This is a post about kittens. See, when I first moved to London, I said goodbye to my cat. It was — well, I kind of forgot to actually say goodbye, so the tearfulness came later, but I can assure you tears were shed. Many tears. Tears by the bucketful. When Oxford came into my life, a lovely morning in September in 2011, he was an elusive little ball that fit into my hand, and it took me about five days of living with the creature to start having anxiety over it — specifically, over the possibility of having to give it up due to my sister’s allergies — and my love has only become slightly more sensible since.
When I saw Oxford upon arriving home after a year out, you would have thought I was being reunited with a long-lost sister on a talk show, or whatever it is people who put their hands over their mouths and struggle not to scream on daytime television do.
In between, I ended up living with about a half dozen different cats and two honorary chihuahuas, and met another half dozen. After a life where I saw a cat maybe once every three years, this was intense and unexpected. For a while I felt like I was just going from cat to cat instead of place to place, which is a rather less stressful way of framing the absolute joy murderer that is flathunting in London on a budget.
Putting aside the time I met a jewellery maker’s cat and the poor thing was spooked and gave me a serious bloody clawing — totally my fault: I wasn’t used to being careful around cats yet — it’s been quite an adventure. Cats actually sort of maybe like me, and either strut up to me in five minutes or just hide less long than they normally would from other humans. I’m rather generous with my bed and love having pets snoozing where I can feel their warmth and their weight, so that probably helps.
And so: here’s an abridged list of cats I’ve had the chance to pet, based around which ones I had nicest pictures of.
1-2. Leicester: Kiki and Ruby
3. Belsize Grove, somewhere near a building; I first met this dude in May, and again a couple of months after moving to the area in September
4(-5). Ladbroke Grove: Benji (not pictured: Mindy)
6. Streatham: Elliot
7-8. Belsize Park: Pippuri and Tiikeri
I think the best part of getting to know a new cat is that glorious, unexpected — always unexpected — moment when the cat takes a few abortive steps closer to you, gives you a wary look, and, with varying degrees of reluctance, agility and warning, curls up on your lap.
That’s usually the point where I start squealing on twitter because, well, I don’t want to spook the cat by squeaking in real life. It is a sensitive moment.
Most of the cats on this post have curled up on my lap, and of this I am very proud. Smug, even. I am obviously awesome: the kitties agree.
(Meanwhile, Oxford is playing new cat and being elusive, but I’ll get him to jump on my lap on his own soon enough. It’s happening.)
In conclusion, I think we can all agree that pets are awesome, both for us and for the strangers who somehow hoard their sleepy time even though they are your cat, goddammit, give it back here. There is little I fear more than something happening to my
baby cat, and I’m fairly certain I’d cry more over him than I would over, say, my human sister, and really I love my sister very much too. It’s just that cats, okay. Cats.
So if you have a pet and you’d like to be protected if something less than ideal arises, and you’re in the UK? The RSPCA have partnered with MORE TH>N to provide pet owners with a range of puppy insurance (and kitty insurance, too!) that involves really cool bits like a £20 donation to the RSPCA per policy sold to aid in caring for unwanted animals.
I’m the first to admit that I often advertise things I have no particular emotional connection to (I just like them, which is totally valid!) and that my activism is more focused on humans, but I’m also a massive cat lady and I couldn’t pass up the chance to write a little post for the RSPCA’s #PawHumour campaign, even though humour is — clearly — not my forte.
But let’s be real: who cares? We’re all here to see the kitties.