Oscar is a big ginger tom cat and recently turned eight-years-old. I say big – he’s actually about the size of a small dog! He’s the more reserved one of the bunch. He’s also rather selective about who he graces with his presence, however, once he trusts you, he’ll happily sit on your lap for cuddles and has the loudest purr I’ve ever heard.
Luther arrived about four years ago, with his twin brother, Dexter. The day after Adam and I went on our first date, he sent me a picture of two sorry looking black kittens that had been found by a skip outside his office. His colleagues had tried contacting the local rescue shelters but they were full. I offered to take them in temporarily and Adam brought them over that evening.
I gently picked them up and it was love at first sight. Granted, it took a little longer for Adam and I to get to that point but these guys had already stolen my heart. There was no way that I could turn my back on them so the next day, I took them to the vets and they officially became part of the family.
Oscar was furious. He grumbled every time they got close and refused to acknowledge them – until I woke up one morning to find him sleeping next to Dexter. After that, the ice was broken and, although he’d fully never let on, I think he was secretly glad to have two new siblings.
Dexter and Luther were inseparable and loved nothing more than snuggling up in my dressing gown. Dexter somehow learnt to play ‘fetch’ and would drop his foam ball at my feet, waiting for me to throw it so that he could bring it straight back again.
Sadly, we lost Dexter a year later. He’d been out exploring the nearby fields and was hit by a car on his way home. We were all utterly heartbroken. I sobbed in the vet’s waiting room, silently willing them to tell me that we’d gotten it wrong, that it wasn’t Dexter. They confirmed the worst and we left him at the surgery, driving home with a heavy heart.
His brother, Luther, cried all night. I wish that I could speak to them at times like that, to explain why Dexter hadn’t returned but deep down, I think he knew. We had no idea that, just a few weeks later, history would repeat itself as my phone beeped and an image of three little feline faces popped up on the screen.
Adam’s colleague had found three frightened kittens in the very same place that Dexter and Luther had been discovered. I was still hurting from the hole that Dexter had left in our lives but something inside of me wondered if we could make room for one more at the inn. The two female kittens had already found their forever home together so I agreed that we could care for the black and white male.
He was absolutely petrified as I soothed him with cuddles and food. He clung to my jumper and I whispered to him that he was safe. Another trip to the vets told us that he was three weeks old but healthy and that was that. I stayed up during the night to make sure he was eating properly and he soon grew in confidence.
Of course, Lex would never be a ‘replacement’ for Dexter but simply another much-loved addition to our feline family. Luther showed us just how flipping brilliant he is by taking on the role of ‘big brother’ with ease. Oscar seemed indifferent but we’d occasionally find them chasing each other around the house in a playful, energetic game of ‘cat tag’!
Our mismatched tribe is a lively but happy one. You see, just like us humans, cats each have their own unique quirks. Luther likes to sniff everything. Honestly, he is such a curious cat! He’s also incredibly caring and patient, especially around children. As I said, Oscar is initially quite cautious but is a big softie deep down.
And Lex? Well, Lex is undeniably the baby of the family. Every day without he fail, he greets me when I get home by climbing up my leg and perching on my shoulders for a good ten minutes, like a clumsy feline parrot.
I let them sleep all in our bed, despite declaring that I never would; that’s always fun on a cold night when there are five of us vying for the duvet! We also quite like to squash up on the sofa together and watch wildlife documentaries. I even loan them my iPad on occasion to play online cat games. I did draw the line at buying them a bespoke cat tee-pee recently but I suppose there’s still time yet…
Megan often rolls her eyes and says, ‘Mum, you really do treat those cats like babies’ – she has a valid point! I can sometimes be found nattering to them in the kitchen, much to Adam’s confusion as he asked who I’m talking to; I have a special ‘cat voice’ and everything.
When it comes to dining, my boys are rather fussy about what they eat, which is surprising given that they like to drink from puddles when they think we’re not looking. They’ve always had a dry food diet with plenty of fresh water dotted around the house and occasional pouches of wet food as a treat.
When we were sent a bundle of Whiskas Cat Casserole pouches for them to try recently, I’m fairly sure that they thought Christmas had come early. Luther, in true Luther fashion, finished his bowl in approximately 0.8 seconds and then proceeded to beg his brothers for their portions.
They were having none of it though and ignored his charms in favour of devouring every last morsel for themselves. I’m obviously biased but I fully believe that Lex and Luther deserve a treat every now and again, given their rough start in life and Oscar…well, he deserves treats for simply putting up with them both!
Do you have little ways of treating your own feline friends?
*This post is in conjunction with Whiskas but all thoughts are my own.