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Picture of Misty


Ruth and I had been living together for a little over 6 months when we decided we were going to get a cat. Ruth has always had cats around the house, but my first ever pets were the goldfish we got last year! We decided we would try to get a grown-up cat from one of the local animal protection charities, since we both work and so are out all day - we're not there enough to give a kitten the attention it needs.

Once Christmas and New Year were out of the way, the hangovers shaken off, we decided to start our quest to find the perfect cat. Ruth started the ball rolling by searching the web, and we identified a number of local places. The first one we called was the Cats Protection (Cambridge). They foster homeless cats with volunteers, and after a home visit to check that we would be able to look after a cat, we went to see a few of the animals in their care. We saw two delightful kittens, but they were too young for us! We saw a lovely big black 4 year old male called "Tyson" who was sweet, but possibly a bit of a handful for someone not used to having cats around. We also met "Penny", a grey short-hair female about 12 years old, but she was really older than we wanted.

By this time we had already had a look around the Blue Cross sanctuary in Cambridge, although we hadn't 'met' any of the cats. We went back again to meet one or two that we liked. Ruth had liked a grey female 5 year old tabby on the previous visit so we met her first. The sanctuary was calling her crusty, because when she had first come in (as a stray) she had been suffering from a skin disorder. It seemed to have cleared up by the time we met her though, and she was just a big ball of fluff.

We didn't really meet any other cats there, as none were suitable for us (many needed more attention than we could offer) so we left again, and went for lunch to think things over. By this time Ruth had fallen in love with Crusty, although I wasn't too sure - I hadn't felt anything special when I met her. We couldn't pick up Crusty that day anyway because the centre was closing, so we decided to go to another shelter at Wood Green to meet some more cats.

We had a good look around at Wood Green, and although we met some lovely animals they all either had new homes already, came in a group of four (too much!) or were unsuitable due to needing lots of atttention, or having no road sense. That settled it, Crusty was to become our cat the next day (unless someone had beaten us to it!).

We went and bought some things including a scratching post, a litter tray and some toys, and on the way home debated a name for our new pet. Many, many possibilities were weighed up, but "Misty" came out victorious. Ruth phoned the Blue Cross the following morning and it was settled - we could pick her up that afternoon!

Just before I go on to describe my experience of having our first cat, I would like to thank all of the wonderful people at Blue Cross, Wood Green and Cats Protection for all the wonderful work they do looking after animals that have had a hard time, or even been abused. Each of the websites for these organisations (just click on their names in this paragraph) will tell you how to make a donation if you would like to help them with their work.


Day 1 (Sunday 19th January 2003)

We turned up at the Blue Cross centre at about midday, and bought some more of the bits and pieces we needed, like some feeding bowls and a cat carrier. We paid the £40 adoption fee and were glad to buy the stuff there, because all the money made goes back to helping more cats in need. They took Crusty (we hadn't tried her new name on her yet) and prepared her for us, and after a while she appeared, miaowing away vigorously from behind the bars of the carrying box. She continued to miaow plaintively all the way to Tesco, where we stopped to pick up some food for her. By this time we had decided that "Misty" was definitely the right name for this cat! Ruth went in to the shop, and after stroking her through the bars for a little bit to calm her down, I opened the cage door a little and slipped my hand in to stroke her properly! She loved it, and in no time at all she was purring and she even licked my hand!

When the car started moving again for the final leg of the journey home, she started miaowing again but not as much this time. When we got back we left her in the box until we had set up her litter tray and put out some food and water, so she could find these things when she started exploring.

With everything ready, we shut the doors so only the kitchen and living room were accessible, and opened the cage door. Misty cam out quite cautiously and explored various corners of the room, before deciding that her corner for hiding in was behind the armchair.

She did sit with Ruth for a bit quite early on, and she was enthusiastic about being stroked and made a fuss of from the start!

Picture of Misty Ian Petting Misty

We helped her to find her food, and her litter tray, but she remained very nervous. She only came out of her corner when we weren't looking, but she did find and eat some of her food, and she did (much to my relief) use the litter tray! We did persuade her to sit with us on the couch for a bit, but she wasn't really keen! She also seems to get her claws stuck to everything just now, and you actually have to help her unstick herself!

When bedtime came we coaxed (still very nervous) Misty out of her corner and took her upstairs. She had ben introduced to the cat bed in the living room earlier in the day (see photo at top of page) and she had been upstairs once already, so she settled into the bed fairly happily.

Day 2 (Monday 20th January 2003)

I woke at about 6:30am to hear the most pathetic miaowing coming from somewhere outside the bedroom. Ruth was sound asleep, so I put my dressing gown on and went to investigate. I feared that perhaps Misty had made a big mess or got stuck somewhere... Turns out she was just lonely and perhaps a little hungry. I didn't put any food out, as I wanted her to settle into our routine and that didn't include a 6:30 feed, but I diid stroke her and give her some attention before going back to bed. After that, she was fine.

Misty still avoided us most of the day, only coming out of her hidey hole behind the armchair when coaxed and stroked lots.

Day 3 (Tuesday 21st January 2003)

Misty slept in her bed in the bedroom part of the night again, but she was downstairs (behind the armchair) when Ruth looked for her this morning. Ruth brought her upstairs to wake me up! She was a bit more outgoing than on Monday, and is slowly starting to spend more time sitting under the table next to the armchair, instead of actually behind the chair.

Ruth was meeting friends in London this evening, so I got home first. Misty came out to say hello almost without engouragement, and when I was distracted by answering the phone she got quite miffed she wasn't getting all of my attention - she was butting my hand and licking me, trying to get my attention. She got stuck to my trousers while trying to climb them too - I am considering renaming her "Velcro"...

I abandoned Misty for a bit and went for a swim, and once again she was quite sociable when I came back. She even came and ate some of her food while I was making my dinner in the Kitchen (first time she's been in the kitchen at the same time as me!). She saw me open the fridge at one point, and I think that she's worked out that's where the milk is from watching Ruth. She kept eyeing up Ruths glass last night, and she followed my glass very closely until she realised it wasn't milk.

I had some leftover chicken from our weekend roast for dinner, so I had to separate the meat from the carcass. When I was nearly done there were a few scraps (not worth keeping) left over, so I thought I would see if Misty would like them. She has only been allowed dry food up to this point, because that's what she was on at the home. Turns out she likes chicken. I had a little bit on my hand for her and she ate that pretty quickly, then licked all the chicken fat off my fingers, then bit each finger gently to see if there was any more chicken there!!! I did let her have a little bit more because I'm a big softy at heart...

In addition to being a velcro cat, Misty seems to get upset when you carry things. She is fine if I walk into the room, but if I walk into the room with a plate or box she runs like a dart into her corner behind the armchair...

Day 4 (Wednesday 22nd January 2003)

This morning we swapped roles and I found Misty behing the armchair and took her to wake Ruth up, which she did. She freaked and ran back downstairs when I turned the shower on though! This morning she came into the kitchen as soon as she heard me open the cupboard with the catfood in it! I gave her a mix of Whiskas (what she was used to from the sanctuary) and Tesco dry food this morning to see if she would be OK switching to the Tesco food. She didn't eat immediately, but when I came back from taking Ruth to the station so I could have my breakfast she ate while I ate, and she just about cleaned out the bowl. No problems there!

I decided to take a picture of her in her wee hidey hole (the second one shows where the hole is) before work:

Misty in her hidey hole The hidey hole

Misty is even bolder this evening, she came out to play without much encouragement and even went and sat on the couch while I was playing on the computer. She also tried drinking from a water glass on the table a few times, so we had to chastise her. She was much more outgoing when I was playing with her too, and when I bent down she even licked my nose... She kept butting her head against me to attract my attention and get me to tickle her.

Another first tonight, she actually climbed up onto the couch so sit with Ruth about three times without any encouragement! She really is starting to participate in our lives instead of just being coaxed out of her corner occasionally.

Misty sitting on Ruth Misty sitting on Ruth

Day 5 (Thursday 23rd January 2003)

Well, on the plus side Misty is still gaining in confidence. I woke at about 6:30 this morning to hear her moving about under the bed. That's the minus side. Anyway, she woke me again at about 8 (more reasonable) making a strange coughing noise, and Ruth woke too this time. Ruth correctly identified that this was Misty being sick in the corner of the room, and took the appropriate clean-up action! Seems our cat sicks in easily disposed of briquettes! Anyway, Ruth brought Misty back to the bedroom afterwards to comfort her, and although she didn't stay with us long, she did go back to her bed. That's the first time she's gone into her bed on her own. Anyway, she's been sneezing a bit the last day or two sso I'm slightly worried she might have a cold. We'll see.

Anyway, we went back to sleep, and when I got up for my shower Misty fled the room (presumably to her corner downstairs). When I got back from the bathroom though she was back in her bed - that's the first time (that we can be sure of) that she's come upstairs on her own. Apart from that, she's clearly been exploring more in the night because she knocked my water glass over in the living room!

Misty was fine again this evening, much more confident moving around and avoiding us less (although she was very shy when I first got home from work). She had also knocked a plate over in the kitchen and broken it, which may be why she was a bit sheepish...

On that note, my father also offered the following continuation for this diary:

Day Six
Misty ate the goldfish. We are so pleased because she is clearly feeling at home and able to help herself. We are debating whether we ought to get her a regular supply of goldfish.
Day Seven.
Misty has taken to sitting on my head. Unfortunately, she finds it a bit slippy, but she's getting good at hanging on with her claws. It is also a bit of a disadvantage that I'm soo tall. Going through doors is perlious and painful for me. But it's true, she always lands on her feet.. Soon she will learn to face forward and to duck at the right moment.
Day Eight
Well, she has learned to duck, but not to face the front.. So everything is fine, provided I remember to go through doorways backwards., which is not inconvenient when you get used to it. Though I'm getting funny looks at work. My head should heal soon.
Day Nine.
Misty has found out how to open the drinks cabinet. Have you heard a cat singing when it is drunk? We have, all night. Ruth had decided to rename her Pissty.
Sorry, sorry, sorry, I have this terrible urge to send everything up. Ruth will understand what a terrible childhood you must have had.
Seriously, aaaaah! so glad youre both getting such enjoyment.

Thanks for that Dad!

We didn't bring her up to the bedroom tonight, we had decided to let her find her own way up if she wanted to come. She arrived just as I dozed offf, so Ruth was nice to her while I slumbered (I think)!

Day 6 (Friday 24th January 2003)

Ruth tells me Misty slept on her feet most of the night. Cute, but I don't really want to encourage her to sleep with us. Mind you, if she keeps on Ruths side of the bed it's no skin off my nose! She was being a real tart before we left for work though - while we were on the couch looking at photos that had just arrived, she came over and rolled on her back right under our noses, begging to have her tummy tickled. We obliged of course...

I guess we've had Misty nearly a week now, and it's been nice having her around. she doesn't seem to have any bad habits really, she's very clean, and she's hardly any trouble. There have been a couple of minor mishaps (knocking over a glass, breaking a plate) but that is partly just because we are not used to keeping things cat-proof. If it continues we'll do something about it, but I think she scares herself enough that we really don't have to! Even jobs like emptying the litter tray aren't as unpleasant as I'd feared. I wasn't exactly skeptical about having a cat, but I had my reservations. So far it's been great - and even though she is a ridiculous little ball of fluff, having her around really has been lovely.

I think I will stop updating the diary every day now, but I will certainly update it from time to time when something interesting happens, or if we have more cute photos!

4 Weeks On (Monday 17th February 2003)

Well 4 weeks after arriving here Misty has a catflap...

fitting catflap fitting catflap fitting catflap

It is fair to say that I don't like DIY, so Misty is a very lucky cat.

Anyway, since I last updated this page Misty has settled in a lot. She was a little bit poorly (cystitis) for a day or two, but some tablets cured her. Unfortunately they left Ruth a little worse off - she didn't like taking those pills!

scratches on ruth

Anyway, both Ruth and Misty have recovered from the trauma and Misty has gone back to alternately expressing her independence and being cute:

misty under table sleepy cat

Misty has been getting more confident recently too, and has started playing with a little stuffed mouse cat toy, and with some old bits of ribbon. She's happy. She has also decided that fishing is her favourite sport:


Poor fish! She likes sitting on the chair I use when I'm messing about on the computer (doing stuff like this). This is her reaction when I come and try to take it back:

vicious cat

6 Months (Thursday 7th August 2003)

Well, Misty has been with us for 6 Months now and Ruth has been twisting my arm to update this page for ages. Since I last wrote anything here, Misty has got used to using her Catflap and now comes and goes as she pleases. Possible most importantly, she has adopted a corner at the back of the garden as her latrine, which saves a lot of bother cleaning out the litter tray (which is still there for emergencies). She seems to like sitting in the sun on the patio, and chasing insects. Yesterday she caught quite a big butterfly. I'm not convinced that this is normal but it doesn't seem to be doing her any harm so we just let her get on with it. Except when she chases big bumble-bees, at which point Ruth tends to intervene so she doesn't get stung! Here's a couple of pics of her exploring outside...

cat cat

As you can see, she's also taken to rolling over on the patio every time she goes out! Apart from going outside more, Misty has also had to get used to us going away. I it's just for a couple of nights we leave her with plenty of food in one of those feeding gadgets where the lid opens on a timer. If it's longer than that, we put her in the Cattery (Cat Prison) where she can be properly looked after in our absence. She still miaows continuously when she's in her travelling box, but she always seems happy enough when she gets out of prison. She doesn't sulk with us or anything!

Misty has also started meeting other people as they have come round to the house for one reason or another. She's generally pretty nervous of them, especially when there's a big crowd in, bu she will let people say hello during quieter moments and you can see she's a little attention seeking tart at heart!

Anyway, that's all for now folks!

Saturday 4th October 2003

Ruth is away this weekend, and so I've been pottering around the house with Misty in tow all day. I cleaned the fishtank, so it seemed a good opportunity to take a picture of Tidyup (our goldfish). Since I had the camera out, I pointed it at Misty a few times and she was unusually co-operative. The first one is of her sleeping in one of her favourite places in our (recently re-done) living room:

cat with fish

She sometimes comes to sleep there on the end of the couch even when Ruth and I are sitting right next to her!. The next two photos are from when she thought the wrist strap on the camera was a toy and started chasing it. Worked for me - it kept her looking at the camera for once!

cat with fish cat with fish