My Pet: Catnaps are like catnip for Charlie
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
Finest hour: Getting into our house - uninvited
Likes: Cream and being brushed
Dislikes: Worming tablets and getting into his cat carrier
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