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Quite a few years ago, just after Dave and I moved in together, we decided we’d like a pet. After a lot of discussion we decided that cats were the way to go – a dog would need too much attention with walks and things that wouldn’t be easy with Dave’s shifts. Dave wasn’t that keen on cats, as he’d never been around them, but I insisted they’d be the perfect addition to our family. We also decided on a pair of cats so they wouldn’t get lonely, and would always have each other when we were at work.
I scoured rehoming websites like the RSPCA’s Find A Pet pages, but in the end an advert on an online classifieds website caught my eye. A stable yard had got a cat to keep the mice away but she had a litter of kittens before they’d had a chance to get her spayed. They wanted £20 per cat to pay for the mother’s spaying and I knew immediately that if they were still available we would love to save them from that stable.
We went that night to buy a cat carrier and the next day, after I finished work, we drove 20+ miles to the stable to see the cats. I remember so vividly standing in the hay in the middle of this stable with two kittens jumping up the toggles on my trousers. They were completely black apart from the boy had a white bit under his neck and they were the tinniest thing I had ever seen. I loved them immediately.
We took those tiny fur balls home with us that day and over the next few days we decided on names for them. they were twins, a boy and a girl. Dave told me as I’d chosen to have cats, he should choose the names and so that was that. Luke and Leia joined our family.
Those cats made our house a home and gave Dave and I a sense of responsibility that we hadn’t known before. We found people to feed them when we went away and we made sure we kept their vaccinations and flea treatments up to date. They were our babies. Long before we had children those cats changed us from a couple to a family.
Sadly, at the start of June, Luke died suddenly. Leia is still very much here but there is a gaping hole where Luke had always been. At the time, due to grief and shock, I scoured rehoming websites, looking for an 8 year old boy cat to take his place. Older cats don’t often get re-homed as easily as kittens and I knew that we could give one such a great home.
But in the next few days and weeks I realised that it wouldn’t be fair on Leia to introduce a new boy cat, or even a girl cat. She has only ever known life with Luke, and now life without him. Life for her with another cat would probably be quite hard so for now at least we have decided to keep our dynamic as it is, with Leia as our only pet.
I know though that a time will come in the future where we would want more pets – Leia won’t be around forever, and at that time we might get a couple more cats or even a dog as the children will be older then and we’d have more time to dedicate to it. But one thing is for sure, whenever we get more pets in the future they will be rescued ones. Ones that have ended up at rehoming centres for no fault of their own and ones that just need a loving home.