying to ignore the chaos around her as a dozen other animals  screeched around the house. A very cool cat, that twenty quid saw me and The Editor drive away with.

The Naming Of Cats is a very serious business. Not least to avoid standing on the doorstep calling for "Fluffy Bunnykins". With her large ears, triangular face, my new cat was obviously a Cleopatra. Not that she ever answers to it.

Many months on, and Cleo remains a dainty cat. She has developed her little quirks - crapping in my bath and nuzzling my armpit - but she is perceptive and kind. When I have a bad night, it's not unknown for Cleo to climb into bed with me and stretch herself out down the length of my spine, purring. Cleo is a Good Thing. She even has her own Twitter account, @TheJusticeCat and is a minor scourge of trolls and radical feminists.

Kittens don't remain kittens for long, and a couple of months ago Cleo began rolling around under hedges with various suitors. And then she grew fatter. And fatter. And lazier. Until a few days ago her favourite spot was on my kitchen worktop, above the fridge and next to the kettle.

Now, she is hidden away in a corner in my bedroom. The Editor and I prepared a lot of nests for her to choose from, so obviously Cleo picked a random binliner full of dirty clothes to give birth. But she was extremely clever. Early one morning, Cleo began to climb all over me and nuzzling my face. I woke and gave her lots of fuss, but she kept walking away. She did this repeatedly, with ever more determination, until I roused myself to follow her. Only when it was clear hat I knew where she was nesting did Cleo settle down to give birth.

I was more worried than she was, poor thing. Between us we didn't have a clue. Instinct kicked in, and we are now proud possessors of four kittens: one silver tabby, two black, and one that seems to be flirting with the idea of being grey. Just three days old they remain in the box I moved them to, piled in a heap or attached to Cleo. And she is very cool, only purring when I pet her, and making no complaint if I pick up one of the wriggling furballs.

One kitten will remain here, company for mum, and the rest will go to good homes. If I am fortunate, and if Cleo stops sitting in the middle of the road, we should be keeping each other company for many years.

Cleopatra. Coming at ya.