When we first moved to Redhall we brought with us Timmy, an English Collie dog and Rocky, a little black and white Kirrie feral cat.

Although Tim had been accustomed to cats we wondered how he would take to a newcomer when we first took him in. He adopted Rocky (so named because he had a swift left paw) and washed him so often, especially his left ear that the black ear turned brown. They were great pals.

Within a week we had another cat brought to us by one of our new neighbours whose sister had rescued a young kitten found alongside his dead mother's carcase. Mother had been run over by a car. He was a very young ginger cat who nominated Rocky a substitute mother. After about a week of upheavals Rocky relented and even let Scaelestie (John was studying Latin at school at that time) suckle although poor Rocky always looked resigned but surprised and somewhat shocked about what was going on. Scaely's blue eyes matured through green to amber and he was a very lively fellow up to most mischief although Tim tried to keep him in order ‐ barked and jumped at him when he went on to the dining table which Tim knew was forbidden ‐ causing more havoc than the cat did.

My brother referred to Tim as P.C. Plod because he always did his best to ensure good behaviour in the house.

After less than a year Scaelestie disappeared ‐ more of this in 'The Cat Killers'!!!

We bought two Abyssinian sisters. They were amazing cats ‐ beautiful, intelligent and with more energy than any other cats we'd ever encountered. Their pedigree names were Thedallco Moondance and T. Musetta but became Dancer and Moosie.

Dancer was very protective of her sibling, very much the big sister who took good care of Musetta. They bonded well with Timmy and Rocky. They were keen hunters and cleared our area of rabbits, see 'Hunters'.

Whenever we were cooking roast chicken for dinner another cat would turn up on the doorstep. A tabby we named Tabitha - she didn't get roast chicken but we gave her a meal and she gave us 'The Pirates'.

We had many other cats over the years. While we were trying to find a suitable mate for the Abbies, Moosie took things into her own hands, so to speak. When she looked about to give birth she disappeared one morning and I worried about her going off to have her kittens in the wood. That is where she came to me after an hour's searching and calling. I was carrying her back to the house but had to put her down in order to climb over a gate which had been placed across the path. By the time I got over - and I was much fitter in those days - she'd caught and killed a rabbit so I had to carry it home too. That night she produced four kittens within our sofa. She was given a suitable alternative bed but still carried them back to our poor disembowelled sofa a few times before settling for what we provided. They were beautiful kitties and got good homes in pairs. Two came for holidays with us occasionally while their owners were away. Although we were unaware of any entire male in the area our ladies managed to find one. Moosie had another two kittens later, Romulus and Remus. They were with us for some years until 'something' happened to them.

Meantime a school friend of John's was given a kitten which his parents didn't allow him to keep so Lucretia (Lucky) came to live with us. She was part Persian, part Angora - a lovely black, long-haired cat. She too had a litter before she went down to the Vet for spaying. Unfortunately the mate she found passed on Feline Leukemia Virus although we didn't know this at the time. All our kittens had been to the Vet for the usual vaccinations but there was no protection against FLV at that time so they and we suffered from their early deaths. The Vet suggested we should have them all tested for the virus and have those affected put down but we opted for giving them the best quality of life while they enjoyed it and having them killed if they were badly affected or in pain.

All of our cats have been memorable but some are more memorable than others by virtue of their spirit or fortitude. Some of their stories can be accessed from the list below.

Many years later we now have two cats. Molly, (Grand-daughter of Lucky) aged 20+ years and Emily, 16+ who we inherited from a friend who recently died. They are both old cats who don't go far from home so are relatively safe and very well loved as have been all our cats.