I￼’m supposed to be in the New Forest, in a field, cooking sausages and watching my boys excitedly greeting Aunty Liz. I’m not. I’m sat in the same spot I sit every night drinking tea and dipping biscuits.
Hobbes is our stripeyest boy cat, our surprise second cat and cat equivalent of Ruru. We ordered Lucifer but got Hobbes as a bonus, Edgar was twin one during pregnancy and Rufus our delightful bonus. 5 years ago my boss’s cat was expecting, Jon and I had a 1 bed flat and had not long been married. I was coerced into wanting a kitten. My only conditions were no wet cat food, cat biscuits only and they can’t sleep on our bed, we kept to the biscuit rule. I said I wanted a black kitten if one came out, it did and he was named Lucifer before he was even born. When we went to meet him at a few weeks old, 1 of a litter of 5, it was mentioned that there were only 4 adoptees so far, each wanting one cat. NO NO NO WE CAN’T HAVE THAT! Every tiny kitty here is wanted, we swiftly decided we’d take 2. As we were the first visitors we had first choice of the 2nd kitten we wanted. Each was unique and beautifully marked, jumping and mewing and falling around, 2 boys and 3 girls. There was one kitten acting peculiarly, almost constantly upside down, attacking each passing sibling with very minimal effect and only really annoying himself, his tiny spotty tummy permanently exposed, Jon declared, I want him. All my fluffy toy friends throughout my life have been named boys, of course we were taking home 2 boy kittens. We went away excited and nervous, but we also needed a second name. Weeks of deliberation occured, lists and research galore. We decided on Hobbes, as in Calvin and Hobbes, the famous comic strip that Jon loved as a child, only on the day we collected him. When I was expecting our human twins we decided on the way to the hospital to be induced that if we were to get 2 boys (we did not find out the sex of the terrifying babies I was carrying) the 2nd would be called Rufus, we’d had the name Edgar ready for years.
Hobbes is poorly. He’s the reason we’re sleeping on foam and not air tonight. Last night he arrived home shaken, scruffy and weeing blood. Two heart-wrenching and expensive vet visits later it appears he’s been dragged, by dog or car, ripping out claws, removing hair like a close shaver and serious harm to his bladder. My dear small-faced boy must have been terrified. Last night I was terrified, as Jon whisked him out the door at 1am, that I’d said my last goodbye. I know it might sound pathetic to many of you, but I cried so hard I thought my tummy was coming out of my eyes. Crying not only for fear of losing my crazy, cat-boobed (like man boobs on a cat, poor Hobbes) boy but because he’d ruined my incredibly planned for and anticipated weekend of adventuring. I’m holding back the tears again now. My dear friend has driven half way up the country from Devon to meet us in the New Forest and I’m not there. Being here is where I should be. Not being here with marvellous Hobbes would cause me great anxiety, but by God I’m disappointed, I don’t do disappointment well. Fortunately Eddie and Ruru are handling this all much better than me. They have both been incredibly sensitive with Hobbes, who’s required calm and space. Ruru particularly struggled, he shares some traits with Lenny from Of Mice and Men, and we’ve had to tell him not to squeeze most of the animals he’s been able to get close enough to to hug, but today he worked hard on being able to control the strong urge to love too roughly.
Hobbes is perking up, as am I. We shall make the most of a long weekend at home together. Free local adventuring and a tin full of economy biscuits, cat biscuits for Coobes (cat boobs and Hobbes compound nickname) and we’ll all be right as rain.