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Our cats came from a Farm over near Helston.

I had heard there were kittens on the farm but they were still very young and probably not ready to be taken.

This suited me, Loz was pregnant, we were house hunting and although we had agreed we wanted to get cats we had not fully discussed timescales, we just knew we wanted them before the baby arrived and in time for the new house, wherever that would be.

When at the farm I arrived the woman I met insisted that if I wanted the I had to take them there and then.
I think she was under some pressure from her children to keep them and she wanted them away before school finished.
The kittens were six weeks old, I was not keen on taking them before they were eight weeks but she was immovable.

What I saw when I arrived was the last of the litter, a tiny noisy tabby who immediately started climbing up my arm and a scruffy ball of black fluff with two huge green eyes.

I had a long day ahead of me, I picked up the work van and moved the kittens onto the front seat and drove all over Cornwall, up to St Germans and back through St Austell and round again to Lostwithiel.

I called Loz and asked her to meet me in the car park where I left the van over night to give me a lift back to the house.
As she opened the window to say hello I passed the kittens in to her. She was not expecting them so went all funny and weepy over how cute they were.
I can be a little grumpy about these things but they were very cute.

Loz was three months pregnant with Prole1 at the time, the kittens were to become her constant shadows in the house for the whole of the pregnancy.

In theory the little female tabby with the daredevil streak and endless mewing was Loz’s cat and the male, black fuzzy ball was mine.
In practice they were both hers and would drape themselves over her whenever she sat down and would hide inside her cardigan when she worked.

When Prole1 came along they were about six months old and i was a little concerned by how the cats and the baby would get along.
They were still very playful and would pounce on anything that moved and most things that didn’t and I wondered how they would take to a flailing new born baby, one that took all the attention as well.

They made the adjustment well, whilst still happy to lacerate my hands and arms during any attempt at play they never ever scratched either of the Proles until Prole2 was five.
He shoved his face too close to the tabby Lola and she bopped him on the nose. No claws this time but this signalled the end of the truce and now, if the Proles take on the cats in play the claws can come out.

The fuzzball turned into a huge black tom called Pavement. He would chase the Proles in the garden and leap past or over them when they were small.

The cats were happy enough to hang around with me because I fed them but they were not “lap cats” particularly. They would sit close to Loz by preference and observe everything.

When Loz died the house was thrown into chaos for a couple of weeks. There were people coming and going all through that time so it took a while for the routines to settle.

I carried on feeding the cats at five o’clock every day but pretty much ignored them the rest of the time.
For months I barely noticed anything anyway, the cats had to get on with it like the rest of us so I never really watched their reaction to it all.

They switched a lot of their attention to me and would take it in turns to find me and sit close by.
As time has gone on they have become much more affectionate and will seek out a warm lap to sit on in a way they never did when they were young.

They are fairly middle aged these days, they can barely tolerate each other’s company and have divided the house up into ‘territories’.
Currently Lola has the bathroom and the Prole’s bedroom, Pavement has the living room and my bedroom. They hiss and spit when trespass is found.

Some days it feels like as soon as the Proles go to bed the cats are on me. This can be really stifling.
I often feel like I have four very needy beings in the house and I have to sort out their petty problems from the early morning to the late night.

I suppose it feels that way because I DO have four very needy beings in the house and I have to sort out their petty problems from the early morning to the late night.

The problems are petty and trivial from my point of view but if you are a small boy or a cat then this stuff is the entire World.

It may sound a bit odd to talk about the problems my cats might have.
I am strangely unsentimental about having animals living in the house these days, I was much more empathetic towards them when I was younger. I think I just watched one to many animal behaviour documentaries and am mildly worried by the way Western Society and particularly people in British Society anthropomorphise their relationships with their pets.

That said, about a year after Loz died I was clearing out the bathroom and came across her shampoo.
The smell of her hair.
I took a shower and used the shampoo and breathed in the warm humid smell of mornings when she was alive.
There was a drumming of cat’s paws on the stairs and both cats ran into the room, tails up, eyes wide.
Lola was meowing loudly and Pavement put his paws up onto the side of the bath and peered in.
They could smell Loz too.

Family is an odd word. Home can be hard to pin down as well.

Half way between family and home is where me and the cats meet.

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