Thursday 27 October 2011

For Black Cat Awareness Day: Some Pictures Of The Bear

The Bear, the most intellectual character featured in my books Under The Paw and Talk To The Tail, was originally the favourite cat of my ex's ex. Our relationship had its teething troubles, but we're still here, together. He is sixteen and a half now. I am sure that, in that time, he has used up far more than nine lives. He's moved house on umpteen occasions, lost a couple of bits of his ear, gone missing for over a month, got inexplicably stranded on the opposite side of a wide river, been punched into a wall by a tiny grey kitten, and, despite his gentlemanly advances, still can't seem to get his Last Of The Summer Wine romance off the ground with the aging ginger lady cat who lives nextdoor, Biscuit. He is a little wobbly around the haunches, but is in the largely terrific health, and by all appearances - despite being picked and sworn at by his gobby housemate Shipley every so often - happier than he's ever been.

I've known and lived with a lot of black cats over the years, but I don't think I've ever met one who summed up their magic and mystery as much as The Bear. Today is Black Cats Awareness Day - a celebration, instigated by Cats Protection, of black cats, who are all too often overlooked by prospective owners visiting rescue centres - so to mark it I thought I'd post a few of my favourite photos of my most spiritually noir of black cats....

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Ode To A Slightly Bonkers Cat

An uncharacteristic excursion into verse in tribute to Daisy Cox - aka The Slink (1991-2007): an excerpt from Under The Paw

Goodbye The Slink
My Friend
I Never Felt I Really Got To Know You
But I've been places you've been
A couple of Nottinghamshire's more picturesque villages, for example
One of which where car burning
Seemed to be a local sport
And that coal shed at my mum and dad's house where you used to hide from Monty
When he was feeling particularly feisty
You sort of perked up in your later years
Particularly when you went deaf
And could no longer hear my dad's heavy feet
Or his shouts of things like
That must have been nice for you
And it proves that, like Tom Petty says
Even The Losers Get Lucky Sometimes
Not that you knew who Tom Petty was
And even if you had
You probably would have been scared of the beard
That he has sported in more recent years
Almost as scared as you were when I took you and Monty for a walk
It was a sunny day
In the time before I'd really noticed that you looked a little like Hitler
And before the website
Which proved that, in the grand scheme of things, you didn't look that much like him after all
You'd been carrying that feather duster around in your mouth
The one that you must have thought was the world's most docile cockatiel
You seemed in a good mood
And I thought it couldn't hurt
A stroll along the lane
Through DH Lawrence country
With two furry pals
All was going well
For about two hundred yards
Until you saw that Norfolk terrier
And decided for some Slinklike reason
To run straight at it
The little fella didn't know what had hit it
But then not many of us ever did

Sunday 16 October 2011

Guest Cat Of The Month For October: Nancy


I have a few of my own: ‘The Ebony Warrior’; ‘The Feline Pimpernel’; ‘She Who is Fleet of Foot and Nimble of Mind’. However my owners tend to call me ‘Mowchie-Moo’. If you want to know why, you’ll have to ask them.


Big: Melissa and Phil. Little: Suse and Louis. Honorary: anyone who lives within a 5 mile radius of my house. I don’t believe in monogamy when it comes to feline/human relations.

Taxi for Nancy!

Favourite Habits
Following people home, either on foot or by jumping into their cars. Visiting local pubs / shops / schools. Getting stranded at aforesaid places and needing to be collected by my owners.

What constitutes a perfect evening for you?
It would start with an early nap, followed by dinner: preferably prawns in melted butter, but a pouch of chunks in jelly is acceptable. Then out through the cat flap to find some friendly humans on the street, who I will follow to one of my three local pubs. Here I will meet and greet staff and regulars, and pop into the kitchen for a few titbits. If it’s cold out, I’ll settle down for a nap in front of the fire. At closing time I’ll pick a customer to follow home, spend the night in their house, and wait for my owners to collect me in the morning and take me home for breakfast.

Favourite food
Prawns, curry, or anything served in my local pubs (except for Pork Scratchings – I nearly cracked a tooth on one once).

Defining moment of your life
Probably the first time I appeared in the local newspaper, when I was about five months old. A star was born.

Any enemies?
A ginger tom who lives a few streets away. I won’t dignify him with a name. Let’s just say he’s got a lot to learn about how to treat a lady.

If you could do one thing to make the world a better place for felines what would it be?
I’d invent a road-crossing system for feline pedestrians, like a pelican crossing but with the button at cat height. I would have them installed at 100 yard intervals along every road in the country.

If you could meet a celebrity who would it be and why?
Someone once described me as the feline equivalent of Madonna: sassy, ambitious, talented, and opinionated. I prefer to think of Madonna as the human equivalent of me.

Which one of the cats in Under The Paw and Talk To The Tail would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
Without a doubt, Bootsy. She sounds like my kind of cat. We may both be petite and deceptively cute-looking, but together we could take over the world. If she’s interested, tell her to call me.

Brief biography
I live in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, and became a local celebrity as a kitten, due to my penchant for jumping into strangers’ cars. Contrary to expectations, I never grew out of my fearlessly friendly disposition, and am now feted not only in Harpenden, but by my growing army of Facebook and Twitter followers. My autobiography Sex And The Kitty: A Celebrity Meowmoir is out now.