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I thought it would be relatively easy to write about Lola but actually it is difficult to try and capture the true essence of this cat in words….

From the moment of her arrival it was clear Lola was going to rule the household…. She was to become Queen of all she surveys….

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I have known several cats in my life, all unique, individual characters and although I did not appreciate it at the time, they were model cats, impeccably behaved; at least compared to what I know now….

After the loss of Misty, our little tabby, in 2009, there was a big hole in our lives. During the Summer of 2010, John suggested that perhaps it was time to introduce a new addition or two into the family….

In the past it has always been moggies, mainly rescue cats – but ever since I can remember, I have loved silver tabbies….

I found a breeder, who had kittens available and so this is how Lewes and Lola came into our lives….

Lewes was a big boy for his age. Three weeks older than his half sister, the idea was he would look after the tiny scrap of delicate fluffiness that was Lola. Funny how things pan out – Lewes turned out to be a bit of a wuss, scared of his own shadow – where as Lola was to become the true definition of ‘tom boy’….

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Lewes – “Is this for me, Mum?”

Having experienced kittens before, I thought I knew what to expect – what I didn’t anticipate was the level of naughtiness that was to accompany these two…. Lola always the ring leader, forever into mischief, egging Lewes on to join in with her high jinks antics. He didn’t need much encouragement and was a willing accomplice. Between them, they redecorated the house in Shabby Chic style – anything remotely chic we possessed rapidly became shabby, curtains were shredded, carpets clawed and the sofa wrecked…. Sadly, this is a trait they have never grown out of….We are reluctant to replace anything as it will most certainly be destroyed again. I lost count of how many breakages there were in those early days…. Nothing was safe….

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The house would turn into a mad feline race track, round and round they would charge, play fighting and ambushing each other. Eventually, they would collapse exhausted. We would breathe a thankful sigh of relief and then tiptoe around, so as not to wake them….

No matter how long the pedigree it has, at the end of the day a cat is a cat and natural instinct will prevail; as we found out when Lewes and Lola became old enough to explore the outside World. Lola was soon to show her true colours. It became clear that she was going to be a hunter and a keen ratter. The first evidence of this came on the day I opened the back door to find dead, on the doorstep, a very large rat – and I promise I am not exaggerating here – it was almost the size of Lola herself…. My assumption was that she had found it, there was no way she was capable of killing a rat that size…. It didn’t take her long to prove me wrong….she was more than capable….

1730Lola has a very generous nature, she likes to bring in presents, usually for her brother but sometimes for me…. Trouble is, these gifts are often still alive! Gradually, the presents began to get more exotic, especially when she developed an interest in ‘snake charming’. The first offering was a young grass snake. I am embarrassed to say, that as snakes are one of my biggest fears, I asked my neighbour to deal with it for me – I should be ashamed of myself, as it was no more than 10 cm in length…

The next one to be brought in was far more worthy of a truly, hysterical reaction! I was home alone when Madam came hurtling through the cat flap and dropped a large and lively adder in the middle of the kitchen floor. She then turned around and sauntered off out again. At first, I was paralysed with terror, luckily for me, so was the snake…. I grabbed the washing up bowl and managed to drop it over the reptile, weighting it down with a pack of lemonade bottles. There was nobody around to help me and the poor creature was there for a good couple of hours before I managed to get assistance. Rescue eventually came in the form of a neighbour’s son – I shall be forever in his debt. He managed to catch the adder and then released it back on to the Common, it appeared to be none the worse for wear – unlike me, thanks to Lola, I had been traumatised!!

Thankfully, there have been no more snake incidents in the house, just a few outside… I dread to think what Lola gets up to when she’s out of sight – it is probably best that I don’t know….

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If cats really do have nine lives, than Lola must be living on borrowed time. There have been plenty of scrapes and mishaps along the way. One afternoon, arriving home from the school run, I nipped upstairs. I wasn’t surprised to find Lola lay on our bed – it was winter, chilly outside and getting dark – she has always been a fair weather cat. As I flicked on the light switch, it became obvious that there was something terribly wrong. A dark stain surrounded Lola and it took a moment for it to register that it was blood…. A quick inspection showed that she had been injured and medical attention was required. Jordan and I whisked her off to the vet, where a thorough examination revealed her injuries were not too serious. She was patched up and given antibiotics. Evidently she had been attacked, most likely by a dog, her wounds healed quickly but psychologically, Lola had changed…. Up to that point, she had been a very sweet natured cat. Now there is a certain grumpiness to her demeanor, she will grumble and moan when picked up and will lash out if annoyed. She can still be very loving and affectionate when she chooses but it has to be on her terms….

If Lola doesn’t get her own way, then we all suffer. We like to try and keep both cats in at night, partly for their own safety but also out of dread as to what nocturnal creatures may be brought indoors…. As soon as possible after dark the cat flap is locked. Sometimes, the curfew is too early for Lola’s liking and she will show her disapproval. This will often involve picking a fight with her brother but if she is really miffed, she will attempt to dismantle the house…. A favourite trick is to climb behind the television, with the aim of sending it crashing to the floor…. We always know when Lola is in one of her moods, her eyes darken and her expression becomes one of pure menace….

One evening, I was surprised that she had decided to stay out. It was bitterly cold and pouring with rain. I had just lit the fire and was tidying up when she came through the cat flap….soaking wet. A short while later, I was puzzled, as I kept getting a whiff of what smelt like petrol. Initially, I assumed it was from the fire lighters I had been using but then it dawned on me that the smell was coming from Lola. Looking more closely, I realised she wasn’t wet from the rain but had been submerged up to her neck in what could only have been petrol. Where she had been to get into that state – I have no idea! As it was getting late in the evening, taking her to the vet was not an option – I had to think quickly. I found on the internet, a service that offered an online veterinary consultation, for a small fee…. I was a bit dubious at first but they were marvelous, staying online with me until I was satisfied that Lola was going to be OK. I had to bath her in warm water with lots of washing-up liquid (to break down and disperse the petrol) – the main worry was if the chemical got into her digestive or respiratory system. For once, she was as good as gold and let me do the necessary – but another of her nine lives was gone….

Lola has fallen in the duck pond on a few occasions, enough for her to have learnt not to chase the ducks or moorhens and thankfully, this also means fish is off the menu….

There have been lots of other minor scrapes and plenty of adventues – undoubtedly, a lot more are still to come….

For all her faults, she can be adorable…. She certainly is not a model cat and her behaviour is far from impeccable but I wouldn’t change her for the World. There will never be another Lola – they broke the mould after they made her….

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