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!