Wednesday, 18 January 2012

In which I say goodbye to a stalwart friend

Whilst I am, obviously, beyond thrilled that The Writer and I are soon going to be moving in together, there’s a tinge of sadness underlying the project: I’m going to have to give up Colin.

Colin back in the day in his foster home, atop the scratching post. These days, the top of that would barely take a paw.
I’ve refrained from posting incessantly about him here for fear of seeming quite the mad cat lady (although I think that’s rather undermined by the frequency of the photos that get posted to Twitter), but the truth is that the cat has been an essential part of my home.

Family Blonde has always had cats – it’s just the number that’s varied. From the stray kitten we took in, having found him starving under the chest freezer in the garage to those we’ve bought, or rescued from Wood Green via those we’ve been given when family friends have developed allergies, there’s always been at least one, usually two, often three prowling round the house.

In the bottom of the laundry basket. I didn't have time to take one when he fell into the bottom of the loo
So when I moved back to Home County and in by myself, getting a cat was one of the first things I was going to do. Before I’d even moved in, I called the local branch of Cats Protection to find out whether they would have any kittens available at any point in the next few months.

“Oh, yes, actually,” said the extraordinarily nice lady on the phone. “We’ve got a cat with one of our volunteers at the moment – the cat’s just given birth, so the kittens will be ready to go to new homes in about 12 weeks. Shall I reserve one for you?”

If he can climb onto it, he'll lie on it. Yes, that is the cooker hood.

We had a short discussion in which I said yes, I was fine with a black cat, and no, I wasn’t going to reject it if its eyes were the wrong colour and didn’t go with my décor (seriously: what is wrong with some people?), and I found myself as a prospective kitten parent.

Colin has now been with me for two and a half years. The kitten that used to fit easily inside the palm of my hand is now a large (very large) cat who takes up more room on the bed than The Writer, and eats at least as much hummus.

I love the fact he makes a little chirruping noise when he sees me; that he waits for me outside the front door in the evenings; and that he pulls a deeply amusing expression when you brush the patch just underneath his shoulder with the dog brush. I love that he’ll snuggle into bed on a weekend morning and curl up against me, wrapping his front paws round my arm; that he loves nothing more than hiding behind shrubs in the garden, waiting to launch himself at my unsuspecting leg; and that he has just two, tiny white hairs growing out of the bottom of his chin, making him look every inch the pantomime Chinaman.

But, despite all that, and the fact that I now can’t imagine Blonde Towers without Colin’s panther-like shape (and, to be brutally honest, size) slinking over the back of the sofa, up the stairs, or across the laptop keyboard, I’m going to have to bid him goodbye. Not only is TW allergic and it would be deeply unfair to put him on Benadryl for the rest of his life, Colin is most definitely a country cat – he’d take one look at the big city and get himself hit by a car.

So rather than put either of the males I love through fates they’d rather not endure, Colin is off to the home of Parentals Blonde. He’ll have plenty of space to run around; Pa Blonde to swear blind that Colin won’t be spoilt and then put the leftover Sunday roast in the cat dish; and beds and sofas aplenty to leave covered in long black fur.

So, whilst I’ll miss him, I know he’s going somewhere he’ll be happy, and where I can visit – with hummus – for hugs.

The view from my pillow. I've tried getting him to sleep in his own bed. It doesn't work.


Redbookish said...

I am a dog/horse person really, and a bit allergic to cats (but am on anti-histamines for life so one more allergen makes little difference), and never really thought of having a cat. But I've done a few stints of cat-sitting in DC (call it a transatlantic house swap) for a colleague, and the last time I came home, I really missed the slinky shadow of Charlie, the cat I look after. Not an easy cat, but a character and a presence. So I commiserate -- you'll miss the shadowy presence at your side that is a cat, pretending they don't need you, but all the same wanting to be near you. But then I still dream about my old Border Collie and my favourite pony, years after their deaths. I hope you don't feel that the Colin/TW swap was the wrong one! >> winky emoticon <<

theperpetualspiral said...

I'm sure Colin will enjoy his latest adventure in life, and it isn't like you're never going to see him again.

Am quite sure he really wouldn't enjoy life south of the river.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

I feel your pain. Leaving home meant leaving my dogs, and I really miss their presence. If it's between walking into the house to your housemate saying "Hiyyaaa!", or walking in to find a dog / cat saying (in it's own way) "OH MY GOD YOU'RE HOME! YOU CAME BACK! I LOVE YOU! YOU ARE AMAZING! SCRATCH ME!", I'd take the latter every time.

Bloody London.

Foodycat said...

A very tough choice but it sounds like Colin is going to be thoroughly indulged by your parents. He'll be happy as a clam.

Blonde said...

Red: I will, I'll miss him heaps. At least I'm not having to completely give him away - so cuddles are always an option.

Perp: You're quite right, on all counts. x

PDEWYMO: Hell yeah. The enthusiasm - even if it is just for food, which it normally is with cats - is brilliant.

Foodycat: Oh absolutely - he'll be utterly spoilt rotten, which does make the thought of leaving him easier!

Gourmet Chick said...

Oh so sad that you have to give him up. I had to do the same with a cat when I was young and moved house from a country house to one in town. Again we were scared he would get killed by a car. I still miss that cat!

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