Katie loved her little cat very much. He was her very first cat. He was a magnificent ginger cat with a mop of fur on his head and a ruff under his chin. She adored him and knew that he adored her back.

They were inseparable; he sat on her lap when watching TV. He was on the table as they ate and at night he slept on her pillow. During the day he sat in her stroller with her as Katie was just a toddler. They went everywhere together.

When they went on holiday he was the first thing she wanted to take as she couldn’t bear to be parted from him. He looked at her with sad eyes and she knew that she couldn’t leave him behind. They sat on the beach, he supervised meals in the evening at the local cafés and people said he was a cute little thing. He was even offered a lick of ice cream, which he politely declined. At night, he was there for Katie on the pillow as she closed her eyes at the end of the day.

But then Katie abandoned him. Well, not so much abandoned him, as lost him. He fell from her stroller when she was snoozing as her parents were making a last minute dash round a local Spar supermarket before heading for the airport and home.

When the loss was discovered, Katie was inconsolable.

“Don’t worry sweetheart,” her harassed mother told her. “He was old and saggy. We can always get you another cat when we get home,” she looked to her husband for support as time was short and it would be like finding a needle in a haystack to try and retrace the day’s route in the hope of finding him. He could be anywhere by then.

“Come on, we’re boarding now,” she instructed over Katie’s tears as they headed out for the plane.

As the cool of the day descended on the resort, the cat was found, peeping out from under the bottom of a shelf, just as the Spar supermarket was closing.

“Oh, hello. How did you get there?” the shopkeeper asked as he was picked up and cuddled.  “You are a sweetie aren’t you?” she said as he was gently put down on the counter by the till.

And there he stayed.

Some shoppers came in and ignored him. Others gave him a glance as they packed and paid for their shopping. Some would pat his head and tell him how handsome he was. But he was lonely. As the lights were turned off at the end of each day, and the shutters brought down the endless dark of the night just saw him sitting by the till waiting to be claimed … waiting to be loved again.

One morning, as the shop opened, in walked a lady. She was a tourist to the area, rucksack on her back looking to buy bread, cheese, wine and water on the first day of her holiday. Her eyes were instantly drawn to the little ginger cat by the till.

“He’s adorable,” she laughed as she picked him up and tipped him onto his back.  “My  new kitten at home would love him for company. How much is he?” She placed him back on the counter.

“He’s not really for sale. He was sort of lost and we sort of ended up with him,” the shopkeeper picked him up and cuddled him.

“Oh how sad,” replied the tourist. “He would have such a good home with me and my kitten would just love to cuddle up with him.”

“Tell you what,” smiled the shopkeeper, having a sudden thought. “He’s been here for a few days now, if he’s not claimed tomorrow – he’s yours.”

“You’re on,” laughed the tourist, “and if I can’t buy him I’ll put some Euros in the local cat rescue charity box!”

The next morning, with wine and peanuts to replenish which meant a meander down the street to the little Spar supermarket the tourist entered the shop to find the little golden cat still there just watching the comings and goings of life in the resort.

“Still here?” laughed the tourist.

“Still here!” confirmed the shop keeper. “No-one claimed him, so he’s all yours,” she went on as she picked up the cat and placed him by the plastic shopping bags.

“What will you call him?” asked the shopkeeper as she put the Euros for the wine and peanuts into the till.

“Oh, that’s obvious,” giggled the tourist. “I’m going to call him Spartie.”

Gabion and SpartieAnd that was that. Spartie was given a new home after first having a good bath and taken back to England to become the companion of the tourist’s new little kitten who really did love to cuddle up to him and chewed his ginger ruffs of fur.

And was for Katie? Well, she now has a new, bigger cat to cuddle and love. Only this time she has a real cat as her parents took her to a local cat rescue centre where she picked her own companion …. A big saggy teddy bear of a ginger cat.


The Very Best Toy for Cats

"Of all the [cat] toys available, none is better designed than the owner himself. A large multipurpose plaything, its parts can be made to move in almost any direction. It comes completely assembled, and it makes a noise when you jump on it."

Stephen Baker