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  • Writer's pictureSheila Norton

My cats - my inspiration

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Writing my book about Oliver, the cat who saved Christmas, has brought back lots of memories of my own cats - sadly none of them with us now.The memories have provided me with plenty of inspiration for the book.

Misty as a kitten

Misty was a sweet, affectionate little Devon Rex. She had the loudest purr we'd ever heard. She liked to be warm, loved to sit on our laps for a cuddle and was often known to twine herself around my shoulders like a scarf! She was also happy to cuddle up to Sophie, our Springer Spaniel dog, and liked playing with Lucky, the cat next door. She did also get up to mischief sometimes. Her worst crime was jumping up on the kitchen worktop in my next door neighbour's house, where a turkey had been left ready for carving - and getting inside it to eat her way out! Misty was ten years old when, sadly, we lost her to a road accident, a horrible shock which took me quite some time to get over.

But after a while, we decided to acquire two new kittens. So our family was joined by Charlie and Oscar, two little Burmese brothers. Charlie was chocolate brown, and Oscar was 'lilac' - actually a pale creamy colour.

Charlie & Oscar

They were very good friends and always slept together, curled up like one ball of fur together - although, like Misty before them, they often chose to sleep with Sophie the dog.

Charlie, Oscar & Sophie dog

Neither of the boys grew very big, but Charlie remained smaller than Oscar and always had a cheeky look about him, where Oscar seemed a little more dignified! Both boys liked hunting, and unfortunately sometimes liked to bring us the results. They hunted as a team, and sometimes got the dog involved too ... with quite horrible results. More than once we'd come home to find carnage in the kitchen. They were playful and affectionate, but didn't like being kept indoors - which, unfortunately, was how they both came to grief.

We moved house when they were eight years old. There was a cat flap in the new house, so we locked it while they got used to their new surroundings. We even barricaded the flap with pieces of wood and two heavy stools, because we knew what escape artists the cats were. They cried and howled with anguish at being locked in, and then one morning we found the stools on their sides, the barricade knocked away, the cat flap unlocked - and our two boys gone. After a campaign of leafleting the area, appeals in the local media and phone calls to a​​ll the local vets and Cats Protection League, Charlie was found two weeks later up a tree, thin and hungry.

Charlie - home again

He was so happy to be taken home - and lived to the ripe old age of 16. Sadly, despite being collared and tagged and all our efforts, Oscar was never found, but years later when a neighbour bought a similar cat, exactly Oscar's colour and half Burmese, Charlie befriended him. It was as if he was remembering his brother when he saw the newcomer - just as we did.

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