Just for once, we’re coming over all catty on the blog, with the lovely Julie Ryan and her feline writing pal. I love the covers of Julie’s books. They always make me want to book a Greek holiday. But back to cats …
Anyone who knows me will be aware that I’m a bit of a cat lover – okay then a lot of a cat lover – to the extent that I may well be known as ‘the mad cat lady’. It all started when I was in primary school and my best friend’s cat had kittens. Much to my surprise, as mum isn’t really an ‘animal’ person, she agreed we could have a kitten. Since taking that little bundle home all those years ago, my passion has got stronger and stronger. I even collect cat memorabilia – a cat shaped photo frame, a cat doorstop, glass cats, porcelain cats – you get the picture?
Twelve years ago, my Beastie Bestie came into my life handed over in a plastic bag to my husband by the farmer we rescued him from. There was no warning that today was the day we would become owned by our new furry friend; a chance comment in passing that we’d like a cat one day resulted in frantic phone calls to me at work from hubby to buy cat food, a litter tray and everything else we might need on my way home. To say I was excited is an understatement and the minute I saw the little fluff ball with the biggest ears, it was love at first sight.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though as the feisty kit managed to lose himself in the house on the second day. We were tempted to name him Houdini when he also escaped from the cat basket in the car park of the vets. Next to a busy road, I thought he’d had it for sure but a few tempting treats later and he was safely back in his basket. We finally settled on Gizmo as a name based on the fact his huge ears made him look like an alien. Hardly surprising I suppose that Gizzie, as he is known, has hated the vets ever since.
His fear of the vets wasn’t helped a couple of years later when he came home with a broken hip. We don’t know if he was in an accident but it shook him up and we had to keep him immobile for six weeks – no jumping or climbing, which is easier said than done. It also meant that he suddenly ran away from any men he didn’t know so I can only guess that someone had kicked him.
It didn’t help matters much either when he started biting his tail. It may have been a game at first or perhaps something irritated it, yet he bit it so much that he had to have the end amputated. We call him ‘the cat with half a tail.’
From being a feisty barn kitten, he developed into the most loving, if cantankerous cat, usually to be found asleep at the foot of our bed. He grew into his big ears and became an immovable object. I can’t remember the number of times one of us has decamped to the spare bed having got up in the night to find Gizzie has taken over three quarters of the bed and can’t be moved!
He has selective hearing too. When you call him to come in, he pretends not to hear yet the rustle of a treat packet can be heard from a mile away.
He’s very much his own cat. If you call him to sit on your lap, he refuses. However, when he sees you sitting comfortably with a book, then that’s the same as an invitation, right? In the same way, as soon as I begin using my computer, it’s an invitation to sit on it, flop out so I can’t see the keyboard and purr contentedly. No wonder that writing takes me an age!
Unfortunately, now aged twelve, he’s very ill and probably won’t be with us much longer. I’m writing this as a tribute to the crankiest, feistiest cat who is going to leave such a big hole in my heart. My world just won’t be the same without him.
That’s such a lovely story, Julie. Thank you for sharing it with us.
(Very sadly, just after Julie wrote this, Gizzie died. Julie wanted this to go out as a tribute to her lovely writing companion. Sending many hugs, Julie, it’s very hard to lose a furry pal)
If you want to find out more about Julie and her books, you can find her on Twitter @julieryan18 or check out these links:
On Twitter @julieryan18
Thank you for coming on, Julie. Much love xxx