Hello there. I’m Bilbo Haywood and have recently joined my forever home after somehow ending up as a rescue cat. I can’t imagine why - I swear I’ve always been a good boy. I used to be the apple of my human’s eye, in fact, until they took her away in a van with flashing lights, and that was that. I was taken from our little apartment in a cage and spent ages behind bars, until finally Mum came to get me. Things have been looking up since then.

Now I live in a busy household with Mum, Dad and several other humans who come and go, and with another cat called Tammy, who is much older than me and very strict: she doesn’t like it when I have my mad five minutes, a couple of times a day. In particular, she gets very cross when I perform my pièce de résistance, the sideways crab run with all-paw levitation, of which I’ve always been justly proud. She clobbers me over the head when I do it, so I try to give my performances when she’s not looking. Otherwise she’s okay. When I’m good, which means quiet, she lets me share the rug in front of the fire and tells me stories of the legendary Tigger, her all-time hero who used to live here. He must have been an awesome cat: he travelled the whole world, hunted mythical beasts, defended our family against intruders and in his spare time wrote his memoirs! I don’t think I can ever hope to step in his paws. But I’m still young, and if I try really hard, then who knows what I may yet achieve?

We live in a big house with lots of rooms, some up, some down. To begin with, I found it difficult to get my bearings and to master the strange walkway that connects the two levels. Jumping it all in one go was not a good idea, but climbing up or down one step at a time works well. By now, I can actually do it at a run, while also embracing the wooden pole at the half-way mark.

Beyond the cat flap in the back door lies the Great Outdoors (or GO for short). I taught myself how to use the cat flap by watching Tammy. The GO has neither walls nor ceiling, just lots and lots of empty space and at first I found it even scarier and more confusing than the up and down house. It is also wet: always from below and sometimes even from above, but that is its only drawback. Everything else about it is fantastic. FANTASTIC, I tell you! There’s a soft green substance you can walk on and also eat; there are various obstacles to climb; you can run really far and as fast as you like; and there are little creatures that squeak when you catch them. They make great toys to play with and are extremely tasty. Of course I took my very first catch inside as a gift to my new family. They were really pleased to see how clever I was, and very touched by my generosity. I’ve been working diligently ever since to hone my hunting skills. Perhaps there’s hope for me yet to aspire to the Great Tigger’s repute. What do you think?

Susanne Haywood

A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.

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