We used to have cats

DSCF0487I am not a cat person, by a long margin. We did not have any when I was a kid and what I did see of them in other people’s homes did nothing for me. I have long regarded them as parasites. I like dogs. We had dogs when I was a kid.

For many years it was impractical for us to have a dog. As I felt the kids were missing out on the experience of having pets, I relented and agreed (suggested in fact, as no one else would have dared) to get a cat.

We acquired a used model that we decided to call Kirtsie. A very healthy, cautious and smart example of the species who we discovered over time had something in common with me. She did not like cats either. We discovered this when we acquired a second cat.

The cats survived the move from our small home in Caterham to our oversized ex-farmhouse in Shropshire. In fact, Kirtsie thrived in the space and the convenient hunting grounds. The other sadly died within a short time from a hereditary disease. We decided to get some more cats. We acquired new models, too young, and riddled with ring worm. That was fun. I have these horrid memories of these rat like creatures (they had to be shaved) with sharp claws that would cling to us and crawl up towards our heads whenever we ventured near their medical confinement (the downstairs bathroom). Belatedly realised that the room was too cold for them. Eventually, they recovered and took to the environment happily. Kirtsie ignored them as well.

DSCF0463 On a rare drunken night out with my wife, we decided it was time we got a dog to give the kids the very different experience to these as pets compared to cats.

We obtained an excellent medium sized dog from what is now know as the Dog Trust. She turned out to be extremely good with all of the cats, children (used by several parents to cure their kids of their dog fears – rather than cautions), and people in general.

DSCF0452 Through illness and an uneven battle with a car, both of the newer cats passed on. We think this made Kirtsie happy. (“Two down, one to go was my catch-phrase for a while.”) She was less happy when a second dog appeared to keep our first dog company.

In trials, she had seemed to stand her ground so it was not expected that there would be problems with the second dog. However, over a short period the new dog become bolder and chased her a few times and she backed down (at one point ending up in the rafters of our bedroom when it was being refurbished) – the dog made it to pretty high section of the scaffolding.

Shortly after, she left. She popped back a few times but did not stay. For the next year or so, the kids you see her near their school and sometimes she would go over and say hello, but she had clearly found a new home.

So, we now have two dogs. Funny how some things work out.

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