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Photo: Millie the cat

Photo: Millie the cat

I‘m drawn to cats. Mysterious and aloof, even the most affectionate cats seem to have a secret life. They’re true explorers. Their agility is as breathtaking as their silent steps surprise.

Millie is special. She belongs to my friend Christine who co-runs the Cataholics cat rescue charity in Newmarket. When I was painting Christine’s conservatory I was introduced to Millie and her brother Barney. Within seconds I was besotted with this dainty black cat.

Millie was found abandoned. The runt of the litter, she had four legs but just three paws. The vet removed the leg as the stump would cause problems in the future. This gave Millie extra vorsprung durch. This nimble cat is no lumbering Reliant Robin. She moves with the swiftness of a streamlined motor bike and side car.

I was delighted when I opened Christine’s front door and spotted Millie sitting on the stairs. Initially she watched my progress from a distance (decorating the hall, landing and stairs this time). Her slim neck was exercised by following the progress of my brush. Then she vanished. I turned a few minutes later and discovered to my horror that my tall wooden step ladder had taken her fancy. She was standing on the landing stage at the top, poised to jump.

I shot down the stairs and carefully lifted Millie down. Her fur was like silk. Within seconds she was climbing deftly up the steps again and defiantly leapt into the oblivion of the staircase. Safer than a computer operated space probe, she landed perfectly. So I let her amuse herself with the step ladder. There was a reverse journey too – stairs to landing stage and then down the steps.

When I was making a cup of tea she stood at my feet and meowed, a plaintive yet piercing cry. I couldn’t resist picking her up and giving her a cuddle. This was a big mistake.

At first she lay nearby observing me, happy with on occasional tummy rub. But then she got braver moving nearer and nearer until finally she dived in between my loaded brush and the skirting. I now had a black and white companion cat.

Millie now spends her days elsewhere. Far away from the paint pots and the possibility of zebra fancy dress. She returned home briefly this evening. I noticed a sheet of newspaper, being tugged under the door into the sitting room I peeped through the glass. There was Millie on her back underneath the newspaper. She shifted the paper with her front legs and gazed back at me from the shadow of her tent. Inquisitive, acrobatic and totally seductive. I lifted my brush in homage.

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  1. Hello Fiona

    I came across these cat cartoons which so acurately sum up cats’ behaviour that you will laugh out loud. Just Google “simon’s cat” and you will find them. There are 3 which are called Cat Man Do, TV Dinner and Let Me In. You will also come across a time lapse video of said Simon with his cat during a whole night and you will see exactly where the Cat Man Do video comes from. There is also a doggy one – so the Min Pins don’t feel left out which was done recently for the RSPCA about the dangers of overfeeding your dogs. Do have a look because they are so funny.

    Must also tell you about my friend’s cat who refuses to use the cat flap at home unless it is wedged completely open however she will quite happily use cat flaps in other locations and regularly visits the neighbours for a midnight snack! She blew her cover one night when the neighbours woke up and heard munching but realised their cat was on the bed with them. Now, unless the cat is absolutely gagging for food she doesn’t get fed as they assume if she is not overly interested that she must have dined out.

  2. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Hiya Fiona –

    no, I don’t blame Silli at all; in fact i’m quite impressed that a one-eyed cat can be such an acrobat..!

    Meanwhile I have to say that whilst you’ve never come across an autistic cat, I’ve never quite come across a Mafia one…how on earth, did the squirrel’s head end up in the cutlery drawer….?? The mind boggles….!!!

    Yup, we are lucky to have Moz the merciless – even more so, as we don’t have a catflap so he cannot bring his ‘treasures’ into the cottage to share with us! Eugh!!

    Right – must go & salve my poor old Navara of his foodie burden, before it gets dark….

  3. This is another cat story, so forgive me.

    My lil cat was just a few moths old, it was his first autumn, I think he was about 4 months old at the time. I was working in a seafood restaurant, and had a day shift, I left OH and cat in the lovely house and I returned in early evening. My hubbie informed me that the cat had brought in a squirrel during the day, a small one, but a SQUIRREL He shut the door to the living area and removed the squirrel body, sweeping the floor of blood and hair.

    He the informed me that the ertswhile squirell had a head upon being brought into the ktchen but was missing one when he left, assuming he has eaten the head I shruggged it off and started to cook dinner.

    As I cooked, I leaned over to the cutlery drawer, opened it, and there, among the spoons, lay a perfect squirrel’s head. It was a little bit mafia cat. And I spent about four ours disinfecting the kitchen.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Jo

    Moriaty sounds like a real find. Lucky you to have a top flight ratter.

    Gosh, I didn’t know that cats can have autism. Poor Nevada.

    The swallows must be very tempting. You can’t blame Silli. She’s just following her instincts. The Min Pins kill quite a few birds too.

  5. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    We currently share our lives here, with three cats:

    all Maine Coons & all rescue/basket cases. There’s the huge & fearsome ratter, Moriarty; who hadn’t ever been outside before we had him & flattened himself to the ground in terror at the slightest breath of wind; but now is King of the Barns & hates being indoors.

    There’s beautiful Nevada, whose auntie played Mrs Norris in the Harry Potter films but is herself, a ‘special needs’ cat, having the feline equivalent of autism.

    And there’s sweet little, silver-coloured Silli, gentle one moment & spitting fire the next, but who is forgiven her mood swings as she lost her eye after an infection when only a tiny kitten. Not that it bothers her: she still runs, jumps & climbs with no problems…& during the summer months has the unfortunate skill of successfully jumping to catch the swallows as they swoop low into the eaves of the ancient, stone Long Barn.

    Characters, all….& each one, so very, very, much loved.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pamela

    We laughed out loud when we read your comment! The mind boggles at the Catholic Cat Rescue Charity. How would you tell?

    The image of a cat like a concertina in the middle of a child’s arms is wonderful. Thank you for sharing this.

    Loved the tales of TobyCat. I’m sure he was a great comfort for your father.

    Hello Michelle

    Millie is gorgeous. Makes me long to have a cat again.

    Rex sound like a wonderful clown. I reckon that some animals have a great sense of humour and joie de vivre ?

    Hello Jackie

    I loved this comment!!

    Hello Heidi

    Bluebell sounds like a cat in a million. You must miss her so much.

    Hi Pamela

    I’ve not received that email but as I’m quite dyslexic I often misread words with interesting consequences.

    Hello Wendy

    Cats are special. I reckon that the bonding is much closer if you’ve had a cat from the kitten stage. I had two cats years ago and I still miss them.

    Hello Kate(uk)

    Andrew sounds wonderfully unique. But that’s the thing about cats. They have such strong personalities.

    Hi Jackie

    Yes that’s probably right!

    Hi Natasha

    I’m so impressed that you walked 8 miles to meet your kitten. You paint a superb picture of the visit. So glad that he was just what you wanted!

    Hi Amanda
    Your tale of Bear and the bird had me laughing this afternoon.

    What a shame about Harvey. I remember the day when Paddington died.

    Amazing that Mao now plays with your pup. I love seeing cats and dogs playing together.

    Hello Martyn

    Great quote. Thanks for dropping by.

    Hi KarenO

    Cats are great but loads of people think that they are ‘dog’ or ‘cat’ people. Or even no pet people. Cats chose to live with you. Dogs generally don’t have that choice. So they relationship is significantly different.

    Hi Katie

    Poor Binx.

    I know what you mean. Cats on heat can be a real pain.

    Hi JuliaB

    The Min Pins like cucumber too. Thank goodness they haven’t discovered the delights of carnations yet.

  7. Cats liking cucumber? Strange, because our cat likes melon (really likes melon, like cats like catnip!) and carnations of all things. I cannot buy carnations for fear of my cat breaking the vase! My old cat who died 4 years ago was also like a teenager – if I told him off, he would do a really loud indignant meaow!

  8. haha, I only realised it wasn’t Catholic when I read everyone’s comments. I was awful confused.

    That’s a really sweet story, there’s a cat that lives in my mums street with only three legs and one eye, but it’s the most streetwise cat I have ever come across. He can’t half hold his own, even when challenged with my old tom cat, which was the size of a small dog. Binx would always come off worse for wear.

    I’d love to adopt another cat but my ‘teenager’ has just come into her first heat and I simply can’t do it again!! Driving me crazy.

    Katie xox

  9. Me too!! I only realised it wasn’t catholic when I read Pamela’s comment and even then I had to look carefully!! We’ve never had cats – didn’t think we were cat people really but having read all the comments they sound mch more interesting than I realised! Thank you I enjoyed them all.

  10. I’ve had some very funny cats over the years, but the ones who really stood out were such characters.

    Bear was a big tortoiseshell moggy that used to sit on the wall outside waiting for me to come home from school. He once brought a bird in, in the middle of the night and plonked it on my Nan’s face, who I lived with, the bird was still alive and flapping wildly. I was woken by screams of sheer terror as my Nan fumbled for the light switch wondering what one earth she was being attacked by. Bear went the way of so many cats and was knocked over when I was away on business in the Seychelles of all places. I can’t think of that trip with anything other than a heavy heart.

    Harvey, a chocolate burmese, beautiful, intelligent and yet stupid at the same time. He once broke a neighbours elderly mothers foot when she fell trying to catch him as he rushed through their front door. Sadly he went missing a couple of years ago. Heartbreaking, we spent many months and a lot of money trying to find him.

    Then of course there was Paddington, beautiful, beautiful Pads who left behind Mao who is the only cat we have now. That’s the cat who loves cucumber (a bit like Small) and after hating the puppy for two months now plays with her for hours. They’ve both morphed, both part cat, part dog – fascinating stuff.

    Great post Fiona, I’m both a cat and dog person.

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