In my Young By Name column in the May 2021 edition of the Tetbury Advertiser, I was anticipating my kittens’ post-lockdown lives
Like all pets acquired in the pandemic, our two kittens, Bingo and Bertie, are starting to notice big changes in their little world. Until now they’ve led a very sheltered life. Born and raised in a Cats Protection League pen, the only humans they saw before they came to live with us were their foster parents.
Joining a household of three people – my husband, my daughter and I – more than doubled their human acquaintance.
They are used to seeing more cats than humans. When they first came to live with us a couple of days before first lockdown, our calico cat Dorothy was already in residence. Three neighbours’ cats, with wanton disregard for social distancing guidelines, treat our garden as their territory.
As far as Bingo and Bertie are concerned, cats rule our cottage.
We daily prove our subservience by leaping up from our armchairs to open the French doors whenever they want to go in or out of the garden. (And yes, they do have a catflap.) We spend more hours observing their antics than watching television.
Their friends sneak into our house for a snack when they think we’re not around. Often, when we are in another room with Dorothy, Bertie and Bingo, we hear crunching noises in the kitchen, followed by the rattle of the catflap.
Up to Tricks
We’re wondering what they’ll get up to when, post lockdown, they have the house to themselves. It seems Bingo is already planning ahead for a more independent life. The brains of the trio, he has for some time been paying a great deal of attention to the bolt at the bottom of the French doors that give onto the patio. If his paws had opposable thumbs, he’d have flung the doors open by now.
He’s also been practising his party tricks. The other day, startled by Dorothy jumping out of the wardrobe, he executed a perfect back flip. If my daughter hadn’t been with me as witness, I wouldn’t have believed my eyes. He landed so neatly on all four paws that I wanted to hold up cards saying “10.0”, like the judges used to do for ice-skaters. I have never seen a cat turn 360 degrees from a standing start. The only animal I’ve seen perform that trick was battery-powered, a toy dog my grandfather bought from a street trader.
Bertie is equally athletic, easily jumping four or five feet into the air when pursuing an airborne insect. In relation to his height, this is about the equivalent to me leaping from the doorstep onto our cottage roof.
Of course, like all good pet owners, we’re conscious that animals acquired during lockdown may suffer separation anxiety as normal life returns. But part of me can’t help wondering whether for our cats the first day they have the house to themselves, the party will just be starting.
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In Other News
While we’re on the subject of cats, fans of Sophie Sayers’ black kitten, Blossom, will be pleased to know that she puts in an appearance in Murder Lost and Found, the new Sophie Sayers Village Mystery which launches on Sunday 23rd May.
Since Sophie adopted Blossom in Springtime for Murder (in which the main storyline revolves around cats), any new story I write about Wendlebury Barrow would not feel complete without Blossom. She plays a critical part in my novelette, The Clutch of Eggs, too.
All of my fiction books have seasonal themes, and I’m glad to be launching a summery book at this time of year. It doesn’t always work out so neatly – I had to launch the Christmassy Stranger at St Bride’s in midsummer, because that was when it was ready! And during the coming summer I will be writing the wintry Scandal at St Bride’s, the third in the St Bride’s School series, which begins in January. Sometimes I feel so out of synch with the seasons that I might as well be working in the fashion industry.
- Pre-order the ebook of Murder Lost and Found to have it land on your ereading device on launch day (23rd May).
- Order the paperback from Amazon from launch day onwards (link not yet available), or ask your local bookshop to order it in for you, quoting ISBN 9781911223719. Within the next couple of weeks, they should be able to order it from their usual stockist – if not, they are welcome to contact me and I’ll be happy to supply them direct.