Call me a crazy cat lady, but I think my first few blog posts would be incomplete without a post about our cats. They are, after all, the very heart and soul of our home. And, on Instagram, people began loving my cat pictures, long before they loved my house or my garden shots. So, I am hoping that there are some fans out there.
I grew up with cats. Lots of cats (I’m slightly reluctant to admit). My mother – a true animal lover – was a magnet for every waif and stray in the neighbourhood. They were all moggies and each had its own quirky little personality (some, unfortunately, more quirky than others). We loved them all and I still remember their names decades later: Sootica, Minilow, Lupin, Sweet Pea, Greyling, Snoopy, Waldo, Marmite…..see what I mean about lots of cats?
When I moved to London and bought my first flat, I truly missed having feline company. And it was while I was researching ‘cat breeds happy to live indoors’, that I discovered Maine Coons. Extraordinary to think that a breed of outsize American farm cats could be happy in a tiny basement flat, but it was quite true….
Maine Coons really are something else. As well as being fantastically beautiful – those ear tufts! Those gigantic paws! Those plume-tails! – they are consummate comedians. I laugh out loud every day at my cats – from their bathroom acrobatics first thing in the morning, to their dinner table lolling in the evening. They are also very sociable; almost doglike in their friendliness. They follow me around the house in a small pack; sit down where I sit; sleep where I sleep; and, as my Instagram followers know too well, they perch on the Boot Room window sill waiting patiently for me to come home.
Now that I’m freelance, I’ve had a chance to spend whole days with them and got to know their little routines. Poff puts himself to bed straight after breakfast (how many of us wish we could do the same?) and stays there till midday when he joins me working at the kitchen table. Mousling always knows when it’s Bo’s bedtime and curls up on her bed waiting for night-time cuddles.
They are not lap cats – Maine Coons are far too full of personality to be that compliant. But they are brilliant companions. They are truly the best furry PAs. And the last few years, working from home, would have been far less fun without them.
Poffum is the boss and, quite simply, an all-round awesome cat. I often say to my girls, if Poffum was a man, he’d be the perfect husband. Loyal, well-behaved, smart, fantastically handsome, affectionate, but not clingy…
Poff, as we call him, is nearly always ‘the cat in the window’. Being the boss, he likes to keep an eye on what the birds, cows, neighbouring cats and general wildlife are doing.
Underneath Poff’s handsome exterior, beats the heart of a badass hunter. He looks innocent enough here, but beneath his paw is, most likely, a dead mouse which he will leave, neatly arranged, on the doorstep.
Nimbus is the bad boy of the family. Nim watches me arrange flowers and then destroys the arrangement, one flower at a time, and pushes the vase off the table for good measure.
Nim considers my bed his territory and spends much of the day luxuriantly stretched out on it. I complain about his fur and dirty paws on the duvet, but the sight of him there fills me with such awe and yearning, I let him stay….
Nim is also known as Elf-Cat. Partly because of his ethereal, good looks; and partly because of his penchant for climbing the Christmas tree.
Mousling is the baby of the family. We usually have only two Maine Coons at a time – but, when we met her two years ago, Mousling was far too cute to resist. And, because she’s a girl, she fitted right in.
She might be smaller than the boys, but Mouse is quite a feisty little creature. She has her own schedule, which is completely different from Poff and Nim’s and she’s slowly and subtly eroding Poff’s top-cat status (she regularly sleeps in his favourite spots).
When she’s not sleeping in Poff’s spots, Mousling is forever exploring new sleeping place options….Princess and the Pea piles of quilts, the linen cupboard…..
….Or the Boot Room
Finally, the Furry PAs at their desks. You can see how hard they work. I don’t know what I’d do without them!