Four Beacons of Hope


It’s a miserable day today, bitterly cold with light rainfall augmenting the gloom rather than assuaging it. Despite all this it’s been a day of celebration in the Brown household. This week Mrs B and I decided to extend our already large feline family from three to four members. Having become the RSPCA website’s most regular visitor (providing a staggering 600 hits a day), Mrs B had found us the ideal candidate by the name of Charlie. His profile revealed problems with his sight and the need for him to remain indoors. Like our previous acquisition, Buggles, we were concerned Charlie wouldn’t be one of the favoured options, the variety of cute and 100% healthy kittens being far more appealing. We emailed the RSPCA to express an interest in Charlie and hoped by the end of today that he would be ours. Alas, it was not to be.

Yesterday we discovered that Charlie had been reserved. It was something of a bittersweet hammer blow; on the one hand contentment that Charlie was going to a good home but on the other disappointment that that home wouldn’t be ours. Despite this unfortunate turn of events, Mrs B and I still made a trip to the RSPCA to see what other kittens they had. Our requirements whenever we’re adopting animals is simply, “Give us whatever you have.” We only specified a kitten to be close to Buggles’ age. As usual, the RSPCA staff were extremely helpful and our decision to bring a new kitten to the Brown household was made all the more easier by a familiar face. Sue, who had previously looked after Buggles, was on hand to nominate the most appropriate kittens that were up to the challenge of joining our other three boys and being a loyal companion to Buggles who is often slightly overbearing for the other two. There were a couple of candidates but in the end we chose an Abyssinian named John who is eight weeks old and feisty. I can already feel the healing scratches on my hands and arms, inflicted by Buggles’ enthusiasm, beginning to reopen in anticipation, or should that be dread!

Aside from Buggles (who with his pirate-like one eye look was simply too lovely to refuse), none of our cats were our first choices. We initially didn’t favour Razz and Kain from what we read on the RSCPA website (this was the early days of Mrs B’s addiction!), but the day we met them both of us knew they were perfect. They had been at the RSPCA for months so it felt better rehoming the two of them rather than two kittens from a fresh litter. I suppose what I want to say to animal lovers is consider being flexible when it comes to adopting, maybe think of rescued animals first. Yes, everyone loves kittens and puppies but that phase is just one chapter in the long lives of our pets. I’m finding out from recent experience that kittens are ten times more work than bringing adult cats into your home. I’m sure the saddest thing for RSPCA staff isn’t what their residents have been through but having to watch so many remain without a good home for months, even years. Only today I saw a poster about a cat that had been with the RSPCA for many months and had finally found a good home. This cat had just three legs. Coincidence?

I will never profess to be an expert on animals but I do know about the sense of satisfaction both I and Mrs B feel adopting rescued animals. Razz and Kain had two homes prior to winning our hearts. Buggles was found in the streets with a wounded eye that, sadly, couldn’t be saved, yet today he’s the self-declared boss of this household, even ahead of me! Knowing what they have all been through makes them that little bit more special in my eyes.

The final point to this story is that we decided to change the name of our latest member. I know it sounds cruel but at eight weeks old he’s still learning and through family and friends I know at least half a dozen Johns already, they’re everywhere! Having missed out on our original choice at the RSPCA I decided Charlie would be an appropriate name, well, at least that’s what story I gave to Mrs B. Truth be told, I couldn’t resist having a cat called Charlie Brown.

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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