Catitude

I’ve always believed our cat to be indifferent.

He bleats at us when he wants something, laps us when it suits him or sits on us and stares until we get up so he can take the chair. Sure, he purrs and loves a scratch but he prefers to initiate affection. Sometimes he disappears to the other end of the house, finds something free from fur to sleep on and we don’t see him all evening.  Don’t pick him up. It’s taken me eight years to hold a thirty-second cuddle before he starts to wriggle.

We got him, aged two, from the local cat rescue centre. He was a small and anxious cat and contrary to every ‘how to choose your cat’ book, we chose the only cat at the centre that didn’t approach us.

‘Which cat have you decided to take?’

When the centre’s manager asked this question, my husband was getting head butted by a large, furry tortoiseshell from the beam above his head. I had just been pinned to the ground by a tiny black and white female with four others cats circling around me. And we pointed to the wide-eyed black and white cat, crouched underneath the chair in the corner.

‘Really?’

Yes, really.

He’s always been an independent cat. He’s always been more interested in food than human company.  With this in mind, when we found we were able to travel overseas for six weeks, we decided to board our cat at a cattery. At eleven years old, we didn’t wish to put him through too much stress so we boarded him at a place that gave him his own tiny room with a window. He had no direct contact with other cats and access to a outside cat-run at certain times of the day.

While on holiday, we followed up with the business owner and she assured us he’d found a routine and settled in well.

The day we collected him, he was an eye viewing us from his cat cave. He appeared to recognise our voices more than our faces but we still couldn’t get him out of his cat cave, his claws fixed hard into the lining of his bed. I was forced to upend his bed and let gravity do the work for us.

This was the welcome we were expecting really. He meowed in the car all the way home. A different meow to his usual, probably a swear word he’d picked up from another cat at the centre.

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As soon as we got him home and opened his carry case, he was out. He was purring, he was head butting our legs. He trotted around the house in an excited ‘I remember this!’ fashion. Room to room.

My parents came over for a catch up. The cat usually leaves as soon as anyone arrives as he can’t stand the noise but he stayed, head butting and purring. The first couple of days he followed us around. Every time we sat down he jumped onto our laps.

HUSBAND: Who are you and what have you done with our cat!?

ME: I think we broke him.

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