Billy came to us from Battersea Dogs’ Home, just one week after his good friend Boris. I think he knew, from day one, that he would never make it through to cathood, so determined to squeeze every second out of his six month’s worth of life.
He did every thing with 120% more intensity than any other kitten. His purr was louder – much louder; he ate twice as much food, twice as fast and twice as noisily as Boris; he played harder, explored more recklessly, slept more deeply and generally lived life more extremely than any other kitten I have ever met. And he was utterly delightful. Cat haters – such as Miles in this picture – were captivated.
As soon as he was allowed out, he raced up trees, chased squirrels, tormented Boris, and roared round and round the garden in circles. Soon he was exploring further afield and although we stuck firmly by the principle that cats should not be confined and should be allowed to wander, we did fear for his safety. And not without reason…
By four months old his expeditions has grown far bolder and he would disappear for two or three days. Just when you had given up all hope he would rocket through the door and fall upon the food like a whirlwind, having obviously not eaten for days – and then sleep like the dead for many hours.
Then the phone calls started.
‘This is the sushi restaurant on Haverstock Hill. Do you have a ginger kitten? Ah – well, he is here eating sushi.’
‘We have just picked up your kitten trying to get into our house down the other end of your road – shall we bring him back to you?’
And the worst:
‘Hello! Do you have a ginger kitten? Yes, he is fine – he is now sitting in the cab of our van with our spaniel. Well, we were trimming the trees in Upper Park Road and thought we should pick him up as he was just lying in the middle of the road watching the cars drive round him on either side…. Do you want to come and pick him up?’
It was pizza van outside our door that finally got him – he must have been lying up against its wheel and when the driver got back in he did not see him and just drove off. But at least it was instantaneous and at least we knew what had happened. What I had dreaded most was him just disappearing and us never knowing. And after the tree cutter incident, we knew it was only a matter of time…. Fortunately we had taken lots of pictures while he was still with us…
Billy and the picnic baskets…
Billy exploring the booze cupboard….
Billy curled round Katherine’s neck…
Billy and Boris at play and asleep…
Billy and Boris up the tree
Billy and J’s shoe
Billy and Boris, again….
Billy in the bowl
Billy and the olive tree
Billy and Boris asleep – again….