Monday 16 September 2019

My Pet: Catnaps are like catnip for Charlie

Charlie the cat
Charlie the cat

Julie McHugh

They say cats choose you and that was the case with Charlie.

Eight years ago, he arrived in our house - uninvited - through an open window and proceeded to curl up on the sofa for a catnap. Despite our attempts to find his owner, with flyers and notices in shops and in the vets, nobody inquired about him.

After several weeks, we adopted him officially with a microchip. The vet informed us that Charlie was a two-year-old male cat, neutered and in good health.

The strange thing about all of this is that we had been looking for a cat - and, in fact, my sister Grace, who owns one called Bertie, was showing me possible adoptees on the internet.

Then this big, beautiful black-and-white moggie turns up - house trained and neutered too.

He fell on his feet (as cats do) as he has a very good life here with us, hunting in the woods behind our garden and getting loads of attention when he comes home. He regularly brings us little "gifts" - resulting in a shriek and a dash for the dustpan and brush.

After a day of exploring and visiting my neighbour Denis (my dad), he curls up in his big wicker basket bed on top of the tumble dryer.

I often wonder about his life before us. Why did he choose our house? (We live on an estate). Did his previous owners move?

Did a new baby, or a new puppy, push him out?

I'm also surprised that he would enter a strange house. What if a dog lived here, or if the family didn't like cats?

Fortunately for him, we are cat lovers! At first, I was startled and I shooed him outside - but he hung around and as the days passed by, we became quite attached to him and I dreaded the doorbell/phone ringing as a result of our flyers, in case it was Charlie's owners wanting him back.

We gave him the name Charlie because not long after he arrived, he nipped my then 15-year-old daughter Jessica - and when she said "he bit me" while holding out her finger, we were reminded of a famous YouTube clip that was doing the rounds with the two little boys where the baby bites his brother's finger, cueing the rueful cry: "Charlie bit my finger!"

We've a sign in our porch saying: "A spoiled rotten cat lives here," and that's the truth.

I hope Charlie's previous family don't read this, because they know where he is now.

Maybe I won't answer the door or phone for a while, because we are not giving him back.

Julie McHugh, Celbridge, Co Kildare

Name: Charlie

Finest hour: Getting into our house - uninvited

Likes: Cream and being brushed

Dislikes: Worming tablets and getting into his cat carrier

* If you would like your pet featured in this column please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to clearly labelled MY PET

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