Journal / Portraiture

A life without cats is no life for me.

My house isn’t suitable for asthmatics or allergy sufferers and try as I might, I can never leave the house looking as polished and professional as I would sometimes like. I do try, but more often than not, I give up and hope that whoever I’m meeting is familiar and sympathetic to my living arrangements.

I’m owned by a cat.

Our 1st Cat Haven adoptee, Peter, was named after Peter Rabbit. This is my younger brother holding him.

He’s one in a long line of feline masters stretching back to when I was in preschool. The first four were from The Cat Haven. Then they started to just appear at the back door – sometimes co-existing with one of our existing cats and at other times the word must’ve got out that one had passed on, as another would appear shortly afterwards. “Well come on then” I remember my Dad saying to a chubby tabby in the mid 90’s. We’d just lost our cat, Sita. “I suppose we need another cat”. We named her Wacko as she had a little mask over her face like Michael Jackson. A few days later she brought a single kitten. So we named her Solo. Only she wasn’t. At one point we had 6 cats at once. We were the cat house.

So from an early age, I grew accustomed and to a degree even proud of the idea of being a ‘mad cat lady’ in my old age…well as long as I could care for and feed them properly.

Everything I own is infused with cat hair. To make matters more painful, the last two masters that came home with me have white fur. Granted, it’s clean (I do wash my clothes of course) but it never goes away, despite my Husband bringing home bulk packs of lint removers from work. I know some people may find it horrible, but I hate smoking and binge drinking – we all have our addictions. Mine is cats.

Our cat chose us one weekend in May 2007. I was mourning the loss of my cat friend of 7 years, Orion. It must have only been 4-6 weeks…but having rarely been without a feline master since the age of 5, I just couldn’t wait any longer. We made a trip to The Cathaven in Shenton Park with Jason (who doesn’t like cats) adamant that he wanted a black one and me adamant that I didn’t want a kitten. I wanted a big fluffy monster that I could plonk on my lap and cuddle without all the attention and toilet training a kitten needs.

After all, if you want something that needs you to do much more than open a tin at 5pm every day – you buy a dog. If you do continue to open the tin at 5pm every day, you may be graced with the cat’s presence on a regular basis…when he can be bothered.

Gadget - asserting his authority. Gadgie was another Cat Haven adoptee.

We looked at so many cats. Tortoiseshell, gingers, tabbies, black cats, white cats, David Bowie cats with two different coloured eyes. I think we were there for hours. It was heartbreaking seeing so many and knowing we could only have one. I filmed the ones I liked with my mobile phone. The decision being that I’d go away, eat lunch, review my choices and go back to get my new baby. (Click for video of puss the day we met).

Of course I didn’t get to choose. He chose us.

“Butt” as the Haven staff had called him, wasn’t black. He was a huge, fluffy monster. Quite tall with gorgeous yellow eyes. He wasn’t a bright orange ginger but a lovely tan tabby that reminded me of Gadget – a family cat we’d gotten from the very same place about 20yrs before. He was really indifferent, almost distressingly so. He was completely not bothered with me…except for when I wanted to open the door to cuddle him in which case he perked up a bit. Otherwise he couldn’t care less.

“I like him” Jason the cat-hating boyfriend said. The reason being that the cat didn’t give a crap about me. A great start to the relationship…me and the cat I mean. I was already stuck with the bloke 😉

So after going through the process of adoption where he was vaccinated, de-sexed, microchipped and tattooed (we just love the fact that all 3 of us have tattoos!) and renamed from the rather unkind “Butt” to the far more dignified Celtic name of Tierney (Lord of the house) he came home with us and changed our lives.

They say that pets are good for children, the elderly and those grieving. Jas was grieving for his Dad who passed in late 2005. The cat hater soon turned into the cat obsessed. I doubt you’d find few pictures of anything else on his mobile phone. They’re always together and puss will leave the house to greet Jas before I even hear the car coming up the street. These two are best mates and pine for each other when the other’s not around. It’s so cute seeing my heavily tattooed Husband sitting on the couch cuddling his “pukkus”. They’re both gingers, and I’m a brunette so I’m not in their club.

Sure, he loves me, I’m his Mummy and he’s my Bop (Tierney sounds like teeny as in teeny-bopper = Bop) but sometimes I think he merely tolerates me. Such as when I try to photograph him with the off-camera flash which makes that strange beep he doesn’t quite like.

The Cat Haven is at 23 Lemnos St, Shenton Park. You can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

For all the cats I’ve ever loved that are no longer with me:

  • Peter
  • Peta
  • Gadget
  • Mate
  • Jack
  • Sita
  • Percy (Persistent)
  • Wacko
  • Solo
  • Cocoa (was adopted out but came back after Lennon died)
  • Lennon (aka Lenny)
  • Ted (adopted out)
  • Echo
  • Orion

and all their friends that came to visit.

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One thought on “A life without cats is no life for me.

  1. Pingback: Charismatic felines – are you thinking of adopting one? « Blackcurrant Photography – Perth, Western Australia. Blog, portraiture, gifts, souvenirs and fine art photography.

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