My Pet: Bess, Tess and one they call 'the Cow'
I have lived with Nan since last October. Before that I was homeless. I was the runt of the litter.
My mother, Bess, a gentle cat and a former family pet, strayed when she was expecting us.
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She was totally lost in unfamiliar surroundings, so we were born in the wild between a garden shed and a shrubbery close to the home of the Rich family.
Every day Bess had to hunt and forage for food to survive and keep my sister Sybil and I alive. Somehow mother got a bang on her head which slowed her up but she cared for us until we grew up and were able to fend for ourselves.
We took note of the lovely house and garden on the other side of the shed. At the rear of the house there is a covered veranda and at night we crept on to the cushioned garden chairs and snuggled together, warm and dry. Sometimes at night we picked up scraps of food that were left over from a barbecue.
The Rich family had a pet dog, Miller, who eliminated all the rats that ventured near and would do the same with cats so we kept out of his way.
One evening, the family were very sad and talking about Miller who had been to the vet. Miller was gone to doggy heaven and they missed him.
After a couple of days, Bess used this situation as a reason to introduce herself.
Mr Rich was surprised to find her sitting at the back door one morning.
Mrs Rich fell in love with her straight away and said: "We will try to find out where she belongs and if we don't find her owners we will adopt her." Unsurprisingly, despite every effort, nobody came forward.
Good news for Bess.
They took her to the vet for spaying and made her welcome.
Sybil and I were pleased for Bess, so a few days later we appeared on the veranda. Sybil went up to the door while I stayed in the background. This time they called the Cat Protection League who took us to the vet for spaying. A test revealed that both Sybil and I were expecting kittens and he would do the spaying when the kittens were independent.
Sybil has a new home now with Nan's friend Annie. I had six kittens.
Young Mr Rich was midwife, stroking and comforting me during the contractions. All our kittens were homed but they kept one called "the Cow" because of her markings.
We were spayed, so was "the Cow". We are all happy,
Nan named me Tess.
Nancy Dempsey, Portrane, Co Dublin
Finest hour: Learning to open the bedroom door and relax on Nan's bed
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