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.


  1. I like reading Ben's blog --always interesting and challenging stuff. But he's spread a bit thin if you don't do those twitter facebook things.

    This one is great ..

    try it

  2. yes, i'm following alex cavendish too! take a look at

  3. @AdamMacBlog on Twitter

  4. Thank you for the ref to Adam Mac, I've bookmarked it for a later read. All good!

    Alex Cavendish's work is a refreshing and interesting read ---and so comprehensively done that I'm hoping he won't run out of topics ....probs not though (it's a massive area). The veil of ignorance around the whole prison thing isn't helping anyone ..although I suppose the reinforcement of nasty prejudices done routinely by the rest of the media does help legions of a certain type of folks to be 'happier'.

    Oh well. I'm just glad there's a few brave souls dispelling the myth (and not being shy about it either).

  5. Congratulations Ben! Now please do the decent thing and have both Cleo and her resident offspring spayed/neutered.

  6. Long may you both reign.

  7. ~ 20 000 cats are euthanised every year in the UK due to cat overpoplation. Congratulations on Cleo's litter, but you should spay your cat.

  8. Hey, I just started writing my own prison blog. I was a federal prison camp for two years.