Ringo and Ella were delighted that their humans and dog housemate would be spending the winter months over Christmas and New Year abroad and were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their carers. After all, they were the bosses in this cosy home in downtown leafy Lytham in the north-west of England and intended using their charm on the new pet-sitters to ensure they were loved, cuddled, cherished and fed, or in Ringo’s case, constantly fed if he begged lovingly enough.
Both are British Shorthair cats. Ringo is black with a little white on his legs, paws and nose and is the older at 19 years of age. Ella at 15 years of age is white with black, a beautiful black nose and a gorgeous black beauty spot on her right cheek near her nose. Their matching beds in the lounge room are on opposite sides of the room, Ringo’s beside the fireplace and Ella’s as close to the central heating as possible. A blanket on the bed in the second bedroom is where Ringo sometimes sleep, especially when a human is upstairs but most times he is found sleeping at the top of the stairs, outside the master bedroom. He is never bothered by the fact that humans have to step over him, day and night; he is contended and not inclined to move.
Imagine how they felt recently when their humans introduced them to Piper, a Chihuahua pup who would be sharing their home with them. Seriously!! He greeted Ringo and Ella with his huge wide eyes and bubbly personality and thought he would entertain them with his quirky manner and friendliness, but they were not amused. A designer boutique bedroom underneath the stairs became a necessity for Piper to end the competition for the night-time food.
Life for Ella is uncomplicated – sleep, eat, stretch and spend a little time outside on the odd occasion when the sun is shining. Being rather shy and timid, she needed time to get to know her carers before daring to sit beside one of them on the sofa for a short time. When she was brave enough, she would rest her head gently on their thigh, but her body would remain in safe territory on the sofa.
Ringo had a long stride and slowly strutted around the house and neighbourhood with confidence. He liked to stay out all night and on New Year’s Eve celebrated the news that his namesake had been Knighted and returned home at breakfast absolutely famished. A cuddle from his carers was perfectly acceptable, but only when Ella was not in sight.
Though they had lived in the same home for several years, their relationship was one of tolerance and they kept their distance from each other. Ella was a fussy, slow eater, like one of her carers, and often had to be coaxed to eat something. Ringo was the exact opposite and would sit patiently on the floor beside his bowl and beg for more. He was persistent and time did not bother him; he would just keep trying.
Both cats knew they were not allowed on the sofa so their carers could only imagine the right royal chastising Ella was giving Ringo when they discovered this scene in the lounge room –
The strained relationship was explained to the carers by their humans as resulting from Ringo being discovered en flagrante delecto in the kitchen and his subsequent visit to the vet for life-changing surgery. Though they have distinctively different personalities, both Ringo and Ella are gentle and loving. Ella was too shy to eat at the same time as Ringo and would quietly wait for her turn at her bowl. Ringo had to be prised from the food area when he had finished his bowl otherwise he would also devour Ella’s meal. On a couple of occasions they were spotted sitting quietly in Piper’s bedroom. Perhaps they were missing him around the home.
Both are so adorable that their carers were pleased they were asleep on their beds as they quietly closed the back door of the warm, cosy home and left with heavy hearts on the last day of their pet-sit.
A huge thank you is extended to the homeowners for their hospitality and kindness, in particular the unexpected Christmas gifts which will remind us of the six happy weeks we spent in their home in a chilly, wintry Lytham.
Footnote – It was at the beginning of August, 2018, when we heard that Ringo had passed away as a result of old age. He was 19 years old. He lived his life to the very last, doing what he loved the most – strolling the neighbourhood streets on a Saturday night. Kind neighbours who saw him when his life ended, carefully picked him up and drove him to the local vet. Their gentle kindness will always be appreciated by Ringo’s humans.