If somebody had told me last Sunday that seven days later I’d be blogging about a new addition to the family I’d have said, ‘You’ve lost the plot.’ Instead, it turns out to be me who’s lost the plot. How else could I have agreed, on the spur of the moment, to throw the door open to an eight week old scrap of feline fluff. We have a beagle for goodness sake!
Perhaps it was because my daughter caught me unawares. At the time I was deep in thought bashing out ‘misery writing’. I’m currently venturing into unchartered waters writing ‘seriously’ with The Ex Factor. My mood, as a result, was down. What’s the quickest way to elevate the blues? Swap The Ex Factor for The Ah Factor. Eleanor walked into my study. ‘Look at this,’ she said. An iPad was thrust in my face. Filling the screen was a little black and white face with a tiny pink nose. ‘Ahhhhh,’ I cooed. It would take the hardest heart not to respond similarly. I grabbed the iPad and found Mr V. ‘Look at this,’ I parroted my daughter. Whereupon the iPad was batted away and Mr V said, ‘No, I’m looking at this.’ His football team on the telly of course. Perhaps it was also because of my husband’s reaction. Certainly I found myself experiencing a surge of rebellion. I flounced out of the lounge and back to my study. ‘Can we have it?’ Eleanor pounced on me. ‘Of course!’ I purred. Pouncing and purring. It was a sign...
Eleanor was in raptures. Also thoroughly confused. How had she managed to pull this off without a major battle of wills? But she didn’t stop to analyse it. Just got straight on the blower to her school friend. ‘My mother’s agreed. Yes, I’m sure. I have no idea why. Just stick a reserved sign on its head. We’re coming over. Yes, now.’
I abandoned my writing, picked up my purse and we drove to Pets At Home, the creature equivalent of Westfield. Any animal worth its salt will have a field day in there if given free licence with its owner’s wallet. Half an hour later we’d picked up a pink pet carrier, pink feeding bowls, pink litter tray, pink collar (yes, it was going to be a girly moggy whether it liked it or not), fluffy basket, scratching post, toy, kitten milk and food. We left clutching a mile long receipt and an appointment card with the in-house vet for worming, vaccination and micro-chipping. Eleanor shot me an anxious look. ‘You are definitely feeling okay aren’t you Mum?’ ‘Never better,’ I assured whilst mentally thinking that Manchester United had an awful lot to answer for.
When Mr V came home he was greeted by the family hound that was a gibbering wreck. ‘Woof woof woof woof woof woof’, said the dog. Translation: ‘Have you any idea what’s been going on here while you’ve been out? They’ve only gone and got a CAT.’ ‘Geddoff,’ said Mr V and locked the dog in the utility room. Whereupon my daughter, clutching the new arrival, greeted her step-father. Mr V froze. ‘What is that?’ he spluttered. ‘Meow meow meow meow meow meow,’ said the kitten. Translation: Fancy not having enough brain cells to recognise what I am. You must be a Manchester United Supporter.’
The kitten was then named. Several times over. She started off as Jingle, became Belle, then Jingle-Belle, Flora, Ivy, Whisky, Brandy, Holly, Molly and Folly. At one point we liked them all and pondered whether to call her, for short, JBFIWBHMF. But we couldn’t pronounce it. Folly was probably the most apt considering the madness of it all, but at exactly the same time my daughter and I cried Dolly! So Dolly it is.
The dog remains unimpressed. Especially as I’ve accidentally called her Puss a few times instead of Pooch. Introductions between feline and canine house occupants are progressing. The kitten has remained as cool as a cucumber throughout. Not so the dog who initially went to pieces. Day One she barked herself hoarse. Day Two was better. No bark. But possibly because her vocal cords had seized up. Day Three she just looked brow-beaten. Day Four, she walked off in disgust.
So there you have it. We now have a cat. Which reminds me. What is a cat’s favourite movie? The Sound of Meow-sic...