Wednesday, 5 June 2013
Welcome Home to Bernard Socks!
We have a new addition to our household! He arrived last Saturday and already it seems like he's always been here. Please welcome Bernard Socks, everyone..!
The decision to give a home to another cat was a big one for Jeremy and I to take. As readers of this blog will know, Fester Cat was such a huge part of our lives, for so long. When he died at the end of March it seemed impossible to imagine someone else living here.
But it took us a couple of months to realise that it's not about *replacing* a lost friend. It's not about trying to get another cat to stand in his stead. It's more about the gap at the heart of the house, and seeing that what the home is missing is a cat. Another cat, who's distinctively himself, and who can make his own impression in his own way.
And also, we felt that we *ought* to give a home to another cat. There are so many out there who need to be rehomed.
We'll never forget Fester, of course. It would be impossible to do that. Those Fester Cat years were very special.
But... here - in his own right - comes Bernard Socks.
He's only four years old. He's robust and large and quite noisy. He's very affectionate and interested in everything and everyone. He seems to be in love with every corner of our house and all the stuff in it.
We found him by first of all visiting the website of Tharg - which sounds like something from a science fiction comic - but is really a local cats' rehoming centre here in South Manchester. They do fantastic work there. Downstairs it's a charity shop raising money to help with cat-care, and everywhere else it's a cat's home, with all kinds of cats of many ages and descriptions waiting to find their new homes. It's quite overwhelming, when you first visit in person and see all these faces looking out at you from behind the glass doors of their cubicles. Some of them are very keen indeed to meet prospective new chums and you've got to restrain yourself from wanting to adopt a whole cat-gang and fill your house to the rafters.
The staff are so helpful and committed and just brilliant. The women there spent time and told us fantastic stories about their work in the local community - rescuing cats whose owners could no longer care for them; having abandoned kittens arrive in anonymous cardboard boxes, and bringing in feral monsters from the wild to rehabilitate them with affection and care. 'Oh, here's Mufasa,' said one volunteer. 'He was the terror of our neighbourhood until I managed to bring him in. We looked after him, had his whatsits removed and now he's a sweetie. That smell's just a bit of leaking testosterone. It'll clear up soon enough.' Mufasa glared at us and, we realised, was busily sending Rosemary in the cubby hole above quite delirious with his after-shave.
But though we visited with lots of other cats (Hiya Sugar and her kittens! Hello crazy, mad-friendly Jigger! And hello to sweet, solemn Felix!) we knew who we were really there for...
I had spotted Bernard Socks on their website. His tuxedo markings and the humbug swirl on his face had stood out as i was scrolling down the page. His bright, curious expression had made him stand out, too. We went back three times to visit and to make sure that he was the one for us. With each return he seemed to recognise us and on our final visit he waited by the glass door of his cubby hole, as if he knew we weren't going to leave the place without him.
So, here we are. Summer's started and there's a new face round at ours. He's fitting in beautifully. Sometimes excitable and agog at all the new stuff. Other times ecstatic at the tummy tickles Jeremy is so good at giving. And in other moments Socks is completely chilled and content to fall asleep in my lap.