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In The Company of Cats

Two Rescues and a Ragdoll

Two Rescues and a Rag Doll

Gus watches through the hatch that connects the front room and the kitchen, as I spoon cat food into three separate bowls whilst Bert sits quietly in the doorway. Higgs is nowhere to be seen. Dropping silently onto the kitchen counter Gus plunges his nose into the nearest bowl. Grasping him behind his front legs and around his solid belly, I lower him onto the floor. I bat the air in front of me as cat hairs float gently past before landing on the kitchen counter. As soon as Gus’s paws hit the floor he runs back around to the front room, hops onto the sofa and is through the hatch before I know it. The whiskered bandit is at it again munching food from one of the half filled cat bowls. Bert stares up at him with unabashed admiration. This happens three times before I manage to get the cat bowls filled and ready for breakfast. Bert is soon eating happily out of the bowl in the kitchen, Gus is running around to each bowl eating a bit then moving on and Higgs, well Higgs is still hiding.

The three unlikely friends had arrived the previous day and whilst Gus and Bert had taken the temporary move in their stride, Germanicus Higgenbottom, or Higgs for short, was finding the change much harder to adjust too. He was the first cat that their owners, Daniella and Phil adopted. A beautiful blue eyed Ragdoll and the son of the famous show cat, King Alexander 1st of Donna’s Dolly’s, Higg’s pedigree is impeccable. His head sprouts from his body like a flower framed by petals of grey tipped fur. He is as cautious as he is handsome and spends the first couple of days watching me from a gap behind the sofa.

Daniella and Phil later adopted Gus and then Bert from a New York cat shelter where they were both volunteering. The cats were in a terrible condition with a number of ailments to verify their street cat credentials. Gus, a ballsy, mostly white cat with splodges of black and a clipped ear had a skin condition and ravaged fur while Bert, a sweet racoon faced tabby has terrible arthritis from being left out in the cold as a kitten.

Gus was the first of the three cats to approach me, he followed me everywhere determined to find out what was hiding behind each of the doors. He likes to spread out on the leather armchair and washes himself compulsively, or just sits dozing his limbs arranged around his rotund tummy, propped up by one paw while another balances on his belly.

Kitten faced Bert preferred to take a back seat to the initial negotiations, he would hover hopefully in the background while a constantly hungry Gus shadowed me in the kitchen sitting at my feet and reminding me of my culinary obligations with a flick of his tongue.

After two days of disappearing behind the sofa whenever I entered the room, Higgs began to appear for a short time. Sometimes sitting under my desk chair or occasionally venturing out onto the rug. Initially he would retreat whenever I took a step in his direction, but before long he was approaching my outstretched hand and allowing me to stroke him. This would end with Higgs rolling on the floor in delight. Whenever this happened Gus, who likes to be at the forefront of any activity, would stop mid wash and watch us, a hind paw frozen high in the air, as he contemplated intervention.

The three boys settled into an easy routine, if I didn't wake up in good time for breakfast they would chase each other around noisily until I was forced out of my slumber. I would then open up the balcony so they could get some air, and all three would slip in and out while I attempted to remove the mountain of cat hairs that Gus and Higgs had left in their wake. Eventually Bert and Higgs would wonder into the bedroom and relax on the bed, snoozing in a shaft of sunlight, while Gus would take up residence in his usual armchair. After dinner and medicine for Bert and Higgs the cats would retreat to their own spot and begin their ablutions.

The morning of their departure Bert followed me into the kitchen and hopped onto the counter, rubbing his head into my hand he began to purr gently. Gus’s ears slowly emerged from the bottom of the adjoining hatch, his eyes peering over the ledge. Clambering onto the kitchen counter he nudged Bert out of the way and I soon had both my hands full, stroking the two cats while Gus’s fur floated like snow and settled all around us.

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