It’s said that you’re either a cat person or a dog person. Having owned both I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am a cat person. Now don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, and our gorgeous Springer Spaniel was a great companion, but there’s just something about cats. They are so independent that it makes it that much sweeter when they come to you seeking affection. Plus you don’t have to take them for a walk every day!
My parents had a cat before I was born, so I grew up with one in the house. I was devastated when she was run over when I was 15. We got another kitten, but when she was run over less than a year later we decided that the road outside our home had just become too busy to be safe for another cat (which is when we got the dog). Both of these cats were rescued in one way or another – the first cat came from a farm looking to get rid of an unwanted litter, the kitten came through an animal rescue charity.
As I have grown older, I have developed an allergic reaction to cats. I am not sure when I first noticed it, but it’s been there for a while. Being in close contact with a cat makes my nose tickle and my eyes stream, and if one scratches me the skin around the scratch swells up. It’s nothing I can’t live with, and I certainly wasn’t going to let it stop me having cats. However the geekdaddy is definitely allergic to cats, in a more extreme way than I am, and it became clear soon after we met that I’d never get to have a cat. I tried other pets – the gerbils were OK, and the guinea pigs were quite fun, but didn’t compare to a cat at all. At this point I started donating money to Cats Protection on a monthly basis – if I couldn’t care for a cat myself I could certainly support those that could.
My first job after graduating from University was in the offices of a small manufacturing company in South Manchester. One day a cat turned up around our shop floor. It came back day after day, until one of the lads saw it had a collar on, and called the phone number that was on it. When someone answered he told them that that their cat was hanging around the factory. “Oh really?” the voice said “we got another cat when we lost him, we don’t want him back now”! Can you believe that?! And so that cat became our official factory cat. We bought food for him out of petty cash, and we tried to find him a new home. I really wanted to give him a home, but didn’t know if the geekdaddy would be able to live with him. So I took the geekdaddy in to the office one day, someone rounded up the cat, and we introduced the two. Immediately the geekdaddy started sneezing, and I knew it wasn’t going to work out
It made my boss think though, and she started doing some research into whether there was anything we could inject the geekdaddy with in order to reduce his allergies. She didn’t find anything, but she did find out about a couple of breeds of cat that were better for people with allergies. Further investigation revealed that there was a breeder of these cats who lived a five minute walk from our home. Tentatively I called them, and asked if I could see if my husband was allergic to the cats. As luck would have it one of their queens had just had two kittens, they didn’t have a buyer, and they were willing to bring them to our house for an evening to see how we got on. Nervously we introduced the cats to the geekdaddy. He cuddled them, rubbed his eyes, tried to bring on a reaction. There was a small reaction, but nothing like he has with “normal” cats. We waited until the following morning, checked to make sure there was still no reaction, and then phoned the breeder and said we’d like the cats. And that’s how Sam and Elliott, my two gorgeous Devon Rex boys, came into our lives. About six months later their half-sister Grace joined us, and then the geekdaddy said I’d got enough cats and couldn’t have any more.
I was devastated when we lost both Sam and then Grace last year. My loyal, faithful companions for 17 years, the house felt just a little emptier each time. Elliott is still going strong, although he has his own special “foibles” – he pretty much lives in the bathroom these days, flatly refuses to poo in the litter tray (could be worse, at least he still wees in it!), and frequently wanders around making the most horrible mewing noises. He’s an old man now, and I reckon he’s allowed to be a little bit doddery.
Elliott won’t be around forever, and I’ve already been told in no uncertain terms by the geekdaddy that we are not getting any more cats. I think 18 years of litter trays and allergic reactions (albeit milder than they would be with “normal” cats) have worn him down and he needs a break. It doesn’t help that we’ve been left with the one cat who has the less-than-desirable habits. If I’m completely honest with myself, I’m secretly hoping that he’ll relent after a small break and let me have another cat. But it must be said that at this point my future as a mad cat lady is looking a little uncertain.
When I heard that Cats Protection were setting up a blogger network I was really keen to get involved, and I’m delighted that they’ve accepted me. What this means is that I’ll be getting information from them about their news and campaigns, and I may choose to write about some of the things they are doing here on my blog. It’s another way I can support them and the great work they do. As with all my blog subjects I’ll make sure I only write about things that really matter to me, or that spark and interesting post, and I’ll make sure I continue to bring you a wide variety of topics with a heavy dose of geeking! And if you’re a dog person, please just bear with me, OK?