In 2009, me and the boys moved into a cottage in a suburb of Stockholm. Since the majority of my friends love (and are owned by animals), I know that they understand why I spent a small fortune bringing my fur babies with me. A little known or acknowledged force that also propelled me from Vancouver was to ensure that I did not end up being a crazy cat lady with a bazillion cats…and a homemade man for company (sad, but true story of a woman I cat sat for..she made herself a stuffed man to hold at night. Yup, he was life-size too, full of straw and a soccer ball for a head.)
If you are a fan of the All Creatures Great and Small TV series and books, then you will recall Mrs. Bond and Boris. Mrs. (and Mr.) Bond had numerous indoor and outdoor cats and Mrs. Bond believes that Boris (not her husband) is a reincarnated gladiator (found this at TV Tropes…they have fun trivia about the series). Several wonderful episodes featured the escapades of Mr. Herriot or Tristan chasing and trying to take care of Boris and all the cats.
I mention Mrs. Bond and James Herriot because I recently became the keeper of more cats than I ever wanted. Indeed, it may only be a grand total of four, but my wallet is already much lighter and it shall be even lighter come Saturday when Chico is going to be neutered, castrated, spayed, get his balls cut off…otherwise four shall turn into more since both Chico (boy cat) and Chica (girl cat, related to boy cat) are known to breed, breed, and interbreed some more.
I did not set out to rescue these cats. It was presented to me. Just below the cottage where we live is a small barn and in August, the woman renting it left. I am not sure exactly what happened, but about a month ago, both Chico and Chica began to hang out a lot more on our front porch, preventing my boys from going out and enjoying the last few days of autumn. Sure, part of the reason they are there is because I started feeding them…but they were hanging out before I realized the new tenants had effectively booted the cats out of their warm and cozy barn. (Don’t worry, there are plenty of other warm cozy places for these cats.) And they won’t be moving in with us; our indoor cat balance is just right. Besides, I tried to close the door behind Chica and she flipped out. And Chico? He is a grumpy, yowling, cat scratching and fighting machine. Maybe I should call him Boris.
So think of me on Saturday morning, bright and early, protected by my thickest, puffiest, winter coat, hat, scarf, and gloves, armed and ready with a towel and food, with C spotting me from outside while I try to wrap a cat for Christmas.
Here is a lovely quote from the “real” James Herriot (found on GoodReads):
I think it was the beginning of Mrs. Bond’s unquestioning faith in me when she saw me quickly enveloping the cat till all you could see of him was a small black and white head protruding from an immovable cocoon of cloth. He and i were now facing each other, more or less eyeball to eyeball, and George couldn’t do a thing about it. As I say, I rather pride myself on this little expertise, and even today my veterinary colleagues have been known to remark, “Old Herriot may be limited in many respects, but by God he can wrap a cat.”
― James Herriot, James Herriot’s Cat Stories
Stay tuned for more cat stories. And remember. Adopt a pet! Spay your pets! Spay other people’s pets! Go on! Give them a special present for Christmas, or donate to your local shelter.