The RSPCA 24 Hour Tweet-a-thon
When the RSPCA contacted me to be one of 24 bloggers taking part in their charity Tweet-a-thon, I said yes immediately. I am a bona fide cat lover and jumped at the opportunity to help. Be sure to check out their website to see the other entries and also, look at their Twitter account all day today for 24 hours of live incident updates. It will completely open your eyes to the hard work they do. The following blog post can also be found on the RSPCA website. Please tweet and Facebook about this wonderful event and, of course, DONATE! Thank you for getting involved.
My cat Keo has the patience of a saint.
You see, while my husband and I tried to conceive, Keo got to play the lucky role of my pretend baby. Every night before bed, I would say, “Baby cuddles!” He’d get a look on his face that said, “Oh, no! Not again” and glance in the direction of the cat flap. Then I’d pick him up and hold him in my arms, rocking him like a baby. He’d stoically stare at the ceiling until I deigned to put him down.
It was just a joke, at first. I mean, who doesn’t love to hug their kitty? But as three years ticked by and the monthly display of “Not Pregnant” continued to plague me on my Clearblue Easy stick, it wasn’t funny anymore. I’d cuddle him like the baby I wished I had, with tears of frustration rolling down my cheeks. And Keo, bless him, seemed to understand that mummy was a bit upset, so he’d purr his little heart out, like he was actually enjoying himself.
That’s the great thing about cats. People who don’t understand them complain that they can be aloof, but I’ve found that cats know exactly when you need them most.
Now that we finally have our daughter, Keo has been let off baby cuddles duty, although I still try to give him as much attention as I can between feeding and changing nappies. Of course, like any new mum, I worry about the relationship between Keo and Baby. They aren’t allowed in the same room without supervision, even though I can tell the last thing he would do is get close to the screaming, pooping thing.
Keo’s philosophy of dealing with Baby seems to be: “If I ignore it, it’s not there.” On a number of occasions, he’s jumped up onto my nursing pillow while I’ve been breastfeeding and plonked himself down, completely blocking out the small human next to mummy.
If Baby is screaming, Keo can be found out in the garden. He’s been spending a lot of time out there lately. In fact, there is a patch of grass that he loves sitting on so much that it’s now a dead patch of grass. Oh well.
We’ve known people who have had to find new homes for their cats when children come into their lives. Sometimes cats and babies don’t mix for various reasons, like allergies or asthma. We keep our fingers crossed that Keo can stay with us and that he and Baby will one day become fast friends.
For new families that can’t keep their cats, it’s good to know that the amazing people at the RSPCA are there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help them find new homes. I’ve been making monthly donations to the RSPCA for years so that they can get on with the wonderful work they do. In 2010 alone, the RSPCA Frontline team rescued 31,362 cats from neglect, danger and injury in England and Wales.
There are over 8 million pet cats in the UK today. Throughout my life, I’ve had 11 pet cats and I’ll probably have 11 more. I could tell you great stories about each and every one of them because they each had a different effect on my life. I feel that cats help to make a house into a home and my family wouldn’t be complete without them.
I wish we had more space to take in some of the adorable felines that are currently looking for forever homes at the RSPCA. I’ve especially fallen in love with kittens Archie and Pippin, a mischievous double act that needs a new family to raise them to be good cats.
There are also lots of older, more mature cats that need loving parents. Mrs Brown’s owner fell ill and couldn’t care for her anymore, so the RSPCA committed itself to finding her a new home. However, month after month, potential parents kept passing her by, despite her affectionate nature. Using the power of social media, the team at RSPCA Craven & Upper Wharfedale branch advertised Mrs Brown’s situation on Facebook. Thankfully, Mrs Karen Brown saw the appeal and now Mrs Brown is purring happily ever after.
I’m looking out into our garden now, where Keo is sitting on top of the shed like it’s his very own version of Pride Rock. He’s surveying his territory with a possessive, proud eye, daring any of the other neighbourhood cats to encroach. I call his name and he instantly clamours down and runs across the grass into my arms. I pick him up to give him a baby cuddle. He purrs.