Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Well, since we're talking about pets (see my current contest) and I've been getting emails from all of you (I'll start posting reader's pet's soon), I thought I'd kick off the pet posts with one about one of my favorite pets who isn't mine. He's Sid and he owns Harlequin author, Kate Walker (not the other way around LOL). I've heard Sid stories for years, and asked Kate (a brilliant writer and a lovely, lovely friend) to introduce Sid to all of you!


Kate Walker:

Sid is my cat. – well, one of four - I never intended to have four cats. Some years ago I had three and 3 is a nice number. There’s one for my lap and one for the BM’s – and one left over for any visitor who wants a lapwarmer. But cats decide who they’re going to live with. And one night we opened the door to let the cats in and in came Bob, Dylan, Spiffy – and Spiffy brought a friend with him. A handsome, big (very big) black and brown tabby who just about announced that he lived here and would I please show him where the food was. (Actually I don’t believe he said please – just 'Lemmme at the food!’)

And so Sid came into our lives. We tried to keep him out in the hope he would go home, but he just sat outside our patio doors and yelled and yelled and yelled. We couldn’t sleep. The neighbours couldn’t sleep and Sid was not moving. So we let him in. We tried to find his previous owners at the start - but then when we found that he had half his whiskers pulled out and air gun pellets in his stomach, we decided they weren’t worth looking for. We called him Sid because of an ancient radio comedy programme called Round the Horne which had a character named Rambling Sid Rumpo in it. Rambling Sid suited the wanderer. At first he was a rather pathetic creature. He was nervous and panicked if anyone went near him, he slept with his eyes open and twitched and moaned in his sleep. His head and his tail – a wonderful, thick, richly furred tail - stayed down. He didn’t even have enough spirit to lift his tail for the first five months he was with us.

But once he was secure in his chosen home, Rambling Sid turned into A Force in Fur. He lost the ‘Rambling’ part of his name and gained a knighthood. As TS Elliott says, cats have many names – and this is certainly true of The Force - his full title grew until it became Sir Sidney St John Willoughby Portly-Lummox ACOSB (A Cat of Superior Breeding). Anne McAllister has added to that by awarding him the honours of Earl of Hellions Bumpstead and Lord of Blubberhouses. (And for those of you who are laughing at those ridiculous names, I assure you they are real, genuine English village names the first in Essex, the second in North Yorkshire.)

Since his arrival Sid has become A Personality (note – I resisted the temptation to say A Purrsonality). He now regularly appears on my web site – where he often gets more fan mail than I do). He is the one who ensures total fairness in the choice of all the winners of my contests. I put all the names of the entrants on pieces of paper, top each one off with a cat crunchie and the one Sid eats first is the winner. If this was the 1600s and not the 2000s, he would probably get me accused of being a witch and having him as my familiar as he rarely leaves my side. He sleeps on my bed (well – he sleeps on me!). He sits on my lap, and if get up he follows me. And during the day, when I’m working, he sleeps on my desk, curled around the computer keyboard. He’s there now – dozing contentedly and occasionally reaching out a paw to pat my hand as I type. If I pause to think then he senses the silence, lifts his head and pushes it under my hand so that I have to stroke him. As an aid to thought it’s pretty good. He just wonders why it took us so long to realise this was where he belonged – he knew this was home from the moment he saw it.

The only fly in the ointment - or cat in the way of the firespot, is Dylan. Dylan and Sid will never be friends. So that’s Sid – or, as he’s usually known to my readers Sid The Cat. The capitals are important. In his mind, he’s The Cat and no one else gets a look in. Oh well, four cats is a very nice number - there's one for the BM's lap and two for anyone visitors. There's no room at all on my lap - that's Sid's territory and only his. ~Kate Walker (you can visit Sid and Kate--notice Sid came first--at "their" website or blog!)

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