When we moved into our house in spring 2013, we considered getting a pet. We’d moved from a small flat, and because our new house had a garden it seemed a perfect time to get a pet.
We love dogs and cats, and considering we both worked full-time a cat seemed the best, and fairest option.
So, we got a cat. Or did a cat get us?
Martin and I were sat in the dining room eating our dinner one evening about a week after we moved in, discussing getting a cat. Then what should stride through the room but a cat? We both looked at each other in surprise as the cat stalked through and gave us a friendly miaow in greeting.
It was as if she owned the place.
We gave her a fuss and let her out.
The cat became a regular visitor from then on. We didn’t know what her ‘proper’ name is and we still don’t. The affectionate nickname we gave her – Fat Cat – has stuck. She doesn’t seem terribly offended though, judging by the amount of time she spends with us.
She’s a beautiful tabby, incredibly friendly and affectionate. There’s nothing she likes more than a good fuss and cuddle. Oh, except food, of course.
Fat Cat will often be found miaowing piteously at our dining room window first thing in the morning, desperate to be let in. She’ll usually come up for a cuddle in bed and then spend the rest of the day curled up on the bed, fast asleep.
Last winter Fat Cat and I spent many happy hours curled up in front of the telly. She would wrap herself around my bump and sometimes rest her head on it. With the way she would adjust her head on my bump and move to a certain position, I wondered whether she could hear the baby’s heartbeat.
I wondered what she would make of the baby when he was born and imagined her gently investigating him when we brought him home.
I imagined Fat Cat and the baby being friends, her sitting with him on his play mat gently doffing the dangly toys.
I imagined the baby roughly patting Fat Cat in the way that babies do, and she patiently sitting there, understanding he didn’t know better.
But of course that couldn’t happen, because my baby was born six months ago today, far too early. Despite fighting so hard, my precious beautiful baby boy Hugo never made it home.
We were away from home for nearly six weeks while Hugo was being cared for. During a quiet moment, Martin and I would wonder aloud whether Fat Cat was missing us. We missed her – there were many stressful times where a cat cuddle would have been lovely.
When we returned home after Hugo died, we didn’t see Fat Cat for a couple of days. We wondered whether she had found a new surrogate home instead. She appeared over the garden fence one afternoon miaowing excitedly – I think she was just as pleased to see us as we were to see her.
Fat Cat gives us such a lot. Three days after Hugo’s death was Mother’s Day. It was all too much and I took to my bed for most of the day. I awoke to find Fat Cat curled up next to me. Usually she wakes me up for a stroke and fuss, but on this occasion I think she knew I needed peace, quiet and care.
Twice Fat Cat has brought us a bird (one still fluttering in her jaws) in grateful thanks for our hospitality. It really isn’t needed: the entertainment, affection and love she gives us is more than enough for return for the treats, fuss and a comfy bed to sleep on that we give her.
She still visits every day for cuddles, treats and a quiet place to sleep. I wouldn’t be without her.
I hope her real owners don’t worry too much about her when she spends so much time with us. I also wonder what her real home and owners are like, and why she chooses to spend so much time with us. She is definitely well-loved and cared for, whatever her real home is like.
They say cats choose their owners. We certainly feel very honoured and blessed that Fat Cat has chosen us.