My husband and other animals.

Last September we had to accept that out lovely old cat had reached the end of her long life, and we took her to have her put to sleep. She was twenty three, so very old in cat terms, but it didn’t make it any easier.

She was actually my cat, but as soon as she and my husband met, she became his…. or rather, he became hers. I was usually the one who fed her, but his was the comfy lap she preferred. She would nag him until he sat in his armchair, so she could get up on him. If a cat could be in love with a human, then Izzie was in love with Mike….and I think the feeling was mutual.

Needless to say, we both miss her a lot. We have stopped expecting her to be there asking for food when we get up, but each of us still occasionally still have those episodes when our minds play tricks, and my abandoned boots become Izzie sleeping on the landing, or we think we see her out of the corner of an eye, only to realise it’s not her, just a handbag or a jumper that’s been left on the settee.

Not having a cat around has meant that at last we can encourage birds into the garden, and so now we have a bird table, and several hanging bird feeders of different types. A lot of our visits to garden centres and pound shops involve a look at the bird feeding sections, so we can see what other treats we can buy for the new visitors to the garden.

This was how we discovered mealworms. Tubs of dried worms that we were assured were a robin’s favourite treat. we put some on the bird table and found that starlings love them, and we read that robins mainly like to feed on the ground, so we put some on the ground as well.

Last night, Mike called me to have a look in the garden.I was treated to the sight of a hedgehog, who had obviously eaten the mealworms that had been left out for the birds.

So now, we’re not only feeding birds, we’re also feeding hedgehogs. That means we can’t use our favourite pesticide, which had been slug pellets, as we want to care for these beautiful little animals. I’m just hoping they don’t eat so many mealworms that they lose their appetite for the hundreds of slugs there will be now we’re not putting down slug pellets.

I think Mike’s next project will be to build a hedgehog house behind the shed…. and we’ll look forward to the baby hedgehogs we hope will eventually be born.

I can’t help wondering what will happen when we eventually adopt another cat. I know it will happen. Mike will not be able to live his life without a cat to spoil. The signs are there already. He will rush to open the window to chat to some passing moggy, and when we’re out walking, every passing cat will be called to, and stroked if they are brave enough to come up to him for a chat.

The only thing I can hope is that whatever cat we eventually get will be old, and past the chasing birds stage, so we can combine bird feeding with cat ownership. Image

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