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From the News Desk

Well, another issue is upon us, as is the month of April. By the time you read these words, the long-awaited Animal Welfare Act will have become law – it actually came into effect on April 6th. Over the years it’s always been part of the background detail, something being speculated about, consulted on, discussed… and now, at last, it’s here.

Whether it will affect us all as cat enthusiasts remains to be seen, but rest assured, OUR CATS will be keeping a keen eye on developments and we will, as always, be pleased to receive information of any ‘issues’ arising from the Act and its implementation and, if appropriate, bring these to the wider attention of the readership.

I can’t say that March has been a bundle of laughs to be honest. Quite apart from all the day-to-day hassles and battling newspaper deadlines, I was faced with that most awful of events which have all faced before and no doubt will face again many times – the loss of a very special cat.

In this case, it was my Devon Rex, Stolli, whose obituary appears below on this page. Of course, it goes without saying that I miss Stolli so much, even her naughty little traits, but I can also smile at fond memories of a wonderful cat whose life I shared. That is a great privilege that we all have with our wonderful cats.

Now I have a confession to make…I’m a late developer. Say what? Well, over the years, I’ve studiously avoided watching the US sitcom ‘Friends’, but just recently, thanks to my partner Sheena’s son Jay being a huge Friends fan, I’ve caught a few episodes on TV and, well… I got hooked and realised what I’d been missing out on all those years!

My daughter Rebecca received seven of the ten series on DVD for her birthday and we’ve started watching them from the beginning. Well, Johnny-come-lately that I am, I have to confess I love the series and can’t get enough of it! I won’t be happy until I’ve watched all 240 episodes!

And the thing that brought a smile back to my face and made me laugh again after the loss of Stolli? I think all ‘Friends’ fans will know what’s coming here… It’s one of Phoebe’s immortal, tuneless songs about a Smelly Cat! And if you’ve ever seen the ‘Smelly Cat Video’, you’ll be laughing now as well. A lot.

Altogether now…

Smelly Cat, Smelly cat what are they feeding you?

Smelly Cat, smelly cat it’s not your fault...

It’s a classic!

Nick Mays - News & Features Editor


Obituary:

STOLLI – A VERY SPECIAL CHARACTER CAT

I’m sad to announce the death on Wednesday, 14th March 2007 of my beloved Devon Si-Rex cat “Stolli” - full name Jaredite Beautiful Beulah. She was variously known as auntie Stolli, Stollinger, Gremlin, Git-Bit or Alien - and she’d answer to all of them.

Stolli was one of those very special ‘character cats’ that come along only rarely and then occupy a very special niche in our hearts - and indeed our lives.

I’d always liked Devon Rexes, with their cute ‘pixie’ appearance, bat ears and tightly curled coats. Well, Stolli wasn’t so much a pixie as a small gargoyle - she was never going to be a show cat, but that didn’t matter.

She had a beauty and charm all of her own. But for most of the year she was more like a Sphynx than a Rex, almost totally bald on her body and top of her head, save for a fine fuzz of down, with a crest of curly fur along her back and on her legs.

Indeed, the furriest part of her was her tail! In the winter she’d grow a bit more fur and look more ‘normal’ (whatever that means), but she’d always cope with her lack of fur and find ways to keep warm; there was always a handy pile of Persians on the couch, or a pile of clothes in the washing basket.

More often than not, though, she’d be found on the top of the gas fire in the living room, pretending to be an ornament or curled up next to the cooker in the kitchen when dinner was being cooked - always a chance of titbits, of course!

Talking of titbits, Stolli was a consummate food-thief and would size any opportunity to steal food, whether it was leftovers or still being consumed by humans or dogs! She blithely ignored any indignant barking from Emma the Golden Retriever when she sidled between her legs and stuck her head into Emma’s food bowl... and if she was shut in the hall whilst we were eating dinner, she’d tell us in her very shrill voice that This Was An Affront On Her Personal Liberty And Feline Rights!

 


Jaredite Beautiful Beulah - Stolli
11th August 1998 to 14th March 2007


But there was a certain charm about her food foibles and she more than made up for any naughtiness by being very tactile and loving to most human beings. She was very much my cat and would curl up on my lap or sit next to me on the couch. Even better, she’d clamber up onto my shoulder, rub her face on mine and smother me with Rex kisses. What with her fuzzy skin, it was like being snogged by a warm peach!

When Stolli was a kitten she formed a very close friendship with my daughter Melanie, then aged three, who used to carry her around the house, calling her ‘Baby Jesus’. Stolli didn’t object to being deified or carried around and the two were often to be found curled up on the couch together.

Stolli got on well with almost every other cat she’d ever known, although she did bite off more than she could chew when she decided to bully a foster Siamese named Lotus who fought back and chased Stolli around the house three times before letting the matter rest. An uneasy truce was reached, whereby Stolli set up her base of operations in the downstairs bathroom and Lotus camped out on the couch.

After three years, however, they ceased hostilities and went onto occupying plum position on any handy piece of furniture and studiously trying to ignore the antics of the younger cats and kittens, like a pair of tutting grandmothers.

Sadly Lotus died of heart failure late last year and Stolli missed her new-found friend greatly. Stolli herself continued in rude health until just a few weeks ago, when she began to lose weight and become rather frail. It turned out that she had a cancerous tumour on her lower jaw, which proved to be inoperable. I therefore had to take that hardest decision of all and have her put to sleep. I held her warm, fuzzy little body at the end as she slipped away.

She is now buried in the back garden, next to Lotus and her other departed feline friends. Of course they are reunited at the Bridge now, where there’s food a-plenty to snaffle off infinite dinner tables and there’ll always be a nice handy warm gas fire to perch on.
Goodbye Stolli; safe journey and rest in peace, my little peach.

Nick Mays