Childhood pets

Seal-point Siamese kitten

This week’s Theme Game is on the topic of ‘animals’ and those who know me well know that I’m not much into the non-humans but that wasn’t always the case…

When I was about 11 my parents decided to get a family pet. It turns out that there was only ever going to be one type of animal for our family given our feline surname and off we went to the breeder of pedigree cats in Catford (I know, you couldn’t make it up, right?!) to pick up our adorable little Siamese Seal point kitten, Ginny (named after my Mum’s grandma who I never met).

It seems absurdly quickly that the folks were whipping the poor girl off to the stud (I think they had it in mind to make some money themselves from the breeding process) and, hey presto, one very pregnant pusscat was suddenly waddling around the house, looking for places to nest and prepare for the birth of her own kittens.

One morning before school, we found her giving birth under the kitchen table, making some unearthly noises. We relocated her somewhere more appropriate and she went on to give birth to four little kittens that day, one of which didn’t survive. The other three very soon made their personalities known. The two girls were named Flora (the Explorer) and Fauna, and the boy was (Timid) Timmy. They were the cutest little darlings, and gave us many hours of entertainment with their antics which included scaling the living room curtains (spider-cat, spider-cat…) and equally scaling my poor Nana’s dressing gown (with her in it!). Timmy also bonded with my dad (outnumbered by girls 6-3 if you include my grandfather), and loved to jump up on his shoulders while he ate his breakfast like some sort of fur stole which would occasionally spring to life by trying to nick a spoonful of Shredded Wheat before it reached his mouth. He also loved it when I would share a packet of Hula Hoops with him after school.

Of course my parents never got around to selling any of them on – my sister and I begged them not to!

From the beginning I knew that my favourite of the kittens was Flora – she was so intrepid, such a character and she had the most amazing 90 degree kink to the end of her tail. Sadly, her little life was cut short at the age of about 16 months when she ventured out onto the main road and got hit by a car. This was a true life lesson in grief for me. When my Nana broke the news to us as we returned from school, I’ll never forget the anguish. I locked myself in the bathroom for what seemed like hours and wept.

Fauna was the one who was the least interesting, personality-wise – the most like a bog-standard mog. She was abnormally chubby for a slinky Siamese (workmen used to shout “when are the kitten’s due?”) and she tended to annoy her own family by coming along and sitting on their heads (the most comfortable spot apparently!) or eating their food. Ironically she went on to outlive them all, making it to the ripe old age of about 17 or 18 if I remember rightly.

I’ve never had a pet since and the very thought of it sends shivers down my spine – The mess! The expense! The responsibility! Sometimes I feel guilty that my children are growing up without being given the opportunity to bond with a little furry being, but the hubster hates cats and I am certainly no big fan of dogs. I was always scared of dogs – and to this day I’m still nervous of big dogs or those breeds with a bad reputation. JJ is also very nervous around dogs. On the other hand I’m really quite happy to be pet free and there is always time later in the kids’ childhood for them to express an interest of their own. For now I get my fix from visiting my sister’s household where her two Tonkinese, Suky and Beany, bring the love!

 

The Reading Residence

19 thoughts on “Childhood pets

  1. Ooh, I remember when our dog ran off with the boy from the petrol station down the road and gave us all 7 surprises! I’m afraid I love dogs and am biding my time until I think my little boy is old enough to cope with a dog around the home. Not that I’ve told my husband that yet, so shhhhh! He’s not keen. Anyway,my our cats sound lovely and how lucky you were to keep the,-we weren’t allowed to keep any of my dog’s puppies sadly. Thank you for sharing with #TheThemeGane

  2. We had 4 cats growing up and while they were lovely in some ways, for the most part they did my head in! The rest of my family loves cats and both my brothers and my parents have cats now too. But me, oh no. Hubby and I are not pet people for all the reasons you mention. I like cats, and dogs but don’t want any myself. I had fish but i seemed to keep killing them (oops). Hubs and I have talked about bunnies or something when the kids are older, but I don’t exactly love the idea!! 🙂 Loved reading about your childhood pets and glad to hear I’m not the only pet avoider out there 🙂 xx #thethemegame

    • I am soooo relieved that I’m not alone on the pet avoidance too Caroline!! I find dogs smelly, hairy, slobbery – not to mention the fact that I’ve got quite enough poo to wipe up in my life without having to scoop a steaming pile up off the pavement every day thank you! I’ve also heard bad things about pet insurance – how you get ripped off. No thank you. And as for people having pets sleeping in bed with them…*shudders*!

  3. I’ve suffered the grief of a cat being run over and it never goes away. Funnily I have a cat that sounds very much like Fauna and he’s now 9 years old and still going

  4. You reminded my that our cat Lady had kittens just before we moved. We had her, 5 kittens and the tortoise in the car driving up from Surrey to Oxfordshire – that was an interesting journey!! #TheThemeGame

    • That does sound like a very interesting journey! I’ll never forget packing Timmy up into his basket to take him to the vet – he used to make a very OW-WOW-WOW-WOW sound and I’m sure my dad got a few strange looks carrying this noisy vibrating basket up the high street!

  5. We have cat (for mice in the countryside) and I walk my neighbour’s dog occasionally but yes pets are a lot of work and it’s refreshing to see someone being honest about this – no point in making a commitment to an animal that needs care and love if this is not practical for your life.

    I am also scared of some animals. Even dogs and horses!

    • Dogs and horses are the worst Denise! (for me!) I am the absolute antithesis of a horsey girl! My husband’s ex on the other hand lives and breathes for her life at the stables – and I just think, ‘weirdo’! 😉

      • Chinese people aren’t really into animals. I am always polite and nodding when people enthuse about theirs, but it’s not really in my genes to understand. I do like my neighbour’s Jack Russell though – doesn’t jump up, very obliging and always pleased to see me.

        • My husband had a jack russell, Charlie, who was a wire haired variety – very cute – he lived with his parents but came over to us for sleepovers! I have to admit that his bloomin fur stuck to everything though and I used to spend an age trying to hoover my sofa! I think I must have some sort of Chinese in me then – born on the 8th of the 8th – very lucky so I’m told…

  6. We enjoyed having pets but so sad when they pass away, we miss our Cat Billy every day and have decided no more pets, like you mess, expense and ultimately emotion of losing them a bit too much for us.

  7. We had pets at home when I was growing up and I loved them but losing them was so awful! We barely have space for all of us in our house, so pets are not an option. We enjoy them in other people’s homes, too! x Mel #TheThemeGame

  8. It’s heart breaking when a family pet goes to pet heaven isn’t it? But on a lighter note, I love the image conjured up of the cat wrapping itself around like a stole ‘nicking shredded wheat’!
    #TheThemeGame

  9. It’s always the uninteresting lazy ones that do well! We always had loads of pets growing up – always a family dog and then at various times, rabbits, hamsters, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, fish, tortoises, terrapins, birds and stick insects! It taught me well about grief early on in life, and taught me that there’s lots of responsibility with pets! We’ve now got a dog and fish. When our nearly 9 year old hound dies, we won’t have another. It is hard work, though I do like that the kids are comfortable around animals. We’ll never have cats as both the husband and I are allergic to them. We will see if the kids ask for pets as they grow up…..! Thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame x

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