I hated it – when they let Joey fly around the room. I didn’t mind him in his cage – forgot he was there most of the time. Mum used to throw a tea towel over him when he got too noisy, but as soon as that little door was flicked open my heart started pounding. He would sit on the edge and then launch into the room, flitting and flapping, his wings seeming to take up far more space than their size.
Dad would put him on his finger and Joey would be very calm, sitting and looking around. And then Dad would hold him out to me – and that was where the problem started. I so wanted to take him on my hand and stroke his tiny blue head like Dad did, but as soon as he came near me he would flap his wings and fly up, bashing against the light fittings and the curtains, and I would scramble into the cushions or run to get out, with Mum shouting “Don’t open that door!”
I’ve hated birds near me ever since, no matter how beautiful they are.
I don’t know what made me wake up so suddenly but I eventually became aware of some movement and sounds coming from the end of my bed. I was only five so the end of the bed was always clear.
Although it was still dark, I looked down and could just make out shapes moving. I leant down, feeling along the blanket, eventually finding our family cat, but she had several funny little kittens milling around her. She had given birth during the night and had produced 8 beautiful small bundles of fluff.
One came crawling towards me and I decided this would be mine! It had a white smudge on it’s nose so I called it ‘Smudge’!
This would be MY first real pet.
Harry the hamster was cute and cuddly and his tiny feet tickled my hands. He was happiest curled up in a furry ball under the straw at the bottom of his cage. The problem was, that this was where he spent almost all his life. He didn’t DO much. He was asleep when I woke up, still asleep when I went to school and asleep when I came home. He woke up about the time I went to bed and started running on his hamster wheel, which drove everyone mad with its squeaking. Then Mum had a good idea as usual and bought Harry a clear plastic hamster ball so he could run all over the laminate floor in crazy patterns, and when he got stuck somewhere we just hoofed him out in another direction. I don’t think a hamster is a great pet but it was a start.
My first pet was a cat called Black Magic and she was certainly that in all senses of the word. I bore some of the scars as witness for a long time.
My worst encounter was at the vets near our rented holiday cottage. My Mother and I had rented a cottage in Perthshire for a month and my working Father and brother came up for weekends. One time they brought the cat with them because she was ill and they didn’t feel they could leave her with the cat sitter.
It fell to me and my boyfriend to take her to the local vet. He gave her some pills. Have you ever tried to get a cat to do something she doesn’t want to do? Hence the scars.
It was so long ago, I can’t remember when, and I’m sure I didn’t know quite what was going on.
The only thing I’m certain of though, I told him to stop it.