Friday thought #29 Cats with character

Maybe it’s a little strange to constantly keep a camera handy in order to take photos of your cat, but when your cat is as ridiculous, handsome and and fluffy as Gozo, it’s almost a necessity! Plus,  it has become clear that cats are by far the most popular creature on the internet, so why not share the love?! As a first time visitor to our house recently remarked: “What a magnificent beard!”

I must admit that a few years ago I would have placed myself firmly in the ‘dog camp’, seeing cats as aloof, grumpy and rather miserable creatures; a long way behind the canines as suitable household pets. But how my thoughts have changed! This one is truly remarkable, and unfortunately has made us realise that our future cats from now on will have to be Ragdolls. Once you’ve had a Ragdoll there’s no going back!

Is it really a cat?
Is it really a cat?
A pose he actually CHOOSES of his own accord...!
A pose he actually CHOOSES of his own accord…!

Friday thought #28 Apartment hunting – what matters and what doesn’t??

When looking to move to a new town, finding somewhere to live is an absolute minefield, especially when you don’t currently live in the place you’re planning to move to. Do you look to live in the city centre? Right in the hustle and bustle but easier to make friends and socialise. Or do you look out of town? Quiet, peaceful, more space and overall more appealing but with the knowledge that you may end up feeling cut off and out of touch. Should you live near work and avoid the commute, or live somewhere more desirable and travel to work? So many things to consider!!

It’s a big step upping sticks and moving somewhere completely new, and add to that a new country and a new language and your life suddenly becomes very complicated. However hunting around, comparing prices and studying maps of the area is a great way of finding your way round a new place. You very quickly get a feel for where you would like to be, what’s too big, what’s too small and far more importantly than what you do want, is to eliminate what you absolutely don’t want.

I’d say this can be the same for many aspects of life, if you can’t decide what you’re looking for or where you would like to be, consider what you’re not looking for and you will immediately reduce your options enormously. When looking at somewhere to live, for example, an estate agent’s website may display 300 potential properties in the city and surrounding area. No-one has time to trawl through all of these but by carefully considering your criteria you can vastly narrow your search, thus making the whole process much less irritating! But the big question is, what are your criteria? Being forced to think about it really makes you realise what is important and what is an unnecessary luxury. How many bedrooms do you really need? How often is the spare bedroom actually used? How desperately do you need a garden? What can you get rid of? How will your cat come and go? By adamantly insisting that you will only consider 3 bedroomed houses, are you missing out on some lovely 2 bedroomed places?

All useful questions, the answers to which are only considered when we’re forced to make a decision. But it’s a very useful exercise whereby you often learn something new about yourself. What do you really need, and what do you not? The answer is rarely what you first expected…

Friday thought #21 Travelling with a cat

 So wanting to avoid sounding like a weird cat person as much as possible, we took our cat back to the UK for Christmas… Approximately 12 hours driving plus a 2 hour ferry, each way. Sounds odd I know, but we figured it was easier and cheaper than asking someone to come in and look after him, or paying for him to stay in a cat hotel. Plus, more importantly, he’s a really cool cat and quite enjoys being in the car!

Just a few highlights from the journey with the cat: feet up on the dashboard checking out the view, sleeping on the gear stick and voluntarily getting out for a wee at a service station. We’re still not entirely convinced he’s actually a cat…!

Just checking out the scenery...
Just checking out the scenery…
Just having a bit of quiet time in the driving seat...
Just having a bit of quiet time in the driving seat…
The most awkward place to sit in the whole car, but he is a cat after all...
Who ever said that cats weren’t awkward…?!
Still interested, even after a 10 hour car journey...
Still interested, even after a 10 hour car journey…

Friday Thought #4 The simple joy created by a pet waiting for you at home

I didn’t grow up with a cat or a dog, therefore I never really had strong feelings either for or against the household pets as a child. We had the standard hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs etc, but occasionally poking at a small creature in a cage isn’t quite the same as taking your dog for a walk. Having no personal experience of these pets, my only opinions were formed through limited time spent with friends’ pets. I grew up with the belief that dogs were big, goofy, friendly creatures who were ‘man’s best friend’ and always keen for a walk.   Cats on the other hand were generally considered to be reasonably unfriendly creatures who either slept all day or stalked around, aloof and uninterested. I always liked the idea of having a dog but assumed taking care of them would be too much work, and was never really interested in having a cat as I didn’t really see the point. So overall, as a family we weren’t really pet people.

So a few years ago when my boyfriend suggested we get a cat, I wasn’t massively enthused. I didn’t see the benefit of a hoity toity creature stalking around, ignoring us completely and coming and going when it pleased. But it didn’t offend me too much either and as he was desperately keen, I obliged. And then Lilou arrived, possibly the most un-cat-like cat that’s ever lived. She was desperate for constant attention, loved a belly rub and was only happy whilst sitting on your knee. I had no idea how much I was going to love having a cat as a pet until Lilou came along. However Lilou was a rescue cat and quite elderly. We only had her for a year and a half before she died, but had to remind ourselves that her last 18 months of life with us had to beat being in a cage.

But I had the bug, coming home to a now empty house was unbearable. Sure it’s ‘only a cat’, but the joy created from a creature waiting for you as soon as you walk through the door is something that you just don’t appreciate until it’s not there anymore. After a month of being ‘cat-less’ we decided it was time to get a new one. Not a replacement for Lilou, but a new pet for us. So along came Gozo. It was difficult to imagine a cat more affectionate and more un-cat-like than the last one, but we’ve managed to hit the jackpot once again and have adopted one of the cutest creatures on earth!

I can safely say that I am now a ‘cat person’, not suggesting that means I’m not a ‘dog person’ as I’m fairly sure you can be a fan of both, but I can no longer imagine a house without a cuddly creature wandering around and despite the fact that Gozo might be around for the next 15 years or more, I already feel nervous for when he’s not!

 Gozo the cat

The cutest cat in the World?!
The cutest cat in the World?!