I'm not sure if readers know my original name was Tara. My first keepers thought I was female. 

Haven't some of your scientists discovered that certain chemicals have been disrupting testosterone in male babies and 'feminising' them? I'm not sure what happened to me as I'm sure you will agree I'm now the epitome of masculine feline perfection!

JimmyI had the odd fling before I was neutered. Would you like to be neutered? Still, the wonderful scientists seem to be doing a good job in lowering sperm count..

Oh dear! This isn't very romantic is it? I'm surrounded by desirable females [Holly, Daisy & Milo here, and Nelly and Smudge next door] and nothing much happens.

But Daisy and Holly can't get enough of me. They vie for position next to me on the bed, but only for a cuddle, as - guess what - they've been neutered too!

I'm sure I'm missing the point completely. Isn't Valentine's Day about romance and affection, not lust and reproduction? However, call me Mary Whitehouse if you want, but isn't your media awash with sexual imagery and content?

Now you could be forgiven in assuming I have an unhealthy fixation about my gender. What real tom chases Milo when his dish doesn't get filled on time? A bit cowardly isn't it?

Does what happens to us in kitten-hood shape us for life? I was a 'feral' cat, raised with others in a barn. No tuna or shrimps for me on Valentine's Day.

But doesn't this disjointed ramble prove my hormones are all over the place? My keepers have noticed I've been slinking about, acting sheepishly, not my 'normal' [i.e. predictable] self.

You lot spend a lot of time and energy trying to find your soul mates. Please realise you have many potential soul mates; the mate you get is a reflection of what you think about yourself.

My male keeper has told me many of his clients came to him screwed up about being born the 'wrong' gender. They had overheard as much as babies, or been told in childhood. Bit of a bummer eh? Well, yes it could be.

The Great Cat doesn't care about our gender. S/he loves us all. You could say I got a raw deal in early life. But we trust the Great Cat to create opportunities for us, and trust ourselves to take them.

I was found scarred and damaged living rough in a wood. I had one chance to impress my new keepers. I took it and rest is history.

Here's my Valentine's gift to you. Start loving and accepting yourself. As you do that, you will attract the right mate, one who loves you, not one who feeds off your insecurity. If you have any memories or beliefs that don't serve you, get help, get rid of them. What price peace of mind?

The truth is I love things like Valentine's Day. Despite the commercial side of it, it gets people to declare their love for each other, and there's never enough of that around. Did you know Valentine means worthy? You don't have to have a latex face, a sickly grin and treated hair to know you are all 'worth it.'

Enjoy your tuna and shrimps. See you next month.

Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)