Cats have always been a huge part of our family. Growing up, I have fond memories of chasing E’s black and white queen, Babes, round the garden at my Nan’s house. I was totally in love with her soft fur and feline features. The feeling was not mutual: Babes didn’t like humans that much, least of all my gentle giant grandfather, Lloydie. Her favourite game was to hide under the bed in the back bedroom of my Nan’s house, as this where the warm water pipes ran under the floorboards, and my poor Lloydie was always at the receiving end of her claws when trying to coax her out.
We eventually got our own family cat: Barbara. She was a long-haired tortoiseshell, rescue cat and we loved her to pieces, even when she’d swipe us between strokes of the grooming brush! I once gave myself a black eye and a cartoon-like, egg-sized bump on the head when she got caught under my feet as I was rushing to a ballet class. In my attempt to not hurt poor Barbara, I tried gracefully to jetté over her. This would’ve saved the day, had I not been in a pair of silk ballet slippers on a tiled floor. I went headfirst into the wall in front of me, but Barbie was completely unscathed, thank goodness.
After Barbara, we adopted two moggies, a brother and sister, (supposedly – they certainly fought like siblings) called Tyler and Marmite. Regular readers will be familiar with Tyler. We’re lucky enough to still have our cheeky, noisy tom-cat with us and he’s been invaluable to my family this lockdown, providing E with no end of hilarity, meowing and scratching at her office door the minute she logs on to Zoom.
Marmite was devoted to my younger brother, Will. She following him around all day and slept at the foot of his bed each night. Very poignantly, and massively upsettingly, Marmite died on Will’s 18th birthday. We always say she guided Will to adulthood and then departed; she was his Familiar – or daemon, for any Philip Pullman fans – and passed on when her work was done.
Once Vince and I moved into our new home, with its enclosed garden and surrounding countryside, we just knew the time was right for us to expand the fur family. The lockdown has made the adoption process a little trickier than usual – demand for cats and dogs has rocketed – and the brilliant team at Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, Old Windsor guided us each step of the way.
We filled in an online application in January, once I realised that I wouldn’t be travelling anywhere for work for the foreseeable future. Following that, we had a phone call with Battersea to find out what we could offer our pet and also what we were looking for from life with our adopted pet. And then we waited, perhaps a little longer than in pre-Covid days, but it was so worth it and the bit of patience we had to have paid off. We found out on Mother’s Day that Chip was looking for a new home and Battersea felt he’d be the perfect addition to our family. A couple of days later, which gave us the chance to buying out the whole of the cats section at Pets At Home, Chip arrived!
Since then, we’ve mainly spent the week having lots of strokes and treats as Chip gets used to his new forever-home. We had a whole host of potential cat names. Ronnie, Salem, Binks, Sid, Bloomberg were the front-runners but the moment we met Chip, we decided to keep his given name as it suited him so well.
I’m sure they’ll be plenty more Chip content to follow on our Instagram but for now, we’re looking forward to celebrating his 3rd birthday at the beginning of next month, alongside Vince’s 32nd!
If you’re thinking about adding a fur baby to your family, I can’t recommend Battersea enough. The process is very transparent and the extra support they provide you and your new pet is amazing. And if I may recommend a breed, “rescue moggy” has always been my personal favourite. ~L.