I was a bit late for my appointment with Madame Fang this morning. Moments after blithely saying I was going out on my bike under a grey but dry sky, the rain began to fall. It has that sullen determination of an uninvited guest who knows himself unwelcome, yet persists in sitting in the best chair and eating your favourite chocolates from the Christmas box open on the table.
Not being sure of the parking restrictions today, and unwilling to start the year with a fine, or worse being clamped or towed away, I set out in waterproofs and wellingtons, only to realise, just a few yards short of my destination, that the key was in the pocket of my other coat.
I splashed home and started over again.
When I let myself in, there was no sign of her. I called her name a few times, thinking she might be dozing somewhere, and sure enough she appeared, running girlishly up the stairs.
She was flatteringly pleased to see me, climbing onto a table and reaching her paws to my shoulders to give a nose to nose hello. I thought it might be cupboard love, but once her bowls were washed and replenished she only took a few mouthfuls before coming to find me again.
It was play she wanted. I had brought some of MasterB’s toys with me to see how she would like them. Yesterday when I went to give her evening meal, I took a plastic ball with a bell in it that brought out her wild side. Tail fluffed up, she’d charged around the flat after it. The game far more sauvagethan anything I had anticipated.
It’s a good thing I love MasterB to bits, because Madame Fang is a heart stealer. I’d heard a lot about her, and seen the photos. She’s a bit of a Daddy’s Girl, and whenever I see Steve, he whips out his phone to show me more pictures of his gorgeous girl. If I were Sandi I might be a bit jealous. However, Monday was the first time I had met her in the fur, and I realised no photo I had seen does her justice. A naughty tortie with deliciously marked paws and a chest that is half ginger, like the coat of arms of some distinguished dynasty, she puts the i into interactive.
Steve and Sandi’s normal cat sitter was unavailable and they needed someone to attend to Fang while they headed away to friends’ to enjoy the New Year festivities.
These are people who care deeply about their cats. Fang had big paws to fill, as Winston, her adored predecessor, was torn apart by dogs who had been deliberately set on him by their owner. Winston is still in their lives, as Cat is still in mine. He was a big cat with a presence to match. Still mourning Winston, they found a tiny undernourished kitten outside their block. The vet thought her around twelve weeks. Small but feisty, she bit first and asked questions later. Hence, Fang. She was however socialised, so whoever abandoned her at least did her that favour, rather like Izzy last year. Too many people take on kittens and puppies with no idea what a commitment it is. Some are shocked at how much they eat; young animals are constantly hungry and specialised kitten and puppy food is not cheap.
Naturally I had to be introduced first, so they picked me up on Monday evening, kept my glass nicely full of wine, and Fang and I had the opportunity to become acquainted. We played then, and she allowed me to pick her up, and take a few familiar liberties with her, but it was only yesterday that I got the full ‘rub my tummy’ hello.
I was so hoping for sunshine today to take some photos of her. Dark cats on dark days do not look their best on camera. These will have to do for now, but come the spring, I shall be demanding photographer’s rights to see if I can do her justice. In the meantime, here a few failures.
I give you, Madame Fang.