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My name is Suzanne, and I am a cataholic.

Yes, I admit it, I am completely addicted to animals of the feline persuasion. I have a house full and my vet calls me “the mad cat woman”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. I grew up with dogs, and as a small child if anything was bothering me, I told the dogs. Not that they were any use. Part way through unburdening myself, I would get a look that said, “Alright, enough where’s the biscuit?”

The quirks and idiosyncrasies of cats, keep me on my toes. They tear through the house like little tornados, scattering things as they go, usually with a thud and occasionally with a crash and the accompanying shower of glass shards. They disrupt my work. I can be beavering away at my computer until (depending on whether I am using the desktop or laptop) a head blocks my view of the screen, or a bottom parks itself firmly on the keyboard.

Heaven help any plants I bring into the house. Within a couple of days, any shiny green leaves have been munched, and I am left with a few bare stems. Do they touch the herbs that I put on the kitchen windowsill specifically for them to eat? No. Why should they when they can destroy my houseplants?

I saw a fridge magnet that said, “When you call a dog, it comes running. When you call a cat, it takes a message and gets back to you.” Nothing can be closer to the truth. Cats are the hedonists of the animal world. They have never forgotten their status as gods in Ancient Egypt and live to be waited on. They insist on the warmest, most comfortable spot in the house. My cats allow to me to warm the sofa before requesting, ever so nicely, that I move so that they can make themselves comfortable.

I have one little darling who likes to sleep on my pillow. She sits on my face if I don’t move my head so she can curl up in the warm hollow, with her bottom wedged firmly into my shoulder. I have lost count of the number of times I have woken in the morning to find that I am clinging to the edge of the bed, while the cats are stretched out all over it. I did not realise that such small animals could take up so much space!

I have had cats now for nine years, and I am still not quite fluent in cat. I am constantly surprised by their approach to life, and how they manage to wrap me around their small paws. I would like to think that I am mistress in my own house, but I am deluding myself if I do. These beautiful little creatures know how to get what they want almost without me realising what they are doing.

So, who are the little beasties who have so easily turned my life so firmly around? First in terms of nuisance factor is Lily. She is heads above the others when it comes to disruption, knocking things over and the general troll factor. It is Lily who sits, with little cogs turning, looking for things to get up to. She is a bright little creature, and she quickly works out by looking at the other cats, which buttons to push, and then delights in pushing them. This, quite naturally, leads to a great deal of hissing and looks that would curdle milk from her “siblings”.

Her sister Mia is as different as you can get. They are littermates but the only thing they have in common is that they are both black and white. Where Lily looks for things that are going to get her into trouble, Mia is content to curl up on my knee (usually when I am just about to get up for something).

The only boy in the house is Fidget, and naughty ginger tom. He is a complete mummy’s boy. He has has a voice which could shatter glass and he is not afraid to use it.

Then there is Echo, my lovely, little tabby cat, and Fidget’s sister. She is is frightened of everything and so quiet that you do not know she is in the house.

Finally, there is the latest addition to the feline family, Willow. I met Willow at a foster home where she had been taken from the local rescue centre, as she was pregnant. She had three lovely, lively little kittens, but it was three-legged Willow who I fell in love with. The disruption her arrival caused seven months ago is ongoing. Lily decided that this new arrival was perfect for being mean to. Unfortunately, Willow is yet to work out that running is the worse thing she could do, and to Lily it is a great game. Willow is not so keen on being pounced on, and retaliates and a full-scale catfight ensues.

There you have my feline family. Five completely different furry babies with personalities as big as houses. Life is never dull, and I no longer get a lie-in but I would not change a thing.

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