Saturday 4 March 2023




Pansy Blue

Reading ‘My neighbour’s cats’ on ‘Deb’s Despatches’ reminded me of our Burmese cats.

We decided to add a cat to our menagerie of dogs, gerbils and guinea pigs because our then youngest child wanted a rabbit. Gillian, her elder sister, had had a couple of pet rabbits which had come to a sad end, courtesy of Brer Fox, and we didn’t feel inclined to repeat the whole sorry exercise. We persuaded Susannah that a cat would be a lovely alternative and duly went to see a breeder of Burmese cats not far from us.

Lilac Angus, my velcro cat

Why did we choose Burmese? My sister and brother-in-law had a gorgeous, very friendly brown Burmese (called Tip, because he had a white tip to his tail) and they had also given my parents a tortie queen who had been used in a breeding programme to produce a blue Burmese.

The breeders didn’t have any kittens but did offer a petite brown Burmese of about five months old. She was called Coriander Autumn Lady and we never actually decided on a name for her, so she ended up being called Alicat, except for our vet who called her Corrie.

We were entranced by her and brought her home on a Saturday to the bemusement of our Jack Russell terriers. Daisy, the youngest, leapt onto my lap, and Ali never had a problem with the dogs.

We were encouraged to breed from her and being enthusiastic and not very knowledgeable, thought it would be fun and educational for the children. The night she had her first litter she came and gently patted my face with her paw to wake me so that I could be with her while she gave birth to five kittens. We kept two, a chocolate queen we called Sweet Pea, and a brown tom, Herbert.

A basketful of kittens, one blue, one chocolate and two brown

Sweet Pea had an overwhelming maternal urge and allowed Ali’s kittens from her second litter to suckle her, actually removing one teat. When she had her own kittens she was fiercely protective. Biddy was wandering past her one day, minding her own business, when Sweet Pea lashed out at her. Wisely, Biddy beat a hasty retreat.

At the time, we kept the cats indoors with an outside run accessible from the house. We made it clear to the children that they MUST NOT let Alicat out when she was calling. Inevitably, Ali wished to make her own arrangements, slipped out and danced across the lawn with a very fetching tom cat. The resulting kittens were beautiful and we kept one, a lovely black girl with golden eyes. We called her Boadicea and every time we saw the vet we had a discussion about the correct name, which, of course, is Boudicca.

Like Siamese cats, Burmese are very vocal and have piercing, quite melodious voices. Many times, callers on the ‘phone would enquire if we had a baby in the house. They are also very gregarious, requiring and appreciating human company. 

Herbert with Bethan

If humans were in short supply, any dog would do.

Cariadd hosts a collection of cats

Frodo with Pansy, top, and Singleton

Cariadd with Pansy

They enjoyed riding on our shoulders and assumed that any shoulders would suffice, so that anyone visiting us and standing still for a moment was liable to find themselves hosting a furry adornment. That was quite startling for unsuspecting visitors and the solution was to find a seat immediately, as the cats realised they were not going to gain height from a lap.

Running up a human’s back was another source of entertainment, both for the cats and for observers, though not so much for the living, breathing, now screaming climbing frame.

The cats worked in tandem with the dogs to break into the fridge and sample the tasty treats within. Fridge locks were not so readily available so we had to devise a means of barring access. I believe we used gaffer tape. We had already tightened the ball catches on our doors to stop the cats opening the doors to join us upstairs and have midnight playtime across our faces. A further exercise in imagination was to find a way of keeping the tropical fish safe from the marauding paws of inquisitive felines. These days it is possible to buy aquaria with lids, but they weren’t available then, so Barry had to practise his joinery skills to make a lid.  

It was always warm on the aquarium lid and there was always a slight chance of nabbing a fish when the lid was lifted to feed them

Meanwhile, dreams would have to do

Explaining to prospective new owners of our lively kittens just what they might be taking on was interesting. The kittens explored everything and could disappear into the smallest crevices, and apart from the usual climbing wall provided by curtains, they also liked the texture of wallpaper and could clamber from floor to ceiling in remarkably quick time. Summarising what I had said on the ‘phone, one man said, ‘So, we look for a house with the wallpaper hanging off the walls?’ I agreed, and it didn’t put him off.  

Our children’s friends all had their favourites among the cats, but one that was popular with everyone was Singleton. She was a blue Burmese and the only kitten in Sweet Pea’s second litter. In common with many oriental breeds, she was cross-eyed, which added to her appeal.

We didn’t breed many litters but our vets would always recommend us to anyone looking for beautiful, bomb-proof kittens. I don’t regret those days but I have not been tempted to repeat them – well, not often.

Why did we have house cats and not allow them to roam freely? When I was a little girl I had a very pretty tabby and white kitten called Judy (to live alongside our Springer spaniel, Punch.) She was knocked down and killed and it broke my heart and I suppose I’ve never wanted to risk that again.

The second question is, why have pedigree cats when there are so many moggies looking for homes? Moggies are born free spirits and might find it difficult to live as house cats, though undoubtedly some adapt. My children and I agree to disagree on this. Like toddlers and dogs, I like to know where my cats are at all times – when they’re not hiding under a bush or secreted in a cupboard!

Angus chatting


  1. We used to always have rescued german shepherds until Elsie, who didn't like me or women in general. so we like to know a bit about their history etc now x

    1. That is one of the reasons we don't have rescue dogs. With so many little people visiting we have to be sure of the history and temperament of our dogs x

  2. I keep my cats in the house too. Too many people in my neighborhood dislike cats and if left to roam, they could be poisoned or come up missing. My old cat didn't like the rule too well, but she's adjusted. And the kitten was born in side a house and has never been outside, so she's content with staying in.

    I love my pets. I can't imagine a home without them. Though, when I do imagine it, it's probably one that is less messy than mine!

    Your cats are beautiful. Enjoy them.

    1. People can be so cruel and cats ae so delicate.

  3. You make a good argument against having wallpaper. Your cats are all so beautiful. I have never had pedigree cats, just the usual common tabbies and never more than one at a time. Until I moved into my current home I spent 15 years without a cat! I also agree with keeping them inside. My Lola has the back porch as well, but it is completely enclosed and she can't get out.

    1. There are too many dangers in the outside world, the worst probably being mankind.

  4. Oh you just had me relive many many years of my life - ones that were lived with beautiful funny loving family friendly Burmese cats (and others). I had a Brown girl who (if I was out when she began labour) would wait until I was home and then ‘demand’ I sat with her right to the very end. The Golfer still talks about the day the population doubled - 2 cats delivered their litters side by side!

    Next month it will be 5yrs since we said goodbye to our last one….deciding our age ruled out giving any more pets the life they deserved was so hard and I miss that companionship a lot.

  5. Hi Janice - all delightful stories ... our cats have always been outside ones - but fortunate with large gardens - now I don't have one ... cheers Hilary

    1. I love to watch cats stalking in the garden. It takes skill and patience to catch a butterfly :-)

  6. They are wonderful cats. Such wonderful memories for you.
    I like all cats, though I'm a little unsure of the Sphinx cats!

  7. My daughter used to breed Tonks. They were so lovely and two of her four cats are from her first tonk, Indigo (who is, sadly, no longer with us). They are beautiful, cats are, and very clever (usually - she had a Birman who was quite the opposite!)

  8. Tonkinese are gorgeous cats. I bet they are great fun to live with.

  9. That's an awful loy of cats. Does any human breed moggies like me, or do we just happen? Xxx Mr T

  10. Moggies are known as Domestic Shorthairs (even though some of them have long fur) and are a rule unto themselves. I'm sure there will be someone specialising in Moggies and refining their points!

  11. You've certainly had a lot of cat companions. I've always wondered how other people manage to get their cats to get along. Maybe if they are from the same litter it is better? We've only ever had rescues -- or strays. They seemed to arrive predictably whenever we needed one. At one time we had four, of which only two could be trusted together, so there was much juggling of rooms to hold them and scheduling time outside the rooms with the humans. Ours have been all indoor cats since the day one of them returned home with a squirrel tail and I cringed at the thought of that squirrel having to live without a tail for balance -- or worse.

  12. It's luck! Our current two are litter brothers and they don't really like each other very much.. They respond very well to 'No squabbling' and they both adore the dogs.


Thank you for visiting. I love to read your comments and really appreciate you taking the time to respond to posts.

I will always try to repay your visit whenever possible.