Bertie, The One Of A Kind
Bertie loved in the otherworldly ways only cats can. A one of a kind ex street cat & fiercely loyal family member. We love him in abundance.
"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul." (Jean Cocteau)
In 2013 Dan and I visited Battersea Cats & Dogs home. We both knew saying “let’s just have a look” was unlikely to end that way. Still, neither could have predicted the outcome.
We were led down corridors of cats all ready to find their forever home. Beautiful creatures with stories that ranged across the register. But then, we turned into the Tabby hallway, and in one of the very first little spaces sat a street cat, possibly around five years old, the Battersea team had named Bert.
“Oh, he’s not ready yet.” The kind lady showing us around explained. He was skittish, scared of most humans still, too nervous, too scratchy. He wouldn’t let anyone near. Except… He strolled right out to us as we knelt, mesmerised, big eyes meeting ours with that “love at first sight” or “we’ve met before, haven’t we? We belong together, right?” energy.
Noses were bumped, and a family was made. He chose us. Or maybe we just found each other, finally.
He was in many ways a grumpy old man. He loved his food, sitting in the sofa, and angrily staring down anyone he didn’t know who tried to come too close for comfort. He also stood up in a fight (to his detriment) against anyone and anything he felt crossed a line, or threatened his home. Our home.
When I was pregnant he slept curled against the bump.
When she was born, he would lie next to her, nestled up gently, with extreme care, by her side. When one of the girls would cry, he rushed up to me with judgement and urgency in his face, seemingly saying “WTF are you doing? Fix this now, help them”
I knew exactly when they were about to get sick, because he would venture into their rooms every evening and curl up in bed with his face bumping their hand. Purring on that ethereal wavelength that held the power of healing.
He knew when we were sad. Or anyone really that he deemed a decent human. He would offer his gentle support, a cuddle, acknowledgement, safety, protection, warmth, love. Without condition or question. Not blindly, but with purpose. Because he chose to. He chose us. He chose his family, and who he offered that magic to.
He shared wisdom. He taught the girls the basics of boundaries after they each turned one with a little punch of the paw if they played too rough. They rarely did. They loved him, fiercely. As he did them.
A few weeks ago I was fairly ill, and as a doctor came around Bertie appeared out of nowhere, positioning himself between me on the bed and this stranger. Carefully watching, challenging… Protecting.
The house is emptier now. A little colder. But he’ll always be here, and in our forever slightly broken hearts.
“From birds she learned how to sing; from cats she learned a form of dangerous independence.” (Salman Rushdie)
- £25.00 With Love
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