My cat is one today. I realised today that I haven’t written anything at all about her which is weird to me as she’s pretty much my life. And if life has taught me anything it’s that the internet loves cats, so I thought I’d mark the occasion with a post about her (and maybe a cat birthday cake? No, that’s a step too far).
Her name is Gizmo. When I first picked her up the breeder asked me what I planned to call her. When I looked her dead in the eye and replied ‘Gizmo’, the look of horror was apparent. ‘I’ll just leave the naming certificate blank in case you change your mind’.
She’s a pedigree Birman, so technically she has two names; her given name and a pedigree name. I thought I would balance out the two by giving her a rather beautiful pedigree name: Aoraki, which is the Maori name for Mount Cook in New Zealand. One of my favourite mountains and always dusted with snow, just like our new tiny kitten.
I fell in love with the Birman breed at my old house in London before I went travelling, when a beautiful Birman cat used to climb in through the window and make itself at home. I even wrote a blog about her. She was amazing.
It took three long months to track down an available Birman. All kittens were either reserved or snapped up as soon as I saw the advert. I decided to sent speculative emails to all of the listed breeders I could find and soon enough my persistence paid off. But after three months of torturous rejection I have to admit I was a near broken woman.
The day we picked her up was one of the hottest of the year so far. Around 30 degrees and bright sunshine. We rented a car through the easycar club and drove the two hours to collect her. On the way we noticed the air conditioning was broken, and it was a furnace in the car.
After two hours we arrived at the breeder in Oxfordshire hot and excited. After all this was the day we had been waiting for. And then we saw her. Little, fragile Gizmo playing with her sister (who was equally as pretty, if not moreso).
There were also several Chihuahuas, including one big fat one that loved to be stroked on the belly. 😀
Then we asked if we could meet the mother; something that all reputable cat breeders encourage. ‘Of course!’, she said, and led us out to her sturdy cattery in the garden. We spent a few minutes admiring her collection of immaculately groomed cats and then headed inside to collect the new member of our family.
But there was only one kitten inside, and it wasn’t Gizmo. Her sister was sitting patiently, just where we left her, but our kitten? Nowhere to be seen. We called and searched every nook and cranny of that house but after 15 minutes of frantic searching, we took our search outside. Could she have escaped somehow?
We looked under every bush, along every wall, even inside her hot tub. Still nothing. We checked under parked cars and into the neighbours gardens. Nope.
I was starting to panic. Where had she gone? Had she really taken one look at us and thought life would be better if she went it alone? I felt awful, and even worse for the breeder who was beside herself. No kitten. After months of waiting. And she could very well be out there by herself. Scared and alone.
After what felt like a lifetime, she reappeared from the side of a sofa, as if nothing had happened. I knew from that moment she was going to be a handful. We carefully scooped up our new baby and drove her home in the furnace car, worrying about her every second of the way as she panted and sweated.
Once she was settled in, it’s like she’d always been there. What a lovely little personality she has too. She plays fetch (and brings toy mice back to your feet), makes little chirping noises and she will only drink out of a glass of water – not a bowl!
So happy birthday to my little floor cloud, Gizmo. You’re one today and we have so many years of belly rubs ahead of us!