This is Marple, the newest and furriest member of our family. Named after one of my favourite literary characters, she’s 4 years old, rather pretty, and alternately very grumpy and very purry. She’s only been with us for a week so far so she isn’t allowed outside yet but judging by the intensity with which she gazes out of the window she’s going to have a lot of fun in the garden. Luckily it’s inhabited by some particularly feisty sparrows and blackbirds who I think will be more than a match for her hunting skills.
Mr Mouse and I have been thinking about getting a cat for a while and now that we’re not in a rented flat anymore it seemed like the right time. I’ve had cats before and have really missed the homey feeling that they bring to a house. I’m also one of a small group of people who are allergic to almost all types of furry animal except cats, so it was feline or bust for us.
We adopted Marple from the local RSPCA centre which is something that I highly recommend if you’re thinking about getting a cat or dog (or horse!). I think that many people are nervous about getting a rescue animal, worrying that they’ll be ‘damaged’ or unfriendly but, in my experience, this isn’t usually the case. Yes, the cat may take a few weeks to properly settle in to his/her new home but, to be honest, this is the case with any new pet (except maybe fish). I’ve had three cats from the RSPCA, including a kitten and a seven year old who had been a stray for a couple of years previously, and they’ve all been absolutely fine once they feel at home.
The process of adoption is also reassuringly easy yet thorough. We went to the centre to look at the various cats and seeing if any seemed right for us. Most of them immediately came to the front to say hello, especially the brilliantly-named Nigel. Marple (or Fila as she was then) was the one who didn’t immediately come and say hello but stayed in the corner of her area, looking disdainful. I sensed a challenge and we spent an hour in with her, concluding that she might be the feline version of me – shy, mildly neurotic, grumpy, but quite friendly when you get to know her…
We filled out an adoption form and they arranged for a home visit to make sure everything was suitable. This was far less scary than we thought it would be – the home visitor was lovely and only had a few questions about why we wanted to adopt, how long we’d be leaving Marple alone for etc. Turns out that Mr Mouse’s panicked cleaning of the oven was a little unnecessary. When we’d been given the OK, we arranged to collect her and spent a slightly nervous week buying kitty essentials before bringing her home. NB. you can spend a lot of money on cat toys that your cat will never deign to play with. Trust me.
There is a required donation for adopting, which seems to vary depending on the centre you adopt from. We paid £65 for Marple, which included vaccinations, micro-chipping, neutering, and six weeks’ pet insurance. I seriously recommend getting pet insurance – my previous cat was hit by a car and her vet bills were over £900. I think I ended up getting about £750 back from the insurance company so it’s well worth having.
I’m sorry to have rambled on but I think it’s important for people to at least consider re-homing an animal when they’re looking for a pet, and also to give the quieter ones a chance. Looking at her curled up purring next to me on the sofa, I’m so glad that we chose Marple – she might need a little more time before she stops jumping at every loud noise but I think she’s going to fit in just fine.