AD – this blog about Cat Mum life is sponsored by Petplan.
I’ve spent the majority of my life on this planet co-existing in a household with at least one pet. Most of which have been of the fluffy, sits inside of boxes, and screams in the middle of the night because they want attention, variety… Yep, you guessed it; Cats! From a very young age even when not at home, I would be making friends with any animals (esp. cats) nearby. Which is a personality trait I’ve definitely kept as I’ve grown up – fully embracing Cat Mum life as an adult.
The times I’ve not lived with a real cat, I’ve had a pillow with my childhood cat on my bed since I got it. I also have the luxury of currently sharing a flat with three (3!) Persians at the moment: Argo, Ozma and Ludo, that belong to my housemate. You’ll see them throughout this post.
Pets are the family we choose for ourselves (& sometimes they choose us)
I was born into a family that had a cat. No other siblings, a cat. She was a very sweet little tabby called Tinker (Tinky for short) that lived in my grandma’s house. My mum also lived there, and so did I until my early 20s. Tinky turned up as tiny kitten. Lost and alone, she was meowing on the back door step within days of me being born. So I guess she was sort of like a small furry sister for me? We grew up together, until she grew old in my early teenage years.
There was a slight overlap with a second cat in my family house, and the second cat was my cat. A new member of the family, and I loved him like he was my child.
My first experience of ‘Pethood’
Although I had a few miniature dwarf hamsters growing up, the proper “pethood” part of my life started when one of my school friends said she was getting a kitten. A family friend of hers unexpectedly had a stray give birth to a litter at their house (the dream)! Naturally, I took this as a sign from the universe. It was the perfect opportunity to convince my mum that we also should get one of these kittens.
“Tattoo was the mother of Pinkle Purr, a ridiculous kitten with silky fur.
And little black Pinkle grew and grew, ‘till he got as big as the big Tattoo.
And all that he did he did with her. “Two friends together,” says Pinkle Purr.” –A. A. Milne
And so, the adorable, friendly, black and white Felix look-a-like, who I named Pinkle Purr (Pinkle for short), named after the cat in one of my favourite poems, entered our lives. And I became a very proud Cat Mum. That kind of very (un)cool Cat Mum who threw birthday parties for their cat, meaning other kids kinda laughed at me, how could I care though when Pinkle was such a cute prince who deserved to be spoilt rotten? (his birthday was 26th September incase you were wondering.)
Now you might think a cat birthday party is weird, but some pretty insightful results were recently revealed in the Petplan Pet Census 2018! There were over 60,000 pet owner entrants, and sure enough, 40% of people have admitted to buying their pets Birthday/Christmas cards, so throwing your pet a birthday party isn’t that wild!
Becoming a Cat Mum
There’s nothing quite like your first pet, who you really feel like a parent to. When you officially become a real Cat Mum and they come to you for food and cuddles. Cats aren’t like dogs, they don’t come to you for love and the food is a bonus, they come to you for food and the love is the bonus. I like that. When a cat wants to hang out with you, you feel really special. Sorta like the chosen one?
Growing up as an only child with a single parent, I went through my fair share of fall-outs (both with friends and my mum), break ups, and many-a late nights revising last minute for an important exam the morning, and Pinkle was there by my side. I honestly believe, Cats know when you’re feeling sad. They have a sixth sense about these things, I’m sure of it.
I think having a pet in the house is almost like a right of passage. It teaches you as a child/teenager to care about something other than yourself – a little creature that relies on you to survive. In my case having a furry member of the family around to hang out with during the good and the bad times meant so much. I have so many lovely memories of Pinkle around the house I grew up in, right up until the day that he sadly passed away. He was old and lived a very full (and spoilt) life. After a plethora of health problems due to his age, I feel so thankful to have been with him in my arms during his last moments at the vet.
Gone but not forgotten
Although my Pinkle baby is gone, he definitely won’t be forgotten. I don’t think I’ll ever stop referring to him as my baby. And I feel reassured that according to the consensus 44% of pet owners in the UK also call their pets baby.
The first Christmas he wasn’t with us, my mum gave me a pillow that had a selection of pictures of Pinkle. It’s stayed with me, and has gone from house to house since moving to London. It warms my heart when the cats I live with now snooze on/next to my Pinkle pillow (here’s Ozma napping on it). He also lives in a tattoo on my left arm next to my heart, with Forget-Me-Not and Sweet Pea flowers around him, amongst a bouquet of roses – you can see a photo of it here.
Embracing Cat Step Mum Life
If you follow me on instagram you’ll know all about the three cats I live with currently, but if you’re new here (or want some more inside knowledge about the cuties in the photos in this blog), I’ll explain.
In March 2016 I moved into a lovely flat in North London with two girls, and two cats. Argo (aka the Prince of Darkness): a 6 and a half year old brown long haired persian. Argo is a bit of a celeb around the neighbourhood: known for making friends with everyone, and singing the song of his people in the middle of the night. And then there’s (Princess) Ozma: a 5 year old exotic short haired tabby, known for her sass, soft fur, and little snaggle tooth that makes an appearance when she’s grumpy.
A New Addition
In August 2017 my housemate sent a photo of a little ball of white fluff to our group chat, telling us he would be moving in, in a few weeks and to get acquainted. His name is (Little) Ludo. He’s got fur like cotton wool, a tongue bleps 90% of the time, and he will always find a way into a box…
So our family of 5 became a family of 6 with an equal amount of cats to humans. Everything I own is covered in cat hair. I step in cat sick/fur balls at least once a week, and I have been known to cancel plans in favour of getting into my pjs straight after work to hang out with the cats (proud to be part of the 12% of pet owners that have cancelled dates to stay at home with their pets instead). But nevertheless, I am a very proud Cat Step Mum, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I would just like to add… How ironic is it that I had to stop half way through writing this to check on Ludo? He was sitting on the stairs howling! Turns out he just wanted to let me know he had made a very smelly mess in the litter tray. How lovely.
I know having a pet is a luxury and not feasible for some with financial constraints, rented property agreements/contracts, or allergies. But let me take this last opportunity to implore you to adopt (not shop) if you’re looking for a new pet! There are so many wonderful animals up for adoption, looking for their forever homes, and waiting for you…
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Pethood Stories (or should that be Cat-hood stories?). I’m unashamedly a huge lover of anything pet related. I spend a bunch of time watching animal videos online. So please do feel free to share your faves in the comments below or on social media, I’m @luisachristie on everything!
This post is in conjunction with Petplan Pet Insurance but all thoughts are my own.