My cats

Wherever I’m writing, cats find me. Thirteen floors up in a newly built, almost empty apartment block in fabulous Tbilisi, Georgia. A cat comes a wandering. A house by the sea, near a village in Tobago, a cat sleeks in after dusk. In Lamu Town, on Lamu, an amazing island off the coast of Kenya, a town almost owned by cats – they come almost hourly.

I am well trained. I offer bribery (quality food, thoughtfully placed strokes, a quiet place to sleep). Cats bring presence, fur, persistence for selective attention – and of course, swagger. Tail high in. Tail high out.

In a Cape Town apartment the tabby belonged to a neighbour below. On Lamu, with an open roof to the house, any cat would come and go (gingers, tux, mix, you name it). I was on feline patrol routes, but one made it home, a young tabby mix. In Tobago, a tortoiseshell youngster would come for an evening feed and nap before returning to the black, black Cassurina-whispered night. My second place in Tobago had a resident calico, Kitty. The dog was called Puppy. The parrot was not called Birdie.

It's been a long time since I’ve had my own cats. Travel and circumstances haven’t allowed. So these, and friends’ cats, and strangers on the street (usually also high-tailed), are my company. My first actual cat was a black cat called Blue because I couldn’t pronounce Baloo from Jungle Book. The second, Tootsie, a young tabby, didn’t adjust to moving to a rural environment (the asbestos hut around the back of a stately home in the book’s author bio), so she was returned to city life in Leeds. A puppy came next, Cass – a golden sheepdog through being a rough collie/border collie cross – clever, feisty, loyal doesn’t do her justice.
Years later, came Oscar, a grey-smoke Persian rescue, who arrived shaved and unhappy. He spent the first month on the sofa tops avoiding an uninterested Cass, but was a wonderful cat, if never likely to join Mensa.

A cat who could join Mensa (if they have a section for deviants) was Dottie/Bonkers, a genetically deaf white cat we thought wouldn’t last two-minutes because of her fierce independence and traffic doing what traffic does. 20 teeth-sinking, vacuum-riding, howling for anything, stroke-me-or-else, years later she was still at it all until the end.

Spice – Tobago

Tortie cat on sofa at night in Tobago looking directly at the camera

Kitty – Tobago

Calico cat lounging on a glass table outside in the shade in Tobago

Tabby visitor in Lamu, Kenya

Tabby cat asleep on a day bed in Lamu

Cape Town visitor

Young tabby cat visitor in Cape Town getting a head scratch

Bali visitor

Ginger cat night visitor in Bali, asleep by my side in the outside lounge

Oscar the rescue

 Oscar the Persian lounging in the back garden



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This is a wonderful read for anyone aged 9 to 90. Think Harry Potter meets Horrible Histories… I’m in my 50’s and enjoyed it immensely. I fell in love with Thunderpaws and can’t wait for his next adventures. The cat mannerisms are hilarious and very true to life. The book is a piece of art and beautiful to hold and read from and the illustrations are wonderful. I’m not going to give much away as you need to read this alone or with a child and become lost in its magic xxx

Rachel, Goodreads