The Cats in my life.

As a young boy we always had dogs because my dad was a ‘dog’ man, so I had little contact with cats. We did have some friends who had relatives in Thetford, a rural area in the East of England. They had a farm and as you know, you have to have cats at a farm!

There was another place where I remember a cat, Trelawney farm in Cornwall (SW England), where we’d holiday when I was small. There were two dogs, a blind one and a small dog (unusual on a farm), called ‘Tiny’. Then there was a cat that I always chased to pet but could never catch!

A few years after the death of my father when I was 17, my mum bought a cat, ‘Penny’, which was quite a handful! I met my wife to be, so I’ll say no more!

I remember she (Penny) would hide on the stairs and as you passed the bannisters, she’d take a swipe at you! There were times that she would be quite placid too, so you really never knew where you were emotionally!

My wife and I moved to Canada where we lived for a few years and became established. So, before the price of antique cars went through the roof, I went off to buy an old Jaguar which meant an overnight stay. I never bought the car, but interestingly spent the evening away, with the friend I’d gone to see, with a cat on my lap.

When I got back, my wife and two young children ushered me into the back room (den) and introduced me to my new home companion! Yes, you guessed it, our family cat who was to live with us for the next 19 years.

The children were small then, our daughter 9 and son 7. The kitten had been one of an unwanted litter and I was pleased for the family, but truthfully, felt somewhat ambivalent about his arrival. I didn’t so much get a Jaguar, as a small house cat!

They loved him to bits, and I had a competition between the kids to decide his name. I then suggested some silly names like ‘Nostrils’, ‘Whiskers’ and “Kipper” and surprisingly everyone loved the second, so he then officially became “Kipper”


He very quickly became the centre of the household and if we ever went anywhere, he came too, complaining all the way of course! Looking back, he had a pretty wonderful existence. He remained a house cat and didn’t go out – and many of our friends thought this cruel, but apart from anything else, we didn’t think he’d last 5 minutes in a scrap! He had favourite places during the day to get the most sunlight, however, since cats are very poor at producing vitamin D in response to sunlight, Kipper considered it his duty to ensure that he was at least doing his best to maximize his exposure! Cats of course get their vitamin D from their food.

We remember one of his ‘out of house’ experiences …

To be continued ……..