I am cat sitting for my parents at the moment while they enjoy the French mountains. Quite right too as the cats are actually mine, well one of them is mine - Alfie - who I deposited on them over 4 years ago when Ross and I sold our house and went off travelling. He had a brother then though, Bertie, an angel in cat disguise (although all cats are angels).

It as all a bit odd and yet not, when I reflect. I have always loved grey cats and when I got a bonus from work almost 6 years ago I decided to invest in two grey kittens from a lady in Kent. Bertie was cheaper than Alfie on account of the fact he had a beard...I jest not. The strangest thing was the fact I had in my head to call them Alfie and Bertie after my two grand fathers (is that strange?!) and when they arrived I discovered that the lady in Kent had already called them those names. Even stranger.

We had so much fun, like so much fun with these kittens who became cats. They taught me how to love again, unconditionally, I guess they simply brought joy back into our lives, they did so many cute and funny things...not to say there weren't tears too, like the time they both went missing the same night and the time Bertie (who was totally hapless) got his paw caught in the radiator and was hanging upside down, and the time he fell into a hot bath, oh and the time Alfie hid behind the kitchen units and I took it very personally.



So I moved them down to my parents' house, much to the dismay of their existing family cat, Ashe, also grey!! But they fitted in, my parents fell in love with them immediately, how could they resist, they were just so entertaining.

I went off to Australia and within two weeks Bertie got killed instantly by a car in our clos. My parents were devastated as they figured out how they were going to tell Ross (who was with me in Australia at this point, perfect timing for the ensuing tears) and I. Bertie was a wise cat, there is no doubt, and I know he came into my life for that short period of time, not only to teach me to love again but to make sure I got out of the rut I had managed to get myself in. So me going travelling, with a whole new way of living and adventures ahead of me meant his job was done. Plus he knew that by leaving, it would help his sister who was being bred back in Kent.

You see my parents were concerned that Alfie would be lonely on his own. He has always been a sensitive soul and while Bertie was the life and soul of any party, sociable and into everything, Alfie will always shy away in the corner, I am still the only person he will let pick him up...although Dad is now his new best friend - and actually I think Alfie may be Dad's best friend too. Hmm. We are a simple bunch!!

Anyhow to cut a long story short, after speaking to the lady in Kent my Dad flew over in his friend's private aeroplane (at great expense) to pick up Bertie and Alfie's sister called Bumble Bee. She was in desperate need of rescue, not that she was being abused or anything, but she had been bred and was essentially living in a cage and this really upset my parents, especially my Dad when he went to retrieve her.

I met her for the first time when I came back from Australia and it has to be said she is the most giving and caring and gentle cat I have ever met. She is really my Mum's cat, they both love food (Bumble eating, Mum growing and cooking) and enjoying the warmth of the fire. She has put up with a lot from Alfie these last few years, he was used to playing with his brother, his sister doesn't play fight back in quite the same way and he has this thing where he pounces on her. Thankfully she has started to fight back and in fact she has taken control, fighting off this big cat from next door who Alfie runs away from (such a girl).

So I am loving looking after them this week, although I think they look after me as much as I do them. Cats are incredible the way they can pick up on your energy and will be there in times of need. I do truly believe that the cats we have - the particular cats we have, personality, colour and all - come into our lives for a reason other than the fact we want a pet at home. You can learn a lot from wathcing how a cat lives its life, the simplicity, the going with the flow, the resting, I would certainly like to be one (in our household in any event) in the next life!

Hmm. I'll keep you updated.

Love and light, and thanks to Bertie for all his angel ways.

Em xxx

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