A Cat Called Holly…

11 Jul

6 weeks ago, I found Holly.  When I say “found” – now don’t judge me – I purchased her from a pet shop.  I know, I know, there are thousands of abandoned kittens in shelters across the country needing a good home.  But you see, I didn’t want a cat.  Well, that’s not entirely true – I had a mad idea that I wanted a cat at some point in the future, but I certainly didn’t plan to get one that day, and certainly not from a pet shop… But I challenge any of you to resist a sign in a window which says “KITTENS INSIDE!!”.  So I went in and there she was, nestled in amongst her brothers and sisters, the most beautiful calico kitten I have ever seen.  She was the quiet one of the litter and whilst her siblings were screaming at me she just sat in the corner and looked at me with her big blue eyes.  I asked the owner if I could have a little cuddle with her, he picked her out of the cage and as I held her in my palm she looked up at me with those bright blue eyes and I asked her “Do you want to come and live with me?”  She gave out the tiniest little “Mew” and that was it – I was in love.  I had to have her.

Reality kicked in as I realised I live in an apartment wholly unsuitable for a kitten.  Not the fact that I live in an apartment you understand, I have been doing my research and the experts of the internet tell me that cats can be perfectly happy in small spaces – in fact the life expectancy of a cat kept indoors is far greater than one who ventures out into the big mad world.  What I mean is my flat was full of, well…  Stuff.  Things on the floor, bits of forgotten fluff behind the couch, small gaps down the side of the fridge leading to Narnia.  None of this being compatible with a 6 weeks old kitten, I asked the owner if he would mind keeping her for the night whilst I prepared my home.  He looked at me like I was clearly insane and asked me “What do you need to do?  It’s just a cat”, shook his head and said I could collect her at 10am the next day.

So I went home, and started the biggest spring clean my apartment has ever seen.  I cleaned for 7 hours solid – moving as much as I could, clearing the storage boxes out from under the couch and the bed, mopping every inch of the wooden floor, cramming pillows and boxes into the smallest of gaps to prevent any curious exploring…  My apartment had never looked so clean.  In fairness, I’m not domestic, and there are various stages of clean for my apartment.  They range from ‘New Boyfriend’s First Visit’ which warrants a good tidy, destroying any evidence that I am anything less than angelic – through ‘Parents Visiting’ which means getting the vacuum out, doing the washing up and hiding any evidence of parties the night before – to ‘Girls Night In’ which just about warrants putting my dirty underwear in the laundry basket and lighting some candles (because candles make everything look ok).

But back to the cat.  Finally getting to bed at 3am, I was so excited – the feeling you used to get on Christmas Eve, before that year when you looked out of the window and realised that the Santa Claus who built your new trampoline was in fact your Dad and his friend, slightly merry after a few too many pints in the local.  I never did trust that trampoline.  Anyway, you’re thinking that’s why she’s called Holly, right?  No.  That would make sense – my first cat as a child was called Santa after my Mum and Dad found her on Christmas Eve.  But Holly was in fact originally called Harriet – mostly due to the fact that I had decided that if and when I finally got my cat “he” would be called Harry.

Just like Christmas, I woke up early the next morning and promptly realised that I had nothing for the kitten.  Kittens need stuff, right?  They need food, and a little bowl to put the food in, and another one for water, and a litter tray, and litter, and a scoop…  And, and, and…  Gah!!  I promptly threw on the nearest pair of jeans and a t-shirt and drove off to the closest 24 hour supermarket to investigate the pet aisle.  Now, I’m pretty good at shopping generally and I’ll most certainly qualify for the national Olympic team when they  make it an official sport, but the last time I was in a pet aisle was accidentally, on autopilot, when Tesco moved the wine.  I mean, I had pets as a kid but Holly is my first pet as a grown-up (that’s still questionable) and I really had no idea what she would need.

Out came the iPhone – big mistake.  I read hype from pet food manufacturers promising shiny coats, articles about making your own organic pet food (I need to cook for her?!  I don’t even cook for myself!!), the dangers of onions and potatoes…  None the wiser.  Eventually I determined anything with the word “KITTEN” on it and a cute picture of a fluffy face was required.  I picked up way too much food, a litter tray and all that’s associated with it (including scented nappy bags to dispose of the, erm, waste), dangly toy things, bowls, kitchen roll, dettol for any accidents, a scratching post…  I spent more that morning than I do on my average weekly shop (and that’s including the wine!!)

So – cats are expensive.  Ok, I can deal with that.  One less pair of new shoes every few weeks in return for a fun, fluffy friend to cuddle = reasonable sacrifice.  Feeling smug that I now had everything I needed at home for my new arrival, off I went to the pet shop to collect my little furry friend.  I’m sure the guy was thinking “Oh great, crazy OCD kitten lady’s back” when I started asking about flea and worm treatments and vaccinations and vets.  He told me she’s been wormed and to take her to the vets in a few weeks and that was it.  Except for one thing.  One simple, important thing I had forgotten.  I didn’t have anything to carry her home in.

Now, I’m not a snob, but no kitten of mine is travelling in a Tesco carrier bag.  So, Holly made her way home, wrapped in one of my cardigans, carried in a Longchamps handbag with her little head peeking out of the open zipper trying to figure out what the hell was going on.  The irony of this situation being that I have more than once openly and loudly made fun of those Paris Hilton-esque girls who carry their dogs round in their handbags.  And here I was, with a 6 week old kitten in mine, saying in my most soothing voice “Please don’t wee-wee, please don’t poo-poo”.

Crazy cat lady had arrived.