11am Saturday 12th January and I was in Jane’s car on my way to the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary to pick up the new girls. Jane was off on an Isis bike ride for the morning but I had one cat basket and the promise of a loan of another, the sitting room was all set up to be their home while they acclimatised – Jane had got various toys and mats and boxes to hide in for them to ignore – so I wasn’t expecting too much trouble.
I waited in the sanctuary office for them to be brought round from their pen to be micro-chipped. It was a beautiful chaos in there with 2 of the cutest puppies rolling about the floor and an older dog who seemed in danger of falling off the table complete with bedding. Honey and Molly arrived sharing a basket while I handed over the required donation and signed forms saying we’d look after them well. Just before the chap who injects the chips did the deed he decided to give Honey a quick scan ‘just in case’ – sure enough she was already chipped, the records were wrong, we just needed to be registered as the new owners. I was also given their ‘health record’ cards and a quick look at Molly’s suggested she was 8 years old not 6 as thought. Meanwhile Molly decided to make a dash for the back of some shelving resulting in a lot of furniture moving to get her in the basket.
So Molly in our wicker basket, Honey in a plastic one, both strapped to the back-seat with the seatbelts, and we were on our way to their new home with us. Molly made a lot of fuss, I think she really didn’t like the noise and vibration, while Honey just sat patiently. All went quiet on the way into Blackbird Leys and I looked in the rear view mirror to see escapee Molly standing on the back of the rear seat looking wide-eyed, she got in the boot so I carried on but then she appeared in the front passenger foot-well so I turned into a side road and stopped. She got up on the dashboard and gave me a dirty look. I decided to give her a few minutes to calm down then got her back in the basket securing the bit of door she’d squeezed out of with the carry strap from my phone case. We continued safely home with her basket in the passenger foot-well from which a paw would emerge every now again to have a swipe at the gear lever.
At home I left them alone in the sitting room for a bit to sniff around and unwind. Another look at their cards revealed that Honey was in fact Charlie, at least it said she was a neutered female. A phone call came early the next week to explain we’d been given the wrong cards, someone kindly came and swapped them so now Honey and Molly turn out to be just turned 6 years old.
Honey settled in quickly and was eating and demanding fuss not long after arriving. Molly was frightened and probably stressed out by her 2 failed breaks for freedom and hid under the sideboard and later behind the speaker in the corner. Honey, out of sisterly affection, or maybe because she didn’t want to be left out, joined her for some of the time.
Later on Saturday, as Jane was cooking, there was a smell – a bad smell. Molly darted out from behind the speaker and went back under the sideboard. I got the job of cleaning up the cat diarrhoea from the skirting board and, fortunately ancient, carpet. The extension lead was beyond hope – I threw it away and replaced it after wiping the mess from the plugs. I’m glad she didn’t pee on it and electrocute herself, not an eventuality we’d planned for. Since that one incident they have both been the cleanest cats imaginable using their trays and not throwing spare litter all over the place.
Ten days later and Molly is still very timid but a very pushy side of her character is beginning to show itself. She doesn’t want to sit on a lap but likes to wander on the back of the chair behind Jane rubbing heads, demanding strokes and trying to steal food and drink. Then she’ll panic at a noise and run upstairs to hide under the bed (or it’s covers). I think she’s coming round, she’s certainly developed a healthy appetite after a couple of days of not eating.
Honey is much more forward. Always after a knee to sit on, following me round to perch on my keyboard, sleeping on the bed, and generally being a people cat. We put a bit of catnip on a scratching mat and she was playing with the attached mouse like an excited kitten. Jane’s given them a pot with some grass from the garden planted in as they are supposed to need it to help their digestion and prevent fur-balls, they both enjoy a nibble of that. They’re lovely – the house has seemed a bit empty without a cat since we lost Lala and we’re pleased to be able to give the sisters a home and I think they’re pleased to be here.