This time last year, armed with a newly purchased cat basket and with a cat bed, scratching post and a couple of toys waiting at home, we went to collect two small kittens, a brother and sister abandoned by their mother (we presumed) and in desperate need of a home.
From scruffy bundles of fur that fitted in the palm of our hands, they have grown into independent adolescent cats (although I still think of them as kittens) that love the outdoors, cuddles with us and each other and at the end of (or sometimes during) a hard day, a sofa on which to stretch out.
From their first tentative steps outside where a falling leaf was something to marvel, to their refusal to come in at night, I’ve watched them grow, watched their playful (mostly!) fights with each other and watched them sleep, literally hours given over to just looking. I love listening to their groans as they stretch and twitch their legs as they chase mice in their kitten dream world. When a little paw reaches up to cover their face, I find myself reaching for the camera once more. When they curl up on my lap to sleep (when they were smaller both at the same time), I haven’t the heart to disturb them and will happily wait for them to wake.
From the very first challenge of how to keep them safe and out of every nook and cranny, away from wet concrete and newly laid tiles, I’ve fussed over their well-being and safety. They’ve climbed on everything, been behind the cooker and wood burning stove and in and out of the sink; a trail of wet paw prints is such a giveaway. They’ve put up with noise, dust and disruption but have had no end of boxes and tarpaulin to climb on and hide (or sleep) under.
They have both proven themselves as hunters but have also been on the receiving end of neighbouring cats’ aggression. They have been stuck up trees, discovered that the top of the well and the inside of the stone barbecue are cool (literally) places to sleep and shelter in the pig sty from the rain.
I’ve had their company down the orto; while I’ve turned over the soil, they’ve tried to use it as a toilet, laid on the seeds I’ve just planted or played chase games in the broad beans. Sometimes, they just find a shady spot and wait until I’ve finished when they follow me back to the house. Tracy joins in with most building projects and Martin comes running, tail up, when I call his name.
I chat to them like they are really listening to me and have used the word ‘cute’ far too many times.
They have given me comfort and company, love and laughter.
Thank you Martin and Tracy.