Happy birthday my beautiful beautiful boy……..8 years ago this wonderful naughty, sometimes smelly but always beloved cat mended a very broken heart……after my last cat passed away I was so full of grief, she’d been such a cherished companion, full of cuddles and comfort when my dad died, and helping me through a stage of my life that had left me feeling bewildered and ill and really not able to cope with a situation I didn’t want to be in……..she was so vocal and sing songy, all prurps, chirps and squeeky mews….she used to like sleeping under a gas heater ’til her fur smelt scorchy and I’d have to move her, she was a lap stretcher outer and although she had no teeth she was always on the rotund side. She used to snore really loudly (over the telly!) and her tummy smelt of Weetabix and warm milk.
When she passed I said that was it, my heart felt so torn and empty and I cried and cried and cried…that was on a Monday, by Friday I found myself looking at cats on the local animal shelter’s website….not because I had stopped loving her but, I hope this makes sense, because I’d loved her so so much that I still had all this cat love in my heart, and no where to channel it.
After a few more weeks of just looking, me and my boyfriend went to the animal shelter and there I met a rather whiffy, dreadlocked and dirty cat called Brutus… I asked if I could pet him and when his door was opened he leapt into my arms, rubbed himself against me (he was an un-neutered tom so I totally reeked), and purred so loudly. I started crying (I’m a bit daft when it comes to animals) because I just loved him straight off…….after a home check I went back the following week and bought home a rather different looking cat (he’d had his operation but had also been shaved as his fur was so matted and tangled and fur sausage-y so looked most peculiar with a furry head and tail and then had a haircut that looks like your mum has done it). We changed his name to Bernard because he made me think of Bernard Cribbins, all whiskery and grey and mutton choppy.
That first night he waited at the bottom of the stairs ’til we called him up, he galloped up into the bedroom, jumped onto the bed and after a quick prod of the covers, settled himself down with a long sigh and the start of a lullaby of purring and paddy paws against my side.
We think he was 3 when he came into our life so he’s 11 now and is still incredibly kitteny…he loves crochet blankets and balls of wool are pounced on and played with…he’s also a cheap date and likes chasing round a ball of scrunched paper….favourite foods are broccoli (he’ll jump up and pinch it off our plates) the soft inside of brioche or croissants, mini cheddar biscuits and Whiskers Temptations or cheap cat treats from the market (they smell horrific like scampi Nik Naks but he loves them)…he’s a milk-jug-paw-dipper and stares right at you when he’s being naughty……now he’s getting older he’s become proper windy, sometimes there’s a trumpety sound mostly we just get “treated” with a nose wrinkling aroma”……..
He doesn’t like being brushed, he’ll just about tolerate it if he’s fed treats while the other one of us carefully brushes his coat. He loves being coased and stoked and paid attention to. He’s very good at supervising and generally when my sewing table is full of carefully laid out patchwork pieces he’ll jump up and re-arrange it to suit himself…or will throw wool or pin cushions onto the floor to make room enough to stretch himself out so he can watch me working.
He’s pretty sociable and when we have guests he rubs round their legs, will even jump onto their laps (especially if they sit near where his treats are kept)……he likes tummy rubs during the night, this involves us getting up, half stumble down the stairs just to coo and fuss round him, rub his tummy, then we’ll be ignored while he buries his nose in his food bowl. Quite why he does this is a mystery, but then he’ll come back upstairs, jump on the bed and settle down all cuddled up next to me and I fall back asleep to the soft vibration of his purr.
But who’s this pink nosed poppet? We have new neighbours and although I can’t remember the peoples names, their cats are called Bob and Izzy. This little sweetie is Bob (Izzy is a gold and amber eyed, black furred cutie)….they’re only young, 8 months and are both quite curious and keep appearing in our garden. Bernard isn’t quite sure what to make of them and when he’s in the garden spends half his time ignoring them, or chasing Bob who then chases him back. There was a little washing and rubbing of noses so I think a friendship is slowly being formed. Every so often the cat flap makes a noise and when I go to see what it is, there is Bob’s little face peering at the cat window with a “is Bernard coming out to play” expression….I open the door and he bolts up the path then peeks round a flower pot. It’s not a great photo, in real life Bob is so adorable and cute and just …..too too sweet.
Anyway I wanted to write a special piece about my most beloved boy because he totally means the world to me……this dustbin find* kitty is truly magical and although I still miss my “madam oh lait”** he mended a very broken heart.
*yes, he was found in a bin, one of those big catering ones by a take away restaurant and was eating kebabs and chips, pizza…that kind of thing. He now turns his nose up at a lot of cat foods and is a proper fussy eater.
**this was her secret name as all cats have at least three don’t you know.