Jinx: the most appropriately named cat of all.

Once upon a time, in our first flush of co-habitation, we decided we were ready for a pet. From the offset, it was decided that a cat was definitely the pet for us – independent, affectionate, playful; we’d already written the script. She would be obedient, but playful, energetic and most of all loyal. We would love her so much that she would always be loyal.

Obviously that was before we brought her home.

In the pet rescue centre she paraded about coyly, allowed us to pet her and showcased her best delicate ‘miaows’ whilst doing a couple of cheeky rolls on the floor. We were smitten, Jinx was going to be one of the team and we promised to always look after her.

A week later, excited and eager we sat waiting, as the man from the centre turned up after a 40 minute drive, shook his head and left with a swift ‘good luck!’ We smelt a rat.

“Miaow, miaow, miaow…”
“Was she that loud before?”
“Miaow, miaow, miaow…”
“Sorry, what??”
“Miaow, miaow, miaow…”
“I SAID WAS SHE THAT LOUD BEFORE?”
“Miaow, miaow, miaow…”
“Twice a day I think.”

But that was just the start. We’d been warned that rescue cats could be touchy, shy or a tad standoffish to begin with. We knew she had been badly treated from the word go, kept in a one bedroom flat, in the kitchen, with an aggressive bull mastiff. Horrid. Jinx operated on a very specific level. She was quite happy to be petted; as long as it was on the top of her head, between her ears and along her spine – and as long as you stopped 3cm before her tail. Feeding; she’d eat anything. As long as it appeared in her dish between the hours of 6:30 and 6:45am, if not, oh boy. Jinx was the best preparation we could ever have had for a persistent crying newborn. People would raise their eyebrows in surprise the first time they heard her “is that your cat?”

I wasn’t particularly struck on the name Jinx but it seemed unfair to change it. One particular conversation with my hard-of-hearing grandma has stuck in my mind ever since:

“We’ve got a new cat grandma.”
“Have you? Lovely! What is it called?”
“Jinx. It’s a girl.”
“Keith? That’s a strange name for a girl cat.”
“She’s not called Keith grandma, she’s called Jinx.”
Keith?
Jinx
“Well, how are you spelling Keith?”
“J…I…N…X” long pause
“Well, I’ve never seen Keith spelt like that before.”

We tried everything to soften her, nothing worked, my husband has looked like a wild animal handler with scratches up to his shoulders after ‘playing’ with her. She has systematically and consistently scratched the corner of every carpet we have ever owned with a green eyed gleeful expression that showed she a) knew exactly what she was doing and b) she didn’t care.

And that’s before we talk about the vomit. I’ve never had a cat before, but even I couldn’t be persuaded to think that the frequency and velocity of cat vomit could be construed as normal. It was, according to the vet. “She’s perfectly well, she’s happy (as long as you follow the rules) perhaps she’s just eating too quickly, often rescue cats who’ve not been fed consistently tend to overeat for fear of when the next meal will come.” Didn’t explain why she enjoyed doing it from the top of the bookcase though. Or in people’s shoes.

With such a feisty characterful cat on board, understandably we were cautious when we brought home our first born. Would she attack him? Growl? Hiss? No worries there. Even the most hardened, ginger, ball of anger had her heart thawed by the three blue eyed snuffling bundles we brought home. Not that she ever let any of them take advantage, each child has endured the rites of passage – first time they grabbed her tail. The unexpected ‘claws in’ bat around the head was a bitter pill to swallow for each of them. It also meant that at a year old, if you asked any of my children what noise a cat made, they’d reply with “tsssss”.

After 8 years of strop and noise, much carpet destruction and an unfortunate amount of vomit, I could’ve been led to think she’d be with us forever. Impossible to imagine a day when she wouldn’t be in the window or on the drive to greet us. Even when she had to stay with my father in law for months while we moved between houses (months, because banks and solicitors are RUBBISH) the security for our unsettled children of seeing the noisy, naughty ginger cat wrecking grandad’s carpets, was for them, really welcome. It’s a good job my father in law likes cats, and a challenge, and doesn’t mind being scratched.

But today that seems like a long, long time ago.

Jinx has been missing 4 days and the questions are coming thick and fast from the children. Where is she? Why isn’t she here to see us home? Doesn’t she like us anymore? And the worst thing is, we haven’t a clue.

Vets, neighbours, the local shops and countless dog walkers have all noted her absence. Where is the pretty cat? Who looks so cute and friendly… Until you touch her that is. It’s only now we can see how, though difficult to love (and I’ll be honest, even like some days!) Jinx is part of our crew and with all her idiosyncrasies – the perfect pet for this band of hooligans.

Come home Keith, we miss you. And besides, the new carpet is coming in a few weeks.

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