We had been resolute: no more cats. Miss Ginger Biscuit was 16 years old and needed peace and quiet. Then a stray kitten, puny from hunger and bristle-haired from cold, turned up at the back door. We named him Alan as a joke – such a grown up name for such a tiny creature. Surely he couldn’t trouble Biscuit. But we hadn’t reckoned for his ravenous eating and his huge paws. He swiftly grew into the monster he is today.
Alan soon discovered the delights of batting Biscuit’s tail, sniffing her and boxing with her like a hare, and we worried at first about Biscuit’s welfare.
But Alan never sat in her spot, always waited patiently while she ate, and should a strange cat ever trouble Biscuit, he would set about the interloper with a protective zeal that was both terrifying and heartwarming. Despite her clear disdain for this callow youth, she allowed him to curl up with her and an alliance was formed.
When Biscuit passed away recently, Alan was lost. We realised that as well as adding zest to her final years, he missed her guidance.
He now stays out too long, especially when it rains, until we have worried ourselves silly, only to return, muddy-pawed, smelling like an old carpet, and wondering what all the fuss was about. He will then wander off to find some freshly laundered clothes to settle in for a snooze. Four in morning has become his feeding time of choice and we ignore his tuna-demanding bops at our peril.
Yet he is soldiering on, and that is what matters. He shares out his love with fairness, knows just when you need a cuddle, and is gentle, funny and patient. He may be a naughty boy, but he is also a very fine chap.
Giving Biscuit a new lease of life
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