My husband introduced me to Burmese cats about 25 years ago when I suggested we ought to have a cat (my husband had always had cats in his life and I hadn’t). I thought I’d like a Siamese – he said ‘no’! look at the Burmese, having met one at a friends house.
That was 1992 and we haven’t been without one since (sometimes 2 or 3).
As you will all appreciate, once you have a Burmese in your life you can’t be without, so as one of your lovely cats died we always went hunting for the next, not just for our sakes, but for the cat left behind.
This hunt has taken us to meet lovely people, all caring about their kittens, anxious that they find good homes and equally proud of them when we sent photographs of them settling in with us and thriving.
Our two boys, Casper and Noah came from such a home. When our beautiful little girl died it left Moses quite lost and I got it into my head that we needed two cats so we would not be left with just one again!
So then there were three – a great little gang. But when Mose died last year Casper and Noah got a bit ‘boisterous’ and I joked that we need a girl to sort them out. But we didn’t do anything about it (other than I found myself looking at the BCC website to see if an older girl needed a new home).
Then last month I got a message from the manager of a local animal rescue centre. We used to work together so she knew I had Burmese cats. The message just said ‘we have a 5 month brown female Burmese kitten coming in this afternoon, do you know anyone who may be interested!” I was on my way to see a client otherwise I would have gone straight there. So I rang my husband and asked if we could see her the following day. ‘Just see her’ I said, ’no commitment’.
That evening I promised myself that we would be sensible, I’d been told that she had not settled in her previous home as she had terrorised older cats and been impossible to manage, and I knew had the boys to consider, I didn’t want to completely turn their world upside down.
So we went on a Friday morning – and as we were leaving I suggested putting the cat carrier in the car ‘just in case’ I said!
When we arrived and were taken into the office – all the doors were closed behind us and a door in the corner of the room was opened – this tiny kitten came out like a rocket – ignored everyone and went hunting for food – straight to a tin on the window ledge which was instantly knocked to the floor. My husband, who I consider to be a bit of a cat whisperer, managed to pick her up, but she wasn’t for cuddling. She was up on his shoulder, down his back and off again.
We kept looking at one another waiting for each to say ’she’s coming home with us’.
We asked about her history and found out at this point that she had had several homes, each finding her unmanageable. So that was it – ’she’s coming home with us’ we said.
With all the necessary paperwork complete we left with a kitten, a bag of kitten biscuits and her vaccination card. She protested all the way home.
We knew the form – how to introduce a new kitten – we implemented the plan we had run through on the drive home. Instantly the boys lives were turned upside down. Casper took up residence under our bed for the weekend, Noah took to high ground.
The kitten’s vaccination card had her as ‘girl 1’, then at a later date Ellie was added, scored out and Sacha added which was also scored out and Lulu added. She came to us as Lulu, but she didn’t respond to any of them so we called her Kitten (along with several other names as she stole and clawed and nipped).
Then disaster – Casper bit my husband on his face. Had we made a terrible mistake? As my husband left that day for work I was left wondering if I had been very naive bringing her home. But my husband rang during the day to see how things were and we more or less agreed then that we would not give up as other had. That evening we refined our plan. The boys got more love and Kitten got a name – Boudicca, after the queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire – it just seemed to suit!
It was then that I started to try and find out a bit more about her. The animal rescue had no more information than they’d told us when we visited. They had had her micro-chipped, so all I had was the vaccination card. It had been issued by a pet super store with branches all over the UK. I rang them, but they said they just vaccinate as a service and didn’t keep any customer records.
So I wrote an email and sent it to every Burmese breeder I could find details of from the BCC and BCS and the The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. I thought, like the breeders of all my other cats, they would want to know she was safe and in a forever home. The response I got was lovely. Over 40 replies, all very encouraging with ideas about others who may help and how to settle her in. But no luck in finding her breeder.
But, thanks to one reply (thank you Sally), what I did discover was that she isn’t brown, but chocolate. I thought she was just light as some of my previous brown kittens had seemed, but now as she grows and sits next to my stunning brown Noah, she is clearly Chocolate.
My vet thinks she’s a ‘stunner’ and has given her a clean bill of health and she has been spayed. He wondered if she may have left her mother too soon to manage to have been passed through so many owners in such a short time and hasn’t had the benefit of a good education!
It would have been great to find her breeder, it would have been nice to say she is fine, she may steal the odd croissant, leave loaves looking like the mice have feasted on them, steal bacon rashers off the grill pan and sausage sandwiched on route from hand to mouth, but we are wise to it now and accept that food may have been part of her ‘issues’. We keep everything behind cupboard doors, food preparation is done while she is being distracted with toys and she has a few treats in the bathroom (her chill space) while we eat.
Casper and Noah have also come around. They all sleep together, play together – but eat separately! Casper has returned to his loving self and back to sleeping with my husband!! Noah is pretty chilled again and Boudi is happy.
Back to a gang of three.