Or… “Animal Tails”…?

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Here’s the start of my other option… how does this compare to “Dream”?

The Beginning…

Why is it that the colour palette of childhood memories remains so vivid in your mind’s eye, so poignant, so carefully delineated…my very first memory involves a cat, and from that day to the present I have usually been accompanied by a cat or two. Or three. Currently four…

My very first cat, my very first friend was Snoopy, a large black cat, who was originally a gift from my father to my mother. She however, has resolutely remained a “dog” person so Snoopy, by default, became my particular friend and comfort.

I was born in the seventies, not so far removed from the Golden Age of Hippydom, the Summer of Love and Psychedelia, but very different in terms of attitudes as strikes, unrest and power cuts made the news. For me though, it was a time of learning and sharing, an establishing of my own little foothold in the world around me.

My first memory then, my waking into being if you will, involves the sort of day we all remember from being a child: golden, dusted with magic and sunshine. On this day, I remember very clearly, bunching my fists in my cat’s furry armpits and hauling him upright to walk with me.

I remember so very clearly – I was maybe about two or three – the thick plushness of Snoopy’s fur, soft as love, the smooth cotton of my dress – blue with white flowers – and the springy dry feel of grass under my bare feet. The colours were bright and crisp, so bright you could taste them and smells – I wish I could bottle the scents of childhood, the golden days of summer when the sun shone, the sky was blue and the Earth gently baked.

Snoopy walked tippytoes with me, good naturedly and patiently. He was the first in my long and usually rewarding association with animals, my first introduction to the value of their friendship and love. He went on to be my best friend, dressed uncomplainingly in dolls clothes and a major player in my childhood adventures in the theatre of my imagination.

The sun was high overhead and the clouds were white and puffy, like cotton wool or cold candy floss that you could reach up and pull down by the handful to eat. At that age, every day is an eternity, a page waiting to be filled, a story just beginning…

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Lotus And Laughter

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I was at once drawn to this beautiful stone… I have a crystal point necklace in it and I was very taken then, by the gentle greens and greys of this member of the jasper family.

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I owe them an apology actually – I dismissed all of them out of hand at one point simply because I wasn’t immediately drawn to Red Jasper… and now they are having the last laugh, laying out their bounty of crystals from Ocean to Polychrome… like a tempting metaphysical cheeseboard… without any of the side effects I seem to have acquired after eating cheese, like double vision and a blinding headache.

Anyway… this palmstone is about the size and thickness of a digestive biscuit, a wonderful mix of translucent green and grey, two of my favourite colours, with a delicate overlay of black spots.

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Jasper is a great crystal for comfort and relaxation, so it is sometimes also called the Supreme Nurturer. It’s highly protective and a stone of balance – you’re balanced in yourself, Mind, Body, Spirit, then you can heal more completely and easily.

Lotus Jasper in particular, will bring peace and calm, evoking your ability to relax and deal with difficult situations. It’s healing and soothing, and good to work with for grief, restoring balance to the heart chakra.

Humour and laughter bing balance to Life – it’s not all doom and gloom after all. My son has the ability to reduce me to tears – through laughter, of course, and I find my cats an endless source of laughter. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that sometimes I provide as much laughter for them as they do me…

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I’m usually away with the fairies most of the time, and therefore the perfect subject for stealth attacks. An under-the-bed ambush is guaranteed to produce a rewarding scream of fright and leap in the air – followed by the tap-tap-tap of claw paws running away…

Ha ha! Got her a good one there!”

Has anyone else ever experienced the crushing weight of panic in a dream and as you struggle back to consciousness with ever-increasing desperation you become aware that no, you really can’t breathe, there’s an awful weight on your chest, perhaps you’re having a heart attack and somehow there’s a terrible smell of catfood …

Brrp!! Hi! Were you sleeping? Not now – ha ha ha!”

Then Tooty kicks you in the face as she jumps off your chest restoring breath …

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Cats definitely have a more subtle sense of humour than dogs… Dogs – at least, my mother’s dogs – are more “Hey, look! I’ll knock you six feet in the air – that’s funny!” And then they jump on you while you are lying on the floor considering whether to call an ambulance or just cut out the middleman and go straight to the undertakers…

So yes. I think living with me, my cats have enough to laugh at and so I can pride myself on my sophistication – if I’m enough to make a cat then I must be pretty cool… I think.

Or is the joke on me…?

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Tooty’s Tale

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Tooty had a… confused start in life. She is Ting’s sister, no doubt about that as they share a bond of sibling affection that I don’t see between Charlie and Lily, even though they’ve known each other since they were a couple of months old. How we found them is the subject of an earlier post: ‘The Finding of Kittens’, but although Ting’s place in our family was assured – my partner knew of my secret, long-held desire for a Siamese – Tooty, as a black cat was held as being surplus to requirements in my partner’s opinion. Besides which, we already had a black cat, little Lily, the dainty, pretty murderess who had captured my partner’s heart with her killing charm.

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However, I loved Tooty the moment I saw her for her bravery. She was the first one to leave the safety of the hedge for an unknown future with us. I had absolutely no intention of separating the sisters. I just never mentioned it. So she stayed, and I say a ‘confused’ start to life with us since we were convinced she was a tom, and actually called her Derek for her first few months of living with us.

She grew and developed into a black cat with a charm and beauty of her own. She doesn’t have the fragile prettiness of Lily, rather the sleek, powerful lines of the traditional parlour panther. She is the only cat I have with eyes the colour of Citrine or Amber, depending on the light… a proper witch’s cat but she has the temperament of a particularly cuddly marshmallow.

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Like all my girls, I took her to the vet to be spayed, however, she did develop a chest infection after, and although it cleared up after antibiotics, it has left her with the tendency to snore. And I mean snore. A real roof rattling reverberation… Her meow is quite funny too. She’s not the most talkative of cats, unlike Charlie or Ting, but when she does meow, it’s more a croaky “Wah!” sound. A bit like a goose. Tooty “Brrrp’s” a lot though.

Brp! Hi, I’m here,”

BRPP! I didn’t see you there, you scared me!”

Brp-wah… sure it’s feeding time…”

Tooty has the most wonderful purr though, a deep, melodic soothing rumble. She likes to cuddle in the bed next to you and will lie, legs in the air, so you can stroke her chest, eyes blissfully closed, purring away like a little motor.

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She and her sister, Ting, still play together as well – sometimes a little too roughly and the fur tufts fly. It’s soon forgotten though, as they greet each other affectionately with a tender lick between the ears.

So. Despite having a duplicate of colour in cats, Tooty brings her own special qualities to my feline fur family. She is loving and affectionate, a confident panther who stalks the rooms of my house, “brrrping” and throwing catnip mice around…

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“We are Siamese if you please…”

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Ever since I was a little girl and I heard those immortal words from the classic Disney film ‘Lady and the Tramp’, I was besotted with Siamese and overcome with the desire to have one for my very own. When I was a little girl they weren’t exactly a common breed, but when my old cat passed, my parents moved heaven and earth to find me a suitable replacement. A Burmese. Don’t get me wrong because I adored him, and my fondness for Siamese faded into the background.

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I have had a succession of cat family members, my most recent being the four ‘Girls’, the ‘Big Girls’ and the ‘Little Girls’. I have already told the story of how we acquired the ‘Little Girls’ in an earlier post and how I finally came to own a Siamese.

image[9].jpeg“Yay! My forever home!”

Granted she has no pedigree to prove her background, but she is the sweetest natured cat I have ever had the pleasure to know and love. Admittedly she is not the brightest of cats, but from the tip of her chocolate kinked tail to her brown leather nose she is every inch an elegant Siamese to look at. And hear.

CAM00115.jpgIn my son’s bed – I’d just changed the sheets!!

Waaaaahh! I’m here! What’s happening!”

It is heart-rending when we have to go out… a puzzled brown face and slightly crossed blue eyes watches our departure and her howls echo after us… even round the corner…

Waaaaoooh! Whyyyyy! Nooooah! Don’t go! Please! Come back…”

The look of sheer pleasure on her little face as she comes running to greet us, purring thunderously and then flopping at our feet so we can rub her tummy. She will roll ecstatically from side to side, grabbing at our hands with her paws and mouth – never to bite or scratch, although there have been a couple of accidents where she’s snagged me… The devastated look on her face afterwards has me comforting her!

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She is certainly the most talkative cat I’ve ever had, and will keep up a running commentary on whatever she sees me doing:

Hi! What shall we do Oh, you’re going to clean the bathroom, that’s always good for a laugh…”

My partner chose her name… he likes ‘Little Britain’ and doesn’t have to take the cats to the vets…

Ting Tong! Ting Tong Maccadangdang!” muffled snickers from the – of course – crowded waiting room…

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She adores having her photo taken. The other girls don’t mind and will quite happily pose for a while, but Ting actively loves the camera…

Oh yes! He’s got the whirry box! Me! Look! I’m here right now! I’ll waive my fees…” as she tramples over Lily to get to my son and rub her face lovingly on the camera.

She is the sweetest, most loving cat. From the lost little kitten, she has grown into a happy, confident cat who never fails to put a smile on my face as she gazes at me with love in her – slightly crossed – sapphire blue eyes.

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All photos were taken by my son!

Lily

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No, not that sort of lily. A much more deadly sort, although just as beautiful… I was surprised to hear quite recently actually, that black cats are the most difficult cats to re-home, along with black and white cats. I love black cats, their sleek elegance, their pantherish qualities and above all, their individuality. My first cat, the one who saw me into this world, was called Snoopy and was black. A beefy ex-tom, with soft thick fur who bore my childish maulings with good natured equanimity.

Now I have two black cats, alike only in colour as they are so very different in temper, nature and looks.

Yes, looks. I have a nice little daydream sometimes, in which I have about seven black cats that I can tell apart, of course, along with a collection of black and white cats… like a herd of furry mini-cows…

I have a soft spot for tabbies – my old cat was a tabby and a gentleman of the highest order – but Lily. A tiny black tiger, a dusky, dainty demon…

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Lily came to us a couple of months after I acquired my princess Charlie; my younger son missed my old cat too, and as Charlie was very definitely my baby, he wanted his own kitten, along with the guinea pigs and the budgie. But who am I to say no, and it meant as much to me to see him holding Lily and smiling.

Lily grew and thrived, although neither of my older female cats are very big. Ting and Tooty, the kittens as we still call them, are both taller and broader than the big girls… but regard their big sisters with a wary respect. Lily also acquired first class hunting skills and remains chief procurer of mice and birds. She has rather a dark sense of humour too… perhaps in keeping with her colour…

However, although at first glance Lily is dull black, when she sits in the sun her fur bursts into vibrant life. The sunlight strikes tones of burnished gold and amber into her coat. Shades of burnt marmalade and tiger stripes of rust decorate her little face and legs, as she becomes a feline of light, rather than a panther of darkness…

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Her eyes are emerald green, filled with cattish quickness and for someone so delicately fierce, you would expect a roar at the very least. But no, when she opens her mouth – revealing tiny sharp ivory points – the sweetest “Mew!” emerges…

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Yet for such a little cat carrying the weight of witchy forbears, she can be surprisingly playful. She loves to leap into the laundry basket and whirl round and round, chasing her own tail. She’s never quite grasped the concept of play, unless it’s with claws, consequently the other cats never really believe her pretend pounces and flee in terror…

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She thinks nothing of walking up to Ting who is a good few inches taller than her, and slapping her: “Too slow!” Ting retires for comfort as Lily carries on her way, hooking Tooty’s leg – just for fun – as she goes by.

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So, ‘Lily Lily Mouse Killy’, although the sweetest of cats to us, is a force to be reckoned with, charming and cheerful, fluffy and pretty. When she looks at me, her eyes hold hidden secrets… and sometimes… I wonder…

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