I’d like you to meet Joey .
Here he is , channelling the Emperor Nero , in our back garden . Isn’t he gorgeous ?
Joey condescends to live with us .
Here he is looking like Lady Muck , as my gran would have said . And it would be Lady Muck , in Joey’s case . Joey is an effeminate ginger tom . He knows it , and I know it . I could explain why , and how , but it probably wouldn’t translate . He really, really loves his mum (that’s me) . He is extremely affectionate , and demonstrative , especially when he is hungry . And he has some very flowery paw language .
He is trying to Man Up in this photograph . He’s not convincing anybody , bless him . Joey is the gay son that I never had . I’d have made a great gay mum . Joey loves his musicals . Sits on my knee all the way through The Wizard of Oz . Honestly , he does . And High School Musical -1,2 and 3 – with Eldest , which he deserves a bloody medal for. Mind you , there is always Zac Effron , which does ease the burden some what . We all love Zac in this house . Even Joey .
He’s a lovely boy (Joey) despite looking rather officious in this photograph . Soft as a mop . I love ginger toms . I’ve met a few in my time .
Most of them have been a bit on the naggy side . I particularly remember one called Chester , who used to haunt the backstreets around Smithdown Road in Liverpool , where we used to live , pre-children , when we had a social life . Chester only had one full ear and was something of a bruiser . He wore a permanently pissed off expression. My gran would have said that he looked like he was sucking a lemon . Mr T said something altogether ruder , to do with sphincters.
Chester’s penchant was for lounging on top of the public pay phone on Arundel Avenue and pretending to be asleep. Upon his victim approaching , Chester would suddenly awake from his slumber and deliver a ferocious clawed left hook to the poor deluded fool that was under the illusion that they were about to make a ‘phonecall .
Mere passers by not requiring the use of a public payphone would more often than not be let off with a cursory bat . Claws In or Out would depend entirely upon the vagaries of Chester’s unfathomable moods on any given day , or maybe upon if he liked the look of you or not , or if he could be arsed .
Those that were wise to Chester’s ways would cross to the other side of the road just ahead of the payphone .
We usually remembered to do this , and on the rare occasions that we forgot , Chester , I like to think , seemed to deliver us a grudging respect and , on the whole , keep his batting tabs to himself . Either that , or it was just all too much effort . Chester’s Phonebox was eventually removed . I don’t think that it made much money.
Other gingers that I have known and swooned after have been equally arsey . It is part of their charm . They are Alexandra Burke’s Bad Boys , the cat equivalent of Bad Lads . Loveable Rogues . Arseyness on four legs . But gorgeous , always gorgeous . And with great , vanishing-behind-things , stripey bottlebrush tails .
Joey was one of three boys . They all used to live here , with us . Before that , they lived at our local Cats Protection (http://cats.org) being looked after by Megan – foster mum , patron saint and fairy godmother to lost and abandoned kittens everywhere . Before that , they lived in a battered cardboard box dumped by a roadside . And before that , they lived with some arse of a person who I would have some very strong words for if they ever had the misfortune to run into me .
Joey had a ginger bro , Ozzy . Ozzy met a stomach grippingly predictable end on the busy road outside our house last year . Ozzie was a cocky , arsey , Alpha Tom . Ozzy was his brothers protector . He was the Hisser At Strangers ; the bearer of scared proud fighting eyes and fronting up . He was Sid James to Joey’s Kenneth Williams . The ultimate foil ; yin and yang .
Ozzy is still with us . He is in one of Joey’s butcher moments or frolicking around the garden with his brothers on a good cat day. Occasionally I sense a flash of ginger out of my peripherals or I’ll be in the kitchen and feel an impatient Feed Me tail swish against my legs . I will look down and there will be no cat there . Ginger Joey will be fast asleep upstairs , on our bed , when I go to check .
There is one more brother who lives with us , a black cat , called Carlos . Carlos is an Enigma with pointy ears .
Here are the boys before three became two
It’s like a bloody roman orgy . Allo grooming gone mad .
They often used to curl up together like this . I would see them all together in their mothers womb , in their membrane sack . Then , frightened , mewling , huddled up together in a battened down , damp, soggy box ; cars intermittently roaring past . Then I would feel angry .
There was no more curling up together after Ozzy died . Joey and Carlos sleep separately now . As does Cassie ,our arsey lady cat .
Cassie Black Cat : knowing , haughty , regarding the boys with the contempt that they deserve ; tolerating them on a good day ; hissing at them on a bad . Cassie Black Cat : A Foundling , one snowy morning, long ago ; she found me , not the other way around . Cassie Black Cat : Off handedly beautiful green full moon eyes , black shiny fur coat , red patent heels , and pearls . I might have made the last bit up .
So . Joey , Ozzie , Carlos , Cassie and Chester , the Phone Box Assasin . There is one more Lost Boy , Sandy , the First Ginger . I cannot write about Sandy .
I love cats . I love my cats . Not that they are mine . They are free spirits . They live along side us . They are our equals . They share our lives . We share theirs . They are part of our family . We are part of theirs . They keep asking us for food . We keep giving it to them . Sometimes they bring us some . We aren’t very good at catching our own . They are . Maybe they feel a bit sorry for us . They probably do .
I love other peoples cats too . I love All cats .
I feel that I should be wearing an I * heart * cats badge . Maybe I should . Maybe I will . Who knows .