A guest blog from Cleve West - which proves that cats are adept at finding the best of people to look after them.. A.S.
We have had cats most of my fifty years and the pain of losing them (even when they are well past their best) is unbearable. In fact the sadness of our last cat, Ushi, joining all the others under the York stone terrace in our backyard was so bad that we couldn't bear to get another as we thought her irreplaceable. But a few months ago, Russ came into our lives. He originally belonged to one of our neighbours but they had children and, being of a slightly nervous disposition, soon left home and moved in with another neighbour for some peace and quiet. It was a tense time. The children obviously wanted Russ back and naturally made a fuss but, as we all know, cats are independent souls and can't be forced to stay put. Eventually everyone calmed down and Russ, oblivious to the chaos he had created, spent two years in tranquillity before his new family decided to adopt Billie. Billie is a spaniel and, by weird coincidence, belonged to Emma Townshend's sister. Russ, who didn't give a shit whose sisters it belonged to, packed his bags and camped outside our front door for weeks before we nervously invited him in. We didn't want to start another war but we couldn't leave him in the cold especially as his nervousness made him lose some of his fur. Eventually we told the neighbour that he was spending most of his time with us and tentatively asked them if they wanted us to feed him. Thankfully they agreed that this was the best course of action and, for the last six months, Russ has again found sanctuary and his fur has grown back. Apart from having an unnerving similarity to Ushi (which makes us wish we'd never read Stephen King's 'Pet Sematary') he has quickly become a welcoming fixture and, as long as we don't let children, dogs or, come to think of it, Emma Townshend, stay for any length of time he might see fit to stay with us for a while. It should be fun, especially as he has a weird habit of trying to do headstands when he's in a good mood but is totally freaked out when I practice yoga of a morning.
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