We have a cat, Audrey. She mostly behaves in a cat-like way but can morph into a dog and sometimes an owl. Audrey is a blue Abyssinian, her predecessor was a female Cinnamon Abyssinian called Ralph. I tell you this detail, only so when describing how we managed to acquire Audrey, you understand.
I’m still not sure how we found George and Julie……maybe the N.S.W. Cat Fanciers Association….but they are Abyssinian cat breeders. So a breed themselves.
When I phoned, Yes, said George, they had a cat who was about to have a litter, but we would have to come to their upper north shore home to be interviewed, nothing was guaranteed. The first meeting did not go well. The house was completely given over to cats carpet runs up and down walls, shoots here and there, which meant a lot of ducking and weaving. ‘I would like a Cinnamon kitten like my previous cat’, I told George, ‘Oh dear no that won’t work’ said George ‘you’d be putting too much pressure on the cat’. ‘Are you serious’ I said – the look told me – indeed, George was very serious. ‘What did you call the other cat ?’ ‘Ralph’, I said, ‘so you would like a male kitten’…..’well um no, Ralph was actually a female cat’.
The incredulity that passed over George’s face…… at this point I am pretty sure George had decided we were not to have any of his kittens. We would need to come for a second meeting and spend time with the cats to see how they responded to us. The second meeting we maintained a (somewhat forced) engagement with the cats, closely observed by George. Eventually, George said, ‘you can have a blue female kitten, the one we decide is the reject of the litter’.
The day finally came when we could pick the kitten up, we arrived with everything we were told to bring, cat box, blanket. George handed over a wad of papers, birth certificate with her name, Nile Dorabella….rolls right off the tongue…father Nile Phantom Of Hope mother Nile Miss Moneypenny. A ribbon, third in show, so there we had it, she definitely did not meet George’s exacting standards.……we inched closer to the door with the kitten, safely on the other side of the screen door with the car in sight, George asked so what are you going to call this one, ‘Audrey’ I said….’Audrey! What sort of name is that for a cat he bellowed……’
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