Little Reggie Bolton stares at me from his favourite bed, a 3ft high cane platform that he lands on after hoping onto a strategically placed chair and table. He sniffs my hands and wrists and looks up at me with large almond eyes. Reggie, ahandsome 3 mth old stripy tabby and the son of a farm cat, is now living in Notting Hill. His owners, excited by Reggie’s imminent arrival, filled their home with handmade cardboard tunnels and manufactured hidey holes. Over the coming weeks these make shift toys are replaced with a beautiful slew of cat trees, tunnels and toys. Understandably they are completely smitten with Reggie and quickly realise that with both of them working five days a week, there newly baked and mischievous kitten will be left alone most of the day. They call us at Notting Hill Cat company and we are happy to provide daily visits of play, company and a warm leg to fall asleep on. Over the coming weeks I get to watch as Reggie grows in confidence and size. On my first visit he makes little chirruping sounds from his bed and stands up on the tips of his toes to greet me. I sit on the chair beside him so we are head to head and he sniffs my face. I pat the table next to his bed and he hops onto it making gentle and near silent meows. Reggie and I hit it off immediately and he is soon racing around the front room chasing a tiny ball, before getting distracted by the tassels on a rug that he has passed and skidding to a halt, he trips over himself trying to get back to them. Eventually a weary Reggie makes his way over to the sofa where I am sitting, scrambles onto my lap, curling into a little ball and staring into my eyes he drifts off to sleep.
Almost as soon as Reggie falls asleep he is awake again and jumps down into his personal playground stretches his legs, yawns and looks up at me expectantly.
Before the next visit I receive a text from Reggie’s worried owners. Reggie has managed to topple a heavy framed picture.His owners are mortified and think Reggie may be limping, however when they wake up Reggie is bouncing around as usual. There is no sign of a limp and overnight he has managed to master football and expertly dribbles his little ball through the legs of the dining table and chairs. The furniture legs are like a tree filled jungle to Reggie who races through them like a wild cat chasing imaginary prey and in a daring move he springs over the the cross section of the chair frame. For a few moments he is stuck and is swinging precariously, the back part of his body dangling towards the floor. Reggie flips himself over and lands on his feet then like a kamikaze high jumper goes back and leaps over the chair frame again and again until he can do it with ease. Exhausted he crawls over my belly, gazing happily up at me high on life, his eyes involuntarily closing. He shuffles a little and climbs higher onto my chest and then nudging himself into my shoulder and finally sleeping proper, purrs gently into my ear.
The next day I get another message from Reggie's owner: Be careful when you open the front door, Reggie has learned how to scale the gate that stops him getting out of the front room.
Somehow I am not surprised.