How Lizzy came home

How Lizzy came home

Lizzy would not have come home if Tiddles had not left. Tiddles was our family’s pet cat, greatly loved by my brother and me. We doted on him, but our parents were not equally enamoured. They tolerated Tiddles for our sake and because his aristocratic appearance aroused admiration.

Tiddles was gorgeous. He had the distinctive cream colouring of his Siamese breed, and his blue eyes shone in his chocolate-brown face. He had an annoying habit, however, of keeping them shut when we were pointing out that striking feature to visitors. Tiddles was with us for three years, and then he departed.

It would be more accurate to say that he disappeared. He had done so before but had never been absent long. Hungry and tired, he would return to a good meal, warm bed and rapturous reception. When Tiddles finally vanished, my brother and I found it hard to cope with our loss. Our parents were worried that our academic performance (unremarkable at the best of times!) would suffer as a result of depression.

Determined to replace Tiddles with another cat of distinguished demeanour, they were relieved to hear about someone who could provide a substitute. Crystal Rogers was the founder of ‘The Animals’ Friend’ that rescued ill-used creatures. They were cared for at a shelter, and the organisation was always in search of homes for them. In response to a phone call, Crystal Rogers arrived at our house.

In accordance with our parents’ request, Crystal Rogers brought along a male Siamese cat. She explained that he had been abandoned by his owners because he was in poor health. “Nothing serious,” she assured us hastily, while we regarded the hapless animal with dismay. Evidently unwell, he sat inert in our living room, as if fastened to the floor.

If sickly Charles (as we later called the cat) came as a shock, we were in for another! In the manner of a magician, Crystal Rogers produced a kitten from out of a bag. “I brought her along for company,” she said, “but she can’t stand another car journey today. Keep her here tonight. I’ll be back for her tomorrow.” So saying, the elderly Englishwoman drove away.

“The kitten must go,” announced my father, but my eleven-year-old brother had other ideas. He placed the tiny black bundle of fur on the palm of his hand, where it settled snugly, and addressed it soothingly. Next, he locked himself in his room with the kitten. No amount of coaxing would get him out. He refused to emerge until our parents promised that we could keep both the kitten and the cat.

“What if Crystal Rogers should come back?” enquired my mother. Crystal Rogers never did. And that is how Lizzy, who lived to be 15, came home!