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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