Early one morning I trundled down the stairs with my 8 month old Bear held tight in my arms. I placed my hand on the kitchen door handle and glanced through the glass to be greeted with an object in the middle of the kitchen floor. My heart sank. I popped Bear in his play pen and headed back to the kitchen to see what delights the cats had left us this morning. The head of a goldfinch. Just the head. Lovely. I grabbed some kitchen roll and a bag, closed my eyes and tried to think of unicorns and rainbows while I scooped it up, bagged it and put it in the outdoor bin.
After cleaning up the area I washed my hands and headed over to the fridge to start on breakfast, only to find one of the cats had thrown up from the top of the fridge all the way down the wall. I took a deep breath and began the second clean-up process of the morning. I had just finished and was popping Bear into his highchair when I heard the dreaded noise of a cat being sick. I looked up in time to see Alfie vomiting all down the boiler. Clearly goldfinch bodies weren’t good for them. It was this day and the mornings events combined with many other events including a massacred robin on Christmas Eve, a cat wee soaked bed, dead rodents, live rodents, etc. that I seriously considered whether having 3 cats was a good idea when trying to keep the house clean enough for a soon-to-be toddler.
A few months later Alfie went missing. Bear and I put our lives on hold. We contacted local vets, local cat rescue centres and the council. I posted his picture on all the pet lost and found groups on social media that I could find. I printed off lost cat posters and put them on lampposts all around the village, through letterboxes, in local businesses, everywhere I could think of. We walked around the village day after day calling his name. One afternoon, when I was starting to believe we would never see him again, we were curled up on the settee together and Bear was having a nap. I heard the cat flap open and close, followed by the sound of a cat drinking, a lot. This was followed by the sound of a cat eating, a lot. I peered over the arm of the settee ready for it to be one of the other two cats. It was Alfie. Heart racing I carefully picked up Bear and placed him in his play pen then shot into the kitchen. I gave Alfie another bowl of food and topped up his water. Once he had finished, I scooped him up for a cuddle and a silent victory dance around the kitchen. The relief! I felt whole again. He was gone for 10 days in total and it was one of the longest weeks and a half of my life. I clearly loved those disgusting fur balls so much I couldn’t be without them.
Fast forward a few months and if I needed any further proof that the cats should stay it came in the form of a 12 month little boy. Bear’s first word was cat. Whenever he is upset you can plonk a cat in front of him and you are pretty much guaranteed a huge grin. Charlie, our youngest cat loves Bear more than anything in the world. I can’t imagine how terrifying it must be for a cat to approach a very loud and boisterous toddler but she has persevered. With a lot of patience and bravery from Charlie she has taught him to be gentle and kind. He is so proud of her and points her out to any visitors. Any new toy he receives he has to show his Charlie cat. He even has a cuddly toy cat who goes everywhere with him and has recently been named Charlie Cat. I may threaten to put the cats on eBay every now and then when their latest catch shows up in the kitchen but I know deep down they are part of our family and here to stay.