I wrote this post ages ago, while I was stitching the cat portraits. Now that they’re finished and framed I can go ahead and post it…
We adopted Frosty from a great aunt of mine, who couldn’t see anything wrong with starving a pure white angora cat so she would ‘keep the mice down on the farm’. Frosty’s hard start in life meant she hissed when people went near her at first, but she softened up a little (except to Mum, who called her ‘that little bitch’ in moments of frustration). She knew she was a stunner, and would sit inside the front gate, just out of reach, to attract attention – only consenting to come forward for a pat after much admiration and coaxing. She’d greet me there when I got home from school, and ride on my shoulders into the house.
Pepe le Pew was one of many cats dumped up the top of our street, where the greenbelt farms began, usually a few months after Christmas. We found him under the playhouse. He was the cat that turned my Mum from a cat hater to a cat lover. He would come inside and call ‘Mum! Mum!’ until he found her, then if she was napping come up and gently touch his nose to hers. He couldn’t purr, instead making a kind of husky pant that caused much hilarity during quiet pauses in conversation. Being such a pale cat, he developed skin cancer and despite our attempts to remove and prevent it he died at eight years old.
Peri Peri was my first cat. Well, my ex picked him at the shelter because he had ‘attitude’, and I suspect his mood swings were the reason his previous owners reject him. He nearly died a few months later from a blockage in his urinary system caused by the additives in ordinary cat food. Once no longer in pain, his ‘attitude’ changed into affection and playfulness and he became very talkative. We used to play a game where he’d chase me around the house – I’d hide and he’d race around to find me. When I split with the ex I Peri Peri behind, thinking it unfair to drag a cat from familiar surrounds, but adopted him again when the ex moved to an apartment. He soon won Paul over with his doglike ways.
Our current cat, Slinky, is another rescue cat. He was supposed to be 3 years old, but from his kittenish behaviour and his growth after we adopted him we reckon he was about one to one and a half. A former stray, he is freaked out by rain and garbage trucks, but likes people. He’s fast when playing, and easy to train though hard to dissuade from chewing power cords, scratching carpet and swiping at toes. He is a very talkative cat, and twitters at birds through the windows.