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Mila and Tigger (the Moggy and the Bengal)

Mila and Tigger are an odd couple. Mila a large, sweet faced cat with white fur covered in patches of ginger and grey and Tigger, a tiny fresh faced, spot bellied, bengal kitten.

Their owner, Matt happened upon Mila whist in a pet shop in his native America, collecting bones for his dog. He noticed her sitting forlornly in her pen. The pet shop owner said she was about to be put down because she was too vicious to be rehomed. Outraged, my client immediately gathered Mila in his arms, forgetting the dog bones he’d come in for, and took her home. Mila responded to this spontaneous gift of life with unerring devotion.

Some years later Mila and Matt settle down in the UK, a stones throw from Hyde Park.

On a cold winters day whist out walking in the Park, Matt noticed a cat with beautiful markings lying motionless in the grass and went to check if she was ok. Unfortunately the cat hadn’t survived the cold night and Matt was pondering what to do when he saw something move. He took a closer look and from beneath the still warm body of her mother, a tiny bengal kitten appeared.

So at three weeks old in the dead of winter, Tigger became the second feline to be rescued by Matt.

After a visit to the vet and armed with strict instructions, Matt took Tigger home to meet Mila. Mila, who had turned out to be the exact opposite of the vicious cat she was originally portrayed as, took the tiny kitten under her wing and together Matt and Mila managed, against all odds to keep Tigger alive.

When I meet the unusual family Mila is nearly six years old. Tigger is about four months old and his eyes are still an undecided shade of blue. His fur is sprinkled with perfectly formed rosettes. He is at the pounce and play stage of kitten hood and is happily driving Mila, around the bend. Luckily for Mila, Matt has built her an escape route, in the form of a floor to ceiling cat tree that leads to a platform bed.

I am booked to visit them twice daily and although they are kept in separate rooms with separate feeding areas and there own en-suite bathrooms, during my visits they are allowed to play together.

Tigger hears me arrive and squeals from behind the bedroom door. He bursts out looking left and right and skids to a halt at the bottom of Mila’s cat tree. Mila looks down at us from the top. She is clearly relieved to see Tigger and comes down to say hello, nudging the little creature with her nose before trotting off to her bowl and waiting for me to deliver breakfast. Tigger charges after Mila, running between her legs and pouncing on her tail. He is easily distracted by my boots which are bigger than him and like a tiger hunting a buffalo, Tigger is soon stalking, tackling and overpowering them. It’s not long before Tigger switches to a live target and he is again pouncing on Mila from every direction. Springing from between closed curtains, skidding out from underneath sofas, leaping off of tables and landing astride an unimpressed Mila. Mila shoots Tigger a withering glance and he immediately changes direction. But Tigger is irrepressible and like his namesake keeps bouncing back. Mila gives him a gentle paw slap but Tigger was born to bounce. I pick him up in one hand and he wriggles around until he can see Mila and tries to pounce on her from my hand. Mila, yawns and like a bear climbing a tree pulls herself up to a platform halfway up her cat tree. Tigger, is too tiny to follow her and Mila begins, one paw at a time, her post breakfast bathing routine.

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