Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Meeting Mr Fish


When we met our older cat, the boy, for the first time he lied to us.



We had gone down to the local RSPCA, about twenty minutes walk from our house, to look at cats. We'd finally bought our house and one of the first things we wanted to do was get our own cat. This was partially because we both wanted one but also because we had mice coming into the kitchen, which was disturbing. We would find the soap chewed on the windowsill and mouse droppings on the worktop. We were not happy bunnies, by any stretch of the imagination.

It's a sad fact that fewer black cats are adopted every year than any other type. Even needy, whingey Siamese get more love than the humble black British shorthair. I've no idea why that is, but it's something that saddens me deeply. We were quietly determined to get a black cat to make up for it, something we've done  twice and it didn't happen either time.

The staff at the Barnes Hill were friendly and let us look at the cats they had. There were a few contenders, all beautiful but many impractical. A kitten called Rainbow was adorable but both of us work, it wouldn't have been fair to her as we would have ended up leaving her alone for a long time. Instinctively we knew we were looking for an older cat. Finally it came down to two choices, a black female called Nikita, who was running around like a crazy thing, and a ginger tom in the next cell, called Tango. In contrast to Nikita he was quiet, cat flu the volunteers explained. It seems a little cruel that the best way to innoculate cats against cat flu is to inject them with it but apparently it is and the poor boy, with his beautiful white spike going up his nose, had come down with it. He was quiet, dignified; the only clue to his true nature was the undigested pill that sat in the corner of his area but we were taken with him. He was charming, sweet and the card said he was a shoulder cat. Both of us liked the sound of that. Hang having a black cat, we wanted him. My wife thought he'd be a good, trouble free cat. We said we'd take  him, I think we paid the adoption fee and went away. All week we talked about him, trying to pick a name. Neither of us wanted a cat called Tango. We wondered about Baron, after the Studio Ghibli character but eventually settled on something else.

A week later we went back. He was feeling better, much better. We found out how adorable he was. Keen to know of us, clambering out of my arms up onto my shoulders, purring hugely as he went. He sniffed me, rubbed his head on me and stepped onto Eve. This went on for a time and every time we tried to put him back, so we could confirm with the people we wanted him, he'd swap humans. He was even more charming, handsome and friendly.

The day we brought him home, he climbed right out of the basket and up onto my shoulders, purring loudly. It was one of the best days of our lives.