Meet Claude. Admire his whiskers, his eloquent fur, his interpersonal skills.
Claude may not be much longer for thsi world as at sixteen he has advanced kidney failure. Howvever, he is one of those cats whose presence will live on long after he has died. He belongs to my friend Octavia, she of the corkscrew curls beloved by MasterB. She didn’t want him. A long haired black and white cat was not on her list. Fortunately for her, and for Claude’s many admirers, she was forced to think again.
Really I need Octavia to tell the story. Maybe she’ll comment and correct me. She went to see a friend who has a farm in Wales in search of a cat after her much loved black cat had died. The friend said she did not have any kittens, or short haired black cats who fitted the bill. She did have Claude. He was supposed to be a farm cat, rough and tough, living in the barn, hunting, shooting, fishing. OK I made up the shooting and fishing. Claude was, and remains, happy with the hunting part of the deal. But he decided from an early age he wanted to live indoors.
The friend brought Claude indoors and made a cup of tea. Claude lay on the floor like a mini hearth rug. Octavia drank tea and rejected Claude as a possible housemate.
Then the farm dog came in. I imagine it was a collie, but maybe I’m wrong and it was a terrier. Anyway, seeing Claude lying on his back on the floor the dog went up to him, seized his tail and dragged him across the kitchen. Claude retained his sangfroid, apparently used to and accepting of this behaviour.
Octavia had a moment of blinding revelation. Any cat this relaxed and good natured was the cat for her. And so Claude left Wales and came to live in London. He continued hunting, ate everything in sight and commanded attention from human housemates and their visitors. He was none too pleased when his domestic kingdom was disrupted by the arrival of Phoebe, then a kitten, but he got over it and just made sure she knew her place. I have some not very good pix of Phoebe too, but shall try to get better.
Despite his illness, Claude looks remarkably well. When I fussed Phoebe he came over to claim his share of my attention. The photo above is of him on my knee after Octavia and I had finished eating.