Saturday 12 April 2014

Neo is the one (if you're not a cat person probably best skip this one)

Six years ago we walked into the cattery at Battersea Cats and Dogs Home and as we opened the door a handsome chap greeted us. His ulterior motive was to try and escape, but he realised this wasn't going to happen so decided to charm us instead. We'd gone there looking for 2 cats who could keep each other company while we were at work. All the pairs had been allocated.

The chap who'd greeted us wandered freely around all the cat pens and we saw his write up. Domestic short hair, 6.5 years old. Suitable for a family with children. Prefers a garden. He was looking down at us from a height at this point. We discussed whether we could take just one cat instead as we had hoped for two. Hubbie confessed he'd fallen for the white cat who was watching us. That was Neo's plan all along.

We asked if he had been allocated and were directed to the vet who told us he had a heart murmur and an undiagnosed skin condition. She advised we go away and think about whether to take him on and to decide. He'd already been rehomed and come back and it wasn't fair on him. I went to see a vet the next day and took some advice. She said that depending on how bad the murmur was he might live for months or years. It was a risk, but not measurable.

I told Hubbie and we decided we had to bring him home with us. I went to the PDSA and bought a cat basket and we got cat toys, a scratching post and litter tray. It was a week later before we could pick him up and I was desperate to bring him home as I didn't want him to be in that pen for a day longer than necessary knowing how much he loved to roam.

Saturday morning came and we were up early and on the train with our basket to pick him up. He was checked over by the vet and they gave us his blanket and a towel to keep the rain out. As we were leaving every volunteer stopped us to say goodbye to Neo. They were going to refuse the suggested £50 donation as they couldn't be sure how long he had and didn't feel it was right to take our money. We insisted on giving the donation as we valued his life however long or short it was going to be.

Drinks at the poolside
On the train home he was cooed and petted by children and other passengers who admired his good looks. As soon as we got home he checked out the whole house. We couldn't let him outdoors for few weeks and he was home all day so I would rush home from work and go straight to him and fuss and feed him. On his first visit outside I stood at the garden fence he'd just leapt over and worried he'd get lost or never come home again. My heart felt like it had stopped the whole time he was gone, but after a little while he skipped back indoors and ate his dinner. He'd come home to us.

He loves being outside and now that we have a very big garden it is his domain. He is a total Mummy's boy, but is a character who is recognised by all the neighbours. When they ask if the white cat is ours I always ask if he's been any trouble and they just smile and say no he just pops by sometimes. He is very sociable.

When I was pregnant he used to sit on my belly and listen to the baby's heartbeat. When I was in hospital with the newborn he looked around for me and pined. He gave the baby a wide berth, but used to check he was asleep before going to bed himself. Now they are the best of friends and the toddler loves to feed Neo and they even share the sofa occasionally.

Neo chose us six years ago and we fell for him. I took him to the vet for a check up after six months and he said the heart murmur was undetectable.

We like to think we mended his heart with love.

Happy Anniversary Neo :)

My first baby

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