Honey & Bella

Well, I had promised that my next post would be full of details of all the stitchery that I have been up to in my blog absence...but after so much useful input on the cat quandary that I mentioned that I was in during my last post, it seemed entirely wrong to not let you know that you are partially responsible for the new feline presence in our house and the delight of two small children who wake from sleep an hour earlier than usual and race straight down to the playroom to greet their already beloved cats. After trawling rescue centres for just the right ones, I eventually found these two beauties who are two and nearly three. After visiting them with my mother, I then needed to have our home inspected to see whether we would be suitable adopters...and how very nervous I was. I was cast back to the feelings that my friend and I had while pregnant when the Health Visitor was due to come for our home visits. Perhaps bizarrely, in retrospect, we both felt compelled to clean the inside of our ovens in case this was the type of thing that they would wish to inspect (for the pregnant amongst you, if home visits are still in existence, I think they're actually coming to check that you're not feeling too overwhelmed by everything and so that you have a friendly point of contact once your baby is actually here...it is now inconceivable to me that one would ever dream of requesting to look inside your oven). Anyway, seven years later, nervously awaiting my home visit to adopt a cat, my pregnancy friend of old, knowing exactly what fears might be running through my head, emailed me with an order to stop cleaning and to try and relax.

Home visit form signed (and yes, I did clean my oven, more as nerve-calming therapy than anything else), permission granted to be a few minutes late to school the next morning, I felt that I could now tell Zebra-girl and Dinosaur boy that we would be having some cats. What followed was utter excitement, an evening trip to the pet shop so that the children could buy gifts of toys and fishy treats, then the next day, a surreal headlamp-lit drive into the countryside in the darkness of the early morning so that the children could meet the cats before school, a race to get them back in time for 8.45am, and then another drive for Ian and I to fill in all the paperwork and finally bring our cats home. The beautiful little tabby was originally called Honey and actually once we got to know her personality it seemed to suit her so well that we kept it: she is nervous, gentle and has a sweet inquisitiveness that prevents her from spending her entire time hiding behind the sofa. Bella (originally Sheba) has been named after the elder sister in the Shirley Hughes book, Dogger - a big girl's name that, to me, tells of natural confidence. Our own Bella has such a vast coat of hair that she looks extraordinarily large, and wanders around demanding friendship and attention without a hint of timidity.

And me, I have been feeling a little wobbly. I am naturally tidy and have always been a little obsessive about things not getting ruined or spoilt in any way, which is why I had veered away from getting cats until now. But as Zebra-girl's longing for pets increased, so too did my unease at the idea of having to tell her when questioned in years to come that the reason she never had a pet was because I didn't want cat hairs everywhere, for the sofa to be plucked at, or for my fabric cupboard to be used as a bed. I knew that wasn't the kind of mummy that I wanted to be, even if that is very much what exists on the inside. And so we now have these two lovely cats who are bringing so much happiness to us and who desperately needed a home (having been in a pen at the rescue centre since August). But I do find that I am having to battle with the bit of myself that occasionally begins hyperventilating when I find that they have mistaken one of Zebra-girl's most beautiful hairbands as a cat toy. However, special cat-proof catches have been bought for my fabric cupboard, an amazing hairbrush which Joanne told me about has arrived (it promises to reduce shedding by 90% - Ian is on duty with it daily as I can be prone to being allergic to most things other than air and cold water) and a packet of herbal teas called 'Calm' which are meant to reduce anxiety are being drunk. I think it will all be fine.

I shall leave you with a picture of this little stack of jumpers that I have purchased. I ordered one, and found that it was such a perfect fit and so warm and cosy that when I saw that they were in the Boden sale for less than £20 (and they are a yummy cashmere blend, so that really does seem uncommonly reasonable), well I found myself popping one of each of my favourite colours into my basket (and oh dear, there's one more too, and that one is stripy, but I was wearing that when I took the photograph). And just in case you are thinking that, gosh, the black jumper looks so very useful, are you sure you shouldn't have bought two just in case?...well, fear not, I had that thought too and so took the wise precaution of doing just that. I was a little embarrassed to send a thank you letter to my parents-in-law explaining that I had spent all my Christmas money on one thing in several colourways, but I knew that my mother-in-law would probably understand, as she can be partial to a little bit of Boden herself.

Now my next post really will be full of crafty goodness, I promise. x


  1. relax! Cat hair is evil, it does stick to everything and they will use your fabric as a bed, but cats are lovely, they do not smell, they poo discreetly, and cover it over, and the joy on those childrens' faces is worth a lifetime of wearing a cat hair covered jumper, isn't it?

  2. we have 2 rescue cats too and yes cat hair gets everywhere, but they are so friendly and affectionate - we wouldn't part with them.

    We got the pet hair Dyson to help with two ginger cats shedding and it's brill

    April xx

  3. Oh they are beautiful Florence! Honey and Bella, what perfect names. I'm having lovely memories of Tabitha and Beany right now following us to school :) what a lovely mum you are to do this for your children despite your misgivings. And if you find your allergies being problematic you can get these great wipes that reduce the allergens, mum used them on kit when we were home and they actually seemed to work. I'll ask her what they're called.
    charlotte xx

  4. Congratulations- you will not be dissapointed. They are so beautiful!!I looked at my daughter this morning tucked up in bed reading with two cats snuggled up beside her, one in a ball and the other on it's back just laying there patiently for a tummy rub. I mentioned how blessed we were to have them in our lives. You will adjust to their quirks. We have one that eats the kids plastic lizards and one that eats elastic bands and rubber gloves and one that eats yarn...you just learn to keep these things out of the way. I do advise a scratching post and show them how to use it. I find the ones here that are like corregated card board are great and also the ones made of string. Don't be affraid to scare them if they are scratching at anything or are on a counter or fabric pile where they shouldn't be. They learn very quickly.

    I think you are a wonderful Mum going out of your comfort zone for the little tea cakes. You'll be making catnip toys and cat beds in no time! Just think of all the new things to sew!

    Oh, and don't forget to make salt dough paw prints!

  5. loved the health visitor story - we were just the same both with the pet visits and the HV visit (and our HV did say she used the check the cleanliness of the kitchen, but only to decide whether to accept a cup of tea!).
    our rescue cats were so hungry when we got them they ate anything in sight - bread, lemon drizzle cake...... but we do love them - not so keen on the muddy paw prints on my clean sheets though....

  6. Such beautiful cats, they look completely chilled and at home already. We had two cat sisters as kittens for our girls (sadly Ruby got run over recently) so soon we will try and find another cat who needs a home. Molly is still here and she is our six year olds best friend. She wanders with her upside down under her arm as happy as anything. The memories she will have of this childhood I know are really good ones. So well done you for giving in to extra mess and more fun.

  7. Honey is so cute I want to eat her, or at the very least smuggle her into my handbag and bring her home. Although on second thoughts I already have enough cats...I find it hilarious that you are worried about hair and have ended up with Bella, who looks so wonderfully fluffy.

    Don't forget to purchase a lint roller and keep it by the door for de-fluffing when you go out :) I always forget and Mr J is always tutting at me by the time we get to the bus stop, but I'm sure you won't have that problem.

    Oh and hairbands are a popular cat toy of choice, as I and many cat owners I sit for will agree. I buy them especially and keep my own in a tin with a lid...

  8. Hi Florence,
    What beautiful cats... so pleased you decided to adopt some. I am sure they will bring you all immense pleasure and that you will find that the more you get to know them, the more you will love them and find that you relax about their cat hairs and playing with hairbands etc!?
    I had a weird relationship with my health visitor... we clashed big time.. she had a way of making me feel inadequate.. i once stuck up for myself to her and she cried! She was a little kinder to me after that!
    Nice to hear your news.. look forward to your crafty goodness.
    with love xx

  9. When I brought home our kittens I used a spray container of water to train them. Whenever one of them did something like try to use the couch as a scratching post she'd get a quick burst of water. The trick is that as soon as you've done it you have to look away so she doesn't associate the water with you. For a few weeks we had spray bottles in strategic points around the house.
    It takes such a short period of time before they got the hang of what is and isn't allowed, and now we have two perfectly behaved cats who are a dream to live with.

  10. Ooooh, My goodness, Bella is quite stunning, and Honey is just sooooo CUTE!!! You lucky devil! We have too many cats round my way and I am afraid, as we live on a road, that one might get run over. So I shall admire yours from a distance, you must make sure, like Joleo, that you post regularly about them.

  11. Such sweet little kitty cats! And what a lovely home they have now! I bet they love having a clean oven!!

  12. Oh well done Florence. You took the plunge. It is hard isn't it when you have had cats before and know what it entails? I think it is the break from all things cat that makes it seem worse than it is. Like the sound of the brush and must investigate, though thankfully ours aren't bad at all for shedding. Lovely names too and I love Dogger! xx

  13. Awwwww - I am very very jealous - your cats are gorgeous! I am working on the husband to persuade him that we need one too. The children must be over the moon! I recommend a hazelnut as a cat toy - they play football with them on hard floors. x

  14. Beautfiul cats, funny enough we are going through the same process now, looking for one, I'm waiting for the RSPCA to phone back! I'm can imagine your children are so happy! Claire xx

  15. The most adorable and photogenic cats, perfect names too. We always have a sticky roller in our cloak room for all the stray hairs that manage to stray on our clothes.

  16. I'm sure you'll soon love your new kitty cats to pieces. They're affectionate and basically clean and the cat hair does clean up. I think children get so much out of having a pet to care for.

    They both look absolutely gorgeous and I suspect that with the children out at school you'll get to enjoy their comings, goings and other antics. Maybe not the 'presents'of love (!) they bring from time to time but I'm sure you'll cope.

  17. Must make sure Olivia doesn't see this, she is keen to get a cat but they scare the life out of me - crazy I know but even I have to admit that Honey and Bella are beautiful :)

  18. Ok, I live in the U.S.; What the heck is a Health Visitor? Does every pregnant woman receive one? If you have more than one child, do you get visitors for additional children? What happens if you 'fail' the visit?

  19. I can recommend 2 item that will help you with cat hair build up…..a plastic tack brush that can be bought from an equine shop for a few pounds which will remove hair from carpets and furniture very easily and quickly – and very satisfyingly and Sticky Mits from Lakeland (Plastics) which are perfect to pick up on your way out to tackle any persistent hairs attached to your clothes.

    You might also consider a Zoom Groom which your children could use on the cats as it is very easy to use and fun.


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