Why does my cat disdain my very existence? This is a question I ask myself whenever he’s taken up residence on my laptop keyboard or sitting on the papers with his claw wedged into my shoulder daring me to try and move him.
Toby and I started our love/hate relationship four years ago on one of my veterinary visits to the local rescue centre. As I proceeded with my rounds I came across Toby in his little kennel with a note pinned to the door, it read; ‘Hello, my name is Toby. I’ve been here for 2 years and no one has ever even asked to look at me.’ Well Toby was soon on his way back to my house, yowling his displeasure all the way.
We were under the impression that Toby was a stately older gentleman, living out his twilight years with a bit of TLC and a warm spot to sleep. Toby, however, didn’t share this opinion and as soon as his basket was opened he shot up and out and up the chimney. Looking up into the darkness all I could see was Tobes perched on the ledge his green eyes blinking at me, suspiciously. An array of treats was laid out on the hearth as if Toby was the feline Santa Claus, but he would not budge. When I went to work he would come down to do a soot covered lap of the living room and drink half a pint of water before shooting back up to await my return, hoping I wouldn’t.
After three days he came down for good but still wasn’t quite sure about me, requesting his dinner then going to find somewhere to sleep where I wasn’t. That was four years ago and bit by bit he grew to tolerate me. After about a year I got the occasional show of affection, a little face rub or swerving in between my legs whilst trying to descend the stairs (this may or may not have been affectionate). Slowly but surely we got there and but for the odd mishap along the way we’re now best mates and when it’s cold he sleeps in the bed with his head on the pillow. I still get the impression, backed up by the occasional episode of unprovoked aggression, that he’d do me in if he had to, but I wouldn’t be without the little rascal.
As for the sign on his kennel that persuaded me to take him in the first place; the next time I returned to the centre Toby’s name had been crossed out, replaced with Charlie and stuck on the next kennel along, I think I’d been had!
Mr Richard Harper BVetMed MSc(Onc) MRCVS
T: 0208 4449006
E: [email protected]