Scarlett, born March 1996, has been with the family since she was two months old. She is now at the ripe old age of 12. I have no pictures of her when she was young, because none of us could work a camera properly and they are all blurry black blobs on a piece of paper that could be a bin bag or a kitten.
Scarlett was bought from a pet shop in Crews Hill, as many of my pets also did. This particular pet shop was an odd one, more like a zoo with free entry. If I remember correctly, they had meerkats, caimans (!), red squirrels, bullfinches and loads and loads of snakes. A few weeks before buying Scarlett, I remember seeing a pregnant Rex which was very friendly. I now think this cat was Scarlett's mother, and she has actually inherited some of that breed's characteristics, I think (very short crimped fur which falls out easily, Scarlett goes partially bald for a while each year, then the fur grows back).
All I can recall about Scarlett's first year was that she didn't like me very much, until she became pregnant and would come to me for comfort. She was 12 months old when she gave birth to five kittens on 31st March 1997. The father was a stray we nicknamed "Romeo" or another tabby stray, but not Sapphire as he was neutered before being sexually mature. Scarlett was a very good mother to her babies, each different looking to the other. One female was exactly like herself, with the white throat spot, two males were tabby and black and white, and the two other females were tabby and white, and the most unusual shade of creamy brown and white with a black-tipped tail, reminiscent of a stoat in its winter coat. This, the first born, we kept, and named Dolly after Ms. Parton (not my choice of name). Dolly matured into a pale brown spotted and white tabby, and kept the black banded tail. More about her later.
Scarlett's next episode happened after we couldn't find her for more than a day. Her daughter helped us to find her, sheltering in the garden shed, and she was injured; her tail was limp. The tail was amputated, and her bobtail look is now her most distinctive feature. She has gotten on well without a tail, and is still more agile than either of the other two cats.
Scarlett loves hiding in a nook between a fitted fridge and the plate cupboard, it can be impossible to get her out of there; my trick is to open a packet of chicken slices near the fridge. She hates loud noises, especially tin foil and the noise you make when you cough up phlegm (there's no nice way to describe it, I've tried). Her current favourite places to nap are on a pink cushion on one of the sofas near the kitchen, as well as on a padded footstool in the conservatory. She has also taken to sunbathing on the freezer in the conservatory when the sun is out. Her favourite human food other than meat is cheddar cheese, and she adores whipped cream from a can.
The next instalment will be about Sapphire...