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Life Chez Dee Episode #10: Nico

I write a lot about the family, about the boys, especially Edward. But let me introduce you to another male in our household … Nico.

We’ve had Nico just over a year; he was a rescue cat, who sort of picked us rather than us picking him. We went to have a look round as the kids had been pestering for a cat. Nico was so friendly; he didn’t leave us alone; he seemed such a character too …. And very vocal. As we wandered along looking at the other cats he was up at the door making such a fuss, wanting us to go back and give him some attention.

We decided that Nico was the cat for us; we had to wait before we could bring him home …he had to go to the vets to lose a couple of bits first, so we picked him up a week later. The day we chose Nico was my birthday, and as we didn’t really know his age exactly, only that he was about 12 months old … he shares the same birthday as me.

He’s a beautiful, sleek, glossy black cat … completely black. Apparently nobody wants black cats; people are superstitious and associate them with witches. I honestly don’t think we could have chosen a better cat. He’s such a character, so sociable … always wanting to be with us. I often wonder if it was Edward who sent him to us.

Edward loved animals – all animals. He wanted a dog. Although I like dogs, I just didn’t feel I could devote enough time to looking after a dog. He wanted rabbits … kept going on about his friend’s rabbits. He wanted a cat, but as he kept coming out in blotches on his face after he’d been stroking cats, I thought it safe to assume he was allergic to them.

I’d considered a cat anyway … Edward was always ok with cats as long as he washed his hands straight away after stroking them … and the devil in me thought “well that will stop him biting his nails!”

We never got round to getting a pet for Edward … and to this day I still feel guilty about it. His brothers have wanted a pet ever since, but I always felt so guilty … it felt as though it was a betrayal, an insult to Edward, getting a pet now, when he never had the chance to have one. Eventually, after thinking it over, and me having a long chat with Edward, I accepted that it would be lovely for us all to have a pet.

He’s a prolific mouser. I have little rodent presents most days … sometimes twice a day. To be honest I never knew we had so many mice living in our garden! I get birds, and I get frogs, they survive though … he mustn’t like the taste … they just get deposited under the kitchen table for me to find!

We often have scenes that could be taken from Tom and Jerry. Only the other evening … after being wary of a huge house spider …. Yeah, you heard that right, the cat was wary of the spider! He goes outside. Within minutes we have a present on the doorstep – its dead – I clear it away, and within minutes again there’s another – but this one isn’t dead. I manage to distract him enough with a packet of cat treats for him to look the other way, and the mouse makes a run for it … into my Virginia creeper! I manage to grab the cat and bring him inside the house …. But Justin is in charge of the door … and he can’t move fast as he’s injured … and he doesn’t close the door in time and the cat escapes …. And it really is “cat and mouse” game then, with them chasing each other in circles. Out I go again with the cat treats and manage to keep him inside the house this time as I’ve got Justin primed and ready at the door this time.

He’s not long inside, looking rather put out that he’s been brought in … and I know that I have to give him his worming treatment this evening. I’d bought some that morning from the vets. I asked to buy a worming tablet. I say to the lady on the desk, “thank goodness he only has to have half a tablet … it’s such a nightmare getting a worming tablet down him”. The receptionist pulls his records up … he’s grown up she says… he’s over 4 kilos now … he has to have a full tablet! I go ashen. Oh my goodness! Oh joy of joys! I know there’s going to be another palaver this evening… it’s so stressful. I don’t know who is the most stressed to be honest, me or the cat! Is it really that stressful? she asks. Yeah, I say… in fact it’s so stressful I wonder if it would be better to get the vet to give it to him. You can do she says. If it wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg for a consultation fee, I would, I say. She then tells me that I can always buy a spot treatment for him. Now there’s a turn up. No, I didn’t know, I said. Why wasn’t this offered before? Was it far more expensive? She apologises that it’s never been offered before … and I come away feeling really pleased. Relieved, elated … she’s made my day – I’m clearly easily pleased.

So although nice and easy to apply this treatment, the cat is clearly very angry with me and won’t stay in the same room this evening. Not only have I taken him away from his mouse TWICE! But then I dose him with worming treatment and he sulks, and spends the rest of the evening trying to lick it off.

There hasn’t just been one mouse that got away. There have been several. Quite often he takes his eye off them and they escape under the plant pots, where he can’t reach them. Or occasionally there’s a feisty mouse, one with plenty of fighting spirit, one that stands up on its hind legs to him. This worries him. He keeps his distance. He tries to get those claws out, but is ready to jump backwards if the mouse stands its ground. It’s just like a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Cats may be all knowing, clever, expressionless; they make you work hard. They look at you with distain. They’re also a bit stupid … well our cat is … and the most stupid thing is that he has no road sense whatsoever. None. He sits in the road. He doesn’t move for cars. They beep him; they slow down; they swerve; he’s not phased; he doesn’t move; he stays put and stares at the driver of the car. And I do worry so much about this. So if you’re driving down the road and you see my silly cat. Please be patient with him. Give him a beep, curse if you like, but wait for him to move.

Anyway, safe and sound every night, in the house with us for company … bless him, he doesn’t like being out at night... our spoiled cat enjoys his plate of pilchards for supper.

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