Tuesday 1 May 2018

Should all writers have a pet?

I have always considered myself a dog lover but did not actively dislike cats. We have had four flat coated retrievers and one border collie over the years but are also on our fourth cat.
We had a Bengal-cross that we rehomed for my niece which unfortunately died last November. I loved Louis but he was very unreliable and was as likely to bite and scratch as purr when you touched him.
I was persuaded by my other writer friends that I needed another cat, and this time to get a kitten and one which was guaranteed to be friendly. As I had just had a huge rebate on my council tax (because my husband has vascular dementia I now count as a single person) I decided to spend it on a pedigree cat.
After almost buying a Maine Coon (they are so huge I would not have been able to lift it to take it to the vet) I settled on a British Shorthair. I found the perfect pussy cat and although he was a little older than I would have liked, four months exactly, I collected him immediately after Christmas.
I have not regretted my choice or decision for one second. Billy Blue is an absolute charmer, sweet natured, funny and intelligent. I spent another fortune having the garden fenced so he cannot get out but if you divide the exorbitant sum by fifteen years it doesn't seem so bad.
To get back to my original question – should all writers have a pet? When we had Zoe, our border collie, my husband was safe to leave and I did a lot of planning and thinking on long walks by the river. I don't walk unless I have a reason.

Having a dog was not an option now but having Billy Blue is almost better as he does not require any exercise but does need my attention. This means I have a focus apart from my writing and my caring.

My desk is covered with cat hairs as is my monitor screen and whenever I get stuck I can find the cat and play with him. British Shorthairs are not supposed to be intelligent but I refute that. My cat talks to me, comes when I call him and knows when I am cross because he has tipped his water over again, or climbed on the back of my husband's chair and startled him.
I know a writer who has a parrot, many who have dogs, but I think more of us have a feline for company and inspiration than any other animal.
I talk to my cat, he is a good listener, and my number one fan.

best wishes
Fenella J Miller

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