When I was a boy we had a Scottish Terrier called Cindy, who was quite a character. She was only about a year older than me and would tear about all over the garden on her tiny legs. One summer, my mum had cooked some beetroot and left them on a plate outside to cool. We thought we hadn’t seen Cindy for a while… yes, she had discovered the beetroot and was busy eating them. So, you have to picture this, a small black terrier with purple tinted muzzle looking very guilty.
When I got married, Jo had a cat, Mitzi, who came to live with us. She was unique as all pets are. When I fitted the cat flat we had to teach her how to use it. You know when you see a cartoon cat being put through a cat flap and they manage to get all four paws on the surround and are resisting all attempts to push them through..well it happens in real life and it looks just as funny. She was eventually persuaded with chicken. She knew she could talk and would often hold conversations with us. She was also rather insecure and so some winter nights I would be found out in the garden with a torch, while she went about her business as she wouldn’t go out on her own. Mitzi also had a habit of waiting until we were part of the way down the stairs and then dashing down one side of the steps and crossing to the other side of the steps under your feet as you stepped down.
About 10 years ago we were adopted by another cat which we called Smokey. She sort of moved in and she and Mitzi agreed to keep out of each other’s way. She was very underweight, just skin and bones. She started to fill out and then it became obvious that we had gained a package deal. At the end of June, she gave birth to two kittens. As we didn’t intend to keep either of them, we just gave them names to identify them.
So we had Spot and Stripe and with their mother who was only about a year older than them, it was like having 3 kittens loose in the house. The two kittens would regularly empty the bin in the living room and then roll it round the room. After a few months Spot went to someone that Jo worked with and was renamed Mischief, which she lived up to after breaking a branch off an artificial Christmas tree. When I refitted the bathroom, Smokey being a small cat disappeared under the floorboards after squeezing through the hole where a waste pipe had been. It took a while to get her back out and instead of a grey and white cat we had a grey and grey cat.
Stripe will often supervise when I am loading the dishwasher and will usually offer her advice and comments on life the universe and everything. Stripe loves the rain and will always go outside if it’s raining and then when she comes in shakes like a dog.
Where do the fish come in? Well, we have an aquarium of tropical fish and no there aren’t any strange stories to tell there, but it made the title sound better.