When you look at any of my social media bios, you’ll see I call myself a cat concierge. Well, I’ve written about when we acquired Spooky, and how Ginger moved in, but for some reason, I’ve never written about our beloved senior cat, Jester. I think his tale is long overdue so when Petplan * asked if I’d like to share my pet story, I knew this was my perfect opportunity.
A new kitten
In all honesty, I didn’t want Jester. Murphy, my favourite cat, had just died and I was devastated. (If anyone tells me that animals aren’t people and not to be so dramatic, please unfollow me now). We still had his sister, Maha, and Alan thought she needed some company. Some friends had a few kittens needing homes and he decided to take one, on the proviso he could bring it back if I really didn’t want to keep it.
This is Jester on his first morning with us. Clearly Alan knew best (this one time only), because obviously we were going to keep him.
An apartment cat
We lived in a first floor flat in Bath for 15 years so our cats were indoor cats, and Jester loved sitting on the window ledge in the sunshine. I had a heart-stopping moment when he fell off once, but luckily my plants cushioned his fall, as it would have been a very long way down. Lesson learned, he never fell off again, fortunately. (For those of you who follow my gardening posts, yes, this window box was my first garden!)
We decided just because we lived in a flat, that didn’t mean Jester shouldn’t get outside. The Recreation ground, where Bath Rugby play their matches, was just behind us so, every weekend, or on a sunny evening, we’d harness him up and take him for a walk (dogs weren’t allowed on the Rec but obviously there were no rules about cats) Imagine, if you will, how much this did for Alan’s street cred, to have a mincing white kitten on end of a lead.
What did Maha think?
Maha was not at all impressed at first but Jester’s sheer persistence wore her down in the end. He absolutely adored her.
True story: in the last week of her life (a couple of years after we’d moved to the country) Jester caught a mouse, which he gave to her as a token of respect.
A country cat
Jester spent his first six years as a flat cat, but when we moved to the country he adapted very quickly. If I opened the bedroom window and saw a white blob in the faraway field, all I had to do was call his name and he’d come lolloping back instantly, meowing as he ran.
He was fiercely territorial in his youth and brooked no other cat anywhere near our garden. And yet, he was perfectly accepting towards the succession of cats that followed after Maha: Lily our rescue cat, Flora’s first cat Buzz (above left), his successor Spooky (above right), and Ginger. Although, as you can see, he wasn’t too sure what to make of Flora when she arrived, but he very quickly decided she was good to snuggle with when she was asleep 🙂
How times have changed. As I write this piece, Jester is 15 years old. He’s thin, not in the best of health (he has an untreatable compromised immune system), but he’s still soldiering on like a trooper. Both Ginger and Spooky defer to him and Spooky worships the ground he pads on.
He’s always been my snuggliest boy, right from the beginning. The middle pic is the two of us having a sunny afternoon nap together, a few weeks after I’d found out I was pregnant.
Why our clown prince?
The moniker came when he was still a flat cat with excess energy. He spent so much time leaping around, not looking where he was going, he crashed into a door and his right ear never recovered. (Obviously, we tell friends he did it in a fight because the reality is so much less heroic).
Notwithstanding the above, Jester is the friendliest, most affectionate, and most chilled cat I’ve ever known. He’s never bitten or scratched anyone in his life, not even when undergoing treatment for an eye ulcer some years ago. This entailed countless vet trips, surgery, blood tests, further surgery, and an eight-week recovery period, during which time I had to give him pills twice a day and eye drops four times a day. He was scared and hated the aftercare, but he never fought back.
When Jester was ill, all the surgery and treatments he had to have were terrifyingly expensive. We would have been very hard pressed to find the money if we hadn’t had him insured. This is where Petplan Pet Insurance comes in. Petplan has been around since 1976 and, as you might have guessed, offers insurance policies for our pets. In addition to their Covered for Life® policies, they also have a 12-month policy designed to suit all needs, such as an older pet.
Better nutrition and health care have increased the life expectancy of dogs and cats, according to an article in a recent The Economist 1843 magazine. They report that the PDSA reckons owners will spend around £17,000 during the life of a large dog and £12,000 on a cat. Clearly, figures like these means it makes sense to think about insurance for our pets to help with unexpected bills.
Petplan wants to hear your Pet Stories too, so whether it’s a recovery from illness or just their day to day mischief, share your story on Petplan’s Facebook or Instagram using #PethoodStories.
I’ve had and still have so many treasured moments with Jester:
- Getting into the far end of the bath with me while I was showering and using it as a toilet (only the once but aaargh)
- Drinking from my water glass and eating my marmite toast crusts
- Always coming when he’s called (unlike any other cat I’ve known)
- Snuggling up to me whenever I’m ill or having a Sunday morning lie-in
- Seeing him relaxing in the warmest spot both inside and outside – a great stress relief lesson for us all
- Featuring as the cover pic for my guest post on favourite childhood books for Mademoiselle Women 🙂
Jester’s a scraggy old boy now but he’s my precious scraggy old boy and will always be my clown prince. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading his story as much as I have writing it and rambling down memory lane. Last winter he was very poorly so I’m slightly surprised but very grateful that he’s still with us. And I’m keeping everything crossed that we’ll be able to carry on enjoying some more good times together before he takes his final trip over the rainbow bridge.
Do you have any pets? Did you have any pets when you were growing up? Are you a cat concierge like me or a dog lover? What’s your pet story?
* This post is in conjunction with Petplan but all thoughts are my own.