This week marks the birthday of my cats Cookie and Muffin. Okay, it’s not actually their birthday – I have no idea when they were born – but it is the anniversary of when we adopted them, so I always like to call it their ‘birthday’ and mark the occasion with a big bowl of kitty-milk! You may have spotted my little fluffy bundles of joy in occasional blog posts over the years as they ‘help’ me with my craft projects (I’m secretly suspicious that they just want to be in every photo ever taken) and you can probably guess out much they mean to me. I’m been their ‘mummy’ for the past 6 years and I wanted to share the story of how they came to live with me.
‘Helping’ with photographing my sewing projects
They were, in fact, mine and my husband’s 5th wedding anniversary ‘gift’ to each other. We’d finally got to that age and level of commitment that we thought we could finally adopt a cat together. When I talk about commitment, I actually mean in terms of looking after an animal, paying vets bills, having to consider them when booking holidays, buying pet insurance, cleaning up after them, keeping them safe, getting them micro-chipped and not leaving them alone for long periods of time. Even though we are both massive animal lovers, it wouldn’t have been fair to adopt a pet any sooner, as work and university commitments took us away from home and meant long distance travelling during university breaks. We’d love to have a dog too but even that is too much of a commitment – at least cats are fairly self-sufficient most of the time – and we couldn’t commit our time to the daily demands of dog-ownership. Plus, I’m sure Cookie and Muffin would just move out if we brought a puppy home!
Anyway, once we’d given each other the go-ahead to adopt a cat, I first spotted Cookie while browsing the Animal Care website in Lancaster (near our home at the time). I was drawn in by her beautiful black-and-white face and I quickly clicked through to see more photos. The Animal Care centre is a great place to go if you’re thinking about adopting an animal because they really look after the pets that arrive and they get to know them so that they can confidently match them up to a suitable home. Cookie was fine with children and other pets with a playful kitten-like temperament – purrfect, you might say! I looked at photos of her playing and my heart filled with love. At the bottom of the page I noticed this sentence: ‘Cookie must be rehomed with her lifelong companion Muffin’. Oooh! I clicked onto Muffin’s ‘profile’ and there was my fluffy little princess – beautiful tortoiseshell colours and (I was later to discover) the soppiest cat ever. What a bonus! No cats for 10 years, then two come along at once! I thought it was lovely that Animal Care insisted that the two cats needed to be rehomed together because it really shows how much they care about the welfare of the pets and I arranged for us to visit the pair as soon as possible.
Cookie & Muffin’s photos from their Animal Care profiles
On the day of our visit to Lancaster, my husband and I agreed that if we were unsure of anything with these cats, we would need to talk it over before going any further, and we carefully avoided looking at any of the other cats in the home as we approached Cookie and Muffin’s private ‘room’. As soon as we went in, these little balls of fluff were all over us, rubbing around legs, purring, nudging our hands and jumping up on our laps. A cynical person could say that we must have visited before feeding time, but I think it was just meant to be. These cats knew that we were their parents and we were certain that they were meant for us. After spending a long time with the girls in their room, we gave the animal shelter the big thumbs up and a ‘yes, please’. But it wasn’t as easy as that… We needed to be checked, someone would need to visit our home to make sure it would be okay for the cats, we couldn’t take them with us there and then. They were ‘ours’ but not until all the boxes had been ticked. It was heart-breaking to walk away but we whizzed home and I immediately sent Animal Care photos of our house – every room, the garden and even the quiet country lane outside our home. Thankfully, this was enough reassurance for the shelter, who agreed that we were suitable candidates to adopt Cookie and Muffin.
On the day that I went to collect them I was so excited but certain that a mistake had been made and that someone else had swooped in and rehomed them before me. I only let myself believe that it was real when I’d strapped both of their cat carriers into the back seat of the car and was driving them to their new home, phew! I talked to the cats all the way home and thought that Cookie was such a good girl because she didn’t miaow during the journey like Muffin did. But when I got them home and let them out of their boxes to explore their new surroundings I realised why… Cookie is mute! it’s like she’s never learned to talk. Even now, 6 years later at the ripe old age of 7, she’s silent and plays like crazy with a feather attached to a piece of string.
We’ve always thought that Muffin might be Cookie’s mum, because she’s a year older than Cookie and she tends to groom Cookie but it’s never reciprocated. She’s also a lot more calm, ‘floppy’ and cuddly, you can pick her up anytime and she’ll sit still when having her flea drops applied. She sleeps more, loves lying in the sun and rarely rises to the challenge of chasing a laser pen light. She’s very loving and likes to rub against my chin and sit on my lap. She reminds me of the saying “Cats leave paw-prints on our hearts and nose-prints on our glasses”! Maybe it’s just the wisdom of an older age rather than being Cookie’s mum, and it’s possible that they are sisters from different litters. Either way, I’m so pleased that the animal shelter thought to rehome them together, because it’s clear that the two cats love each other and it would be so sad to take one away from the other.