Tuesday, 19 April 2016

30 Blogs of Night: A Princess in Hiding

Day 20

Today I'm going to tell you how we got Dita, our brindle tortoiseshell cat. She's lived with us about eight years and is  a cute beast, who seems to have comic timing and a tendency towards burlesque.

The story actually begins with Hobbes, we were worried that he was lonely when we went out, in part because he's one of those cats who likes to go about with you. He used to trot up to the bus stop with us, dogging (sorry catting) our heels. The problem was that once we were on the bus, he would stay there all day. We came home to answer phone messages from concerned people, worried that he was just waiting, and waiting for us. You'd think that as a former stray he would have more sense, but no. Bless his little white paws. We didn't know at the time that he had lots of friends about the place and were worried. In addition, Eve wanted a cat of her own, having been fooled by Hobbes' pretence at a sedate nature when we first met him; cat flu with do that to a boy, apparently.  We took him down to the RSPCA and introduced him to a few Queens, and he was not happy. The Lady from the RSPCA said he looked like he was going to be submissive to a girl cat (nothing to do with him being out of his element and a bit freaked out then?) and in the end we came away empty handed.

A few months later we went back, without a ginger nutter, and with a mission to get another cat. Again, we were looking for a black cat. This has been a quest of sorts for a long time. First, because well, more Gothic innit? Second, because we'd read that black cats are the least adopted, something that breaks both our hearts (we are typical of Goths in that regard, hard on the outside but squidgy with sentimentality on the inside). We toured the narrow aisle of pens at the now defunct Barnes Hill RSPCA rescue centre, looking at the animals. We knew we didn't want a kitten, mostly because I was frightened that Hobbes might kill one, but also because of us both working. It didn't feel fair to leave a little best alone with himself.

I don't remember what the other cats were like, but I know I was looking in at one when I thought I heard Eve say 'Dita', and turned to check. She actually said Dee Dee, which was what the RSPCA staff had landed the poor cat with. She had been one of a pair, but her sister had been adopted a few days before, leaving 'Dee Dee' alone.

While most of the cats were up and prowling about, Dita just lay in her basket, letting us fuss her. She came across as quiet, and gentle, even consenting to belly rubs. We talked about it, I was unsure - I liked her but the fact she seemed so placid worried me -  but as Eve really liked her, we said we wanted to adopt her.

After the usual check where someone came around to see if we were fit hoomans to look after one of the feline overlords, and a nasty shock when we learnt we couldn't get her at the start of our week's holiday at the end of July (there being an implication that they would put her to sleep if we didn't get her straight away), we brought her home. And failed utterly.

You know how you're meant to cloister your new cat, keep them in one room and slowly make
introductions between the new cat and your old one? Yeah, didn't happen. Hobbes got into the room she was in on the first day and introduced himself by sniffing her bum. This may have set the tone for their relationship for the years to come. They do like each other, even if they aren't bosom buddies, but he quite frequently seems to bully her (we're still not sure if he's just trying to play and as she dislikes wrestling it just comes across as fighting). The thing that really stick in my mind from that day though, is coming home with fish and chips and her shouting at me in glee. She does love junk food, even being caught in the act of stealing a friend's fried chicken and having a bad habit of helping herself to chips straight from the paper, given a chance.

She's a cute little beast, as I said above. She still loves belly rubs, and is far too fond of food. She and Hobbes still fight a lot, though to be fair he isn't always the aggressor (she usually gets a look of 'oh crap what have I done, if she does start it though). At least they've never played cat flap wars, the way my friend Bert's cats did. And she seems happy, and that's the main thing, right?