I think it’s high time I introduced you all to my furry babies.
Minxie was the first. She came to me in 1980. The neighbours’ children had found her in the garden, a lovely little tabby kitten about a month old. I didn’t think her fate would be happy with them. They loved animals but had no idea how to care for them. A pair of pigeons they had adopted hadn’t lasted long and I swear that on one occasion, passing their apartment block, I saw a donkey looking out of their ground floor window! So I took the kitten home, more to keep her out of unsuitable hands than with any intention of keeping her – but then she looked me in the eye and told me her name was Minxie and my fate was sealed.
Minxie loved being picked up and petted. She hated it when I had to go out and when I returned from work in the evening, and called to her from the car-park, she would run to the living-room window and greet me.
Sadly, she succumbed to cancer in 1995, shortly before what would have been her fifteenth birthday.
Two months passed, and I took myself off on a coach tour to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. On the very day I returned, after over 24 hours without sleep and a night-flight which landed early in the morning, Dad and Ilana phoned to say that they had found a kitten and would I like to give her a home.
"What does she look like?" I asked.
"Sort of grey and white," my father replied.
"She’s very brave," Ilana added. "Shall we bring her round now?"
"Okay," I said, still half asleep.
Ten minutes later, the doorbell rang. The new kitten was there in Ilana’s arms – mostly white, with large tabby patches (grey and white indeed!) – and covered in fleas.
"Isn’t she beautiful?" Ilana said. Personally, I couldn’t see it, but I confined my comments to pointing out that "she" was, in fact, a male.
After that somewhat inauspicious start, Possum settled in happily and, after the flea problem had been dealt with, I decided to give him a companion. And so Pixie came to join us. I picked her out from her sisters because she reminded me of my beautiful Minxie. The Cat Welfare Society lady who was looking after them had named her, for some inexplicable reason, Elsa. Ridiculous! She was so obviously Pixie.
Appearance aside, Pixie was as different to Minxie as one could imagine. She hated being picked up – still does. She also hates having her paws touched. But she does love being petted and she especially likes being scratched behind the ears in a particular spot.
Possum grew into a magnificently handsome cat. I call him my MagnifiCat. Unlike Pixie, he loves being picked up and he loves having his paws stroked. And what paws they are – big, pink and white. Ilana always said he would be a big cat because even as a kitten, he had huge paws.
When my furry babies were about two years old, I moved to my present apartment. The thing I most remember about Moving Day was that Possum so hated being transported in the cat carrier I had borrowed from a friend, that he actually cried. He had teardrops rolling down his cheeks. I have never seen anything like that, before or since.
They each have their favourite places. Possum likes to sit on the arm of the living room sofa, with his paws hanging down on either side. Pixie (otherwise known as PixiCato) likes to wriggle into my bed under the blankets, and many is the time she has narrowly escaped being sat upon. Each of them also has a favourite window from which they like to observe the world. Pixie likes the study, with its view of the street, from where she can watch the comings and goings of the neighbours. Possum prefers the living-room, where he can keep an eye on the garden.
They’ve been with me for over eleven years now. Since I don’t know their exact dates of birth, we celebrate Possum’s birthday on the 4th of July and Pixie’s, on the 14th of that month. American Independence Day and Bastille Day!
Well, now you’ve met my babies. Take a look at them. Aren’t they gorgeous?