Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Writer’s Cat …. And The Other Cat

Many  authors are known for their love of cats .  For writers, cats are unbelievably inspiring, not least because they are creatures of sophistication, forever youthful but alarmingly wise, affectionate on their own terms, and masters at flitting between ‘bonkers,’ ‘distant’ and ‘intense.’

My cat, Hendricks, has just turned two, he looks like a little tiger. He is soft, cuddly and adoring, yet will shoot me a steely-eyed look if I’m too soft and adoring back. He enjoys being the lone kid of the house, lapping up as much attention as he wants from my husband and I.

Hendricks - Top Cat 

This week, we brought home a tiny seven-week-old bundle of fur from the Animal Rescue Shelter. We’ve called her ‘Saffie’ (short for ‘Sapphire.’) Saffie is beautifully strip-striped like Hendricks but her nose and paws are jet-black instead of pinky-orange. On his first journey home, Hendricks was tense and shy, whereas Saffie punched at us through the gaps of the cat box, squeaked and fought at the air. 

Once home and fed, Saffie jumped onto my chest, squawked in my face several times with full force, before snuffling in my hair, climbing back onto my lap and sleeping there for over six hours as I sat writing at my desk. 

She is just perfect. Between food and play, Saffie nestles on me or behind me as I write, or she places her paws on the edge of the desk and stares at the computer screen. Occasionally, she’ll venture up onto the desk to take a swipe at a word she doesn’t like, or dance across the keyboard.  I have never known such confidence in an animal so small. Often, she’ll jump onto my chest, stare right into my eyes before cuddling into my neck.

The integration progress with Hendrix is slow. On day 1, Hendricks hissed at Saffie and hid; Saffie was unperturbed. On day 2, Hendricks glared at Saffie from a distance; Saffie just wanted to play. On day 3, Hendricks  touched Saffie's nose with his own and then glared at her from a lesser distance. 

We reassure Hendricks he is ‘top cat’ and he’ll come over for a cuddle but whinge like a teenager. He’s taken to sitting in a shoe box in a huff; I soothe him and whisper ‘I understand,’ or ‘it’s ok’ and Hendricks will forget himself, climb out of the box for a cuddle, before stomping back into it to pick up his sulk. It’s a slow, slow process but we’ll get there.

Saffie - New Addition to the Family 

My eBook novel with cat character 'Cinko' is 'The First Sense'

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