Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Felines

“Felines, nothing more than felines…” – or was that song about something else? Of course, I jest. Although the term ‘feline’ is often used to encompass all varieties of cat including lions, tigers and so on, I am referring here principally to the domestic cat.

Growing up, I don’t recall at any stage myself or my two brothers ever wanting a pet. Well, not a four-legged one anyway. We did get a goldfish at one point – mainly because of its inherent inability to wander at will around the house and leave traces of itself. Pets of the more free-roaming kind were not encouraged and we didn’t ask for one. It wasn’t until I met my wife that I gained a greater insight into what a house with pets looked and felt like. She grew up with a dog and a couple of cats and so was well versed in the benefits that come with having pets, not least of which is learning about and appreciating at first-hand some the more common animals with which we share the planet.

After we got married and acquired a place of our own, almost the first thing on the agenda was the procurement of a pet. A house close by was advertising that they had a couple of kittens so off went Teresa to bring home one for us. As is her nature, she couldn’t take one and leave the other – so all of a sudden we were a household of two adults and two grey tabby kittens or perhaps I should say we became two adults lodging in the home of two grey cats! As it happens, our favourite musical at the time was Cats and so our new family members received names which were first penned by T.S. Eliot. Mistoffelees and Skimbleshanks were a bit of a mouthful (no, sillies – we weren’t trying to eat them, just pronounce their names!) – so we shortened them to Misty and Skimble.

Misty was the timid one of the two. Skimble was the highly intelligent one – he even learned how to open doors by jumping on the handle and applying his weight. On more than one occasion he caused me to jump out of my skin when, thinking I was alone in the house, I’d see the handle turn on the sitting room door, the door gently push open - followed by Skimble slinking into the room.

I recall vividly the day I came home from work to find Skimble lying by the kerb outside our house. He’d finally run out of lives and his altercation with the neighbour’s car proved an escapade too far. I was gutted – way beyond my own belief and that’s when I truly appreciated how much a pet becomes part of your life and part of your family. Misty followed him to the Heaviside Layer a few years later.

Of course, our house is now owned by a different cat – this time one chosen by our son when he was 6 years old. Simba (no need to explain where that name came from) is a ginger tabby. If Misty was one of the most timid cats I’ve come across and Skimble one of the most intelligent, then Simba is by far and away one of the laziest – and one of the sneakiest but he gets away with it as he is rather cute looking! Yes, that’s him at the top of this post – posing while I took his picture last year.

If circumstances had been different and if we had someone around the house all day, I think I’d have plumped for a dog as my first pet. But cats were perfect for us really, being so easy to keep and apart from filling their bowls at their command, they are largely self-sufficient. We may well get a dog at some stage but I can’t ever imagine living in a house without a cat.


  1. Love the first sentence ;) Well done on the post, it's great.

  2. Simba is a handsome cat. He has earned the right to be lazy. I'd be lost without my cat, Dodie. They worm their way into your hearts. Lovely post again.

    1. Thanks Carol. They certainly do become an important part of your life.

  3. Hubby won't have a pet :( I'd love a little kitty.
    Feline's nothing more that felines????????????? are you kidding me? :D


  4. Love your play on the song lyrics. Anyone who thinks cats aren't intelligent has never spent time with cats. They are clever and sneaky. They keep us amused for however long they allow us to "own" them!