Wednesday 29 February 2012

Thomas and Betsy: Because I said I Wouldn't Talk About my Cat

But I made no such promise about anyone else's.

Thomas and Betsy are two cats who live in a house on a street next to the University, which I usually walk down on my way to and from Uni. Thomas is a chunky black-and-white tuxedo, and Betsy is a dainty little calico. I met their owner once - he came home while I was petting them, and he told me their names although not his own. While I'm away from Poppy in term time, they are my substitutes.

They are very friendly: Poppy takes an interest in everyone indoors, but outside she won't even come to me (she's my little Wild Thing). Betsy on the other hand, came right up to me as soon as I showed any interest. Thomas took a little coaxing the first few times we met, but now he comes running to see me, although he needed a little more encouragement the first time I saw him after being away for the Christmas holidays.

Their owner says Betsy bites, but she's never bitten me, even when I once tried briefly to pick her up: she didn't like it, but she only wriggled until I let her go. If she did bite or scratch me, though, I'd just call it an occupational hazard of petting strangers' cats. Or any cats: I have had plenty of blood drawn over the years by my own little darling.

I've been a little worried about Betsy lately, since I'd not seen her since before Christmas, and I'd wondered if something had happened to her, but she was there today and although it's the best part of three months since she saw me, she came running from halfway down the street.

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