I watch with trepidation as Bouboulina, followed closely by her brother Fletch, slips behind the garden fence and disappears over the wall. At just 9 months old Boubou is fearless and scales fences, houses and trees with equal agility. She is a confident, friendly and beautiful Bengal, her golden stripes shimmering in the morning sun. Fletch a snow Bengal with piercing blue eyes and a gentle nature, is a little more reticent and less sure footed than his adventurous sister.
I am visiting the siblings twice daily and have instructions to let them out during the day but to leave an upstairs window open so they can return at will. In the evening I am to entice them in with treats so there are kept inside overnight. Even so, I am nervous about letting them out until they get to know me a little better, so when on my first visit it is raining and I notice Fletch rubbing slightly sore eyes, I decide to keep them in for the day.
Fletch’s eyes are worse the next day, and I bundle him into his basket and call a cab. He howls all the way to the vet but falls silent when Echo, the vets cat appears in the waiting room to inspect the patients. Once Fletch has been examined and eye drops are administered we return home to a relieved Boubou.
The two cats are delighted to see eachother and chase each other energetically around the garden until it’s time for me to leave.
Over the following days the sparkle returns to Fletch’s eyes and I can no longer put off letting them out during the day. Blissfully unaware of my concern Fletch follows Boubou up and over the garden wall and they disappear into the distance.
The rest of my morning passes in the usual blur of cats and fur as I make my daily rounds. A beep from my phone alerts me to a message from Boubou and Fletch’s owner. An unknown neighbour has contacted her. Boubou has turned up at in the neighbour’s home and she is worried that she might be lost.
I give the neighbour a call to thank her and see if she wants me to come and pick up Bouboulina. ‘No’ she says, ‘Her brother Fletch has just arrived and collected her and they have both gone back home.’
Sure enough when I arrive for my evening visit, Boubou and Fletch are both waiting for me. They are ravenous after their adventurous day out and after dinner they immediately fall into a contented sleep on the sofa beside me.