It’s twenty years since I last owned a cat but when Teddy and Pun’kin asked if they could live with the Howsons, how could we say no?! It took me a long time to get over the death of my grey, half-Persian childhood companion Pompeii – named after the exhibition which came to Brisbane in 1981.
Pathetic, I know, but I still
have Pompeii’s collar and used to smell it to feel
like he was back with me. Okay, that sounds weird
– but scents are a powerful trigger for memories.
I once asked listeners what smells they had
kept of their deceased loved ones. We were
inundated with calls, with everything from
pillows to jumpers being put aside, unwashed, so
they could be brought out for a hug and a smell.
But back to Teddy and Pun’kin. Once I started
making noises about having another cat, our
word-of-mouth enquiries led us to Katina Balson.
Katina runs the Pussies Galore op-shop on
Musgrave Road, Red Hill, and her nearby house
is full of strays, ferals, abandoned and abused
cats all just looking for love.
Many of them have terrible backgrounds and
some have been with Katina for months, too shy
to sell themselves to potential families. Katina
calls them her “scaredy cats”.
When we arrived, they scattered to all
corners of the house. You wouldn’t have known
there were 22 kittens and cats hiding under the
furniture and behind the curtains!
Then, one by one, they emerged, wandering
past and looking us up and down. Until the most
remarkable thing happened. Two of them chose
us. A well-fed (thanks to Katina) ginger feral with
a beautiful white tummy hopped onto my lap and
a much thinner tiger-striped
kitten that had been abused
in Darwin (apparently lots of
rescued cats are flown down
from the top end) lay down next
to Nikki. And with that, we were
cat owners once again. Teddy and
Pun’kin had a new home.
I can’t recommend Katina highly
enough. Living with the cats, she knows their
personalities. Everything she told us about Teddy
and Pun’kin has turned out to be spot on, from
their food likes and dislikes, to the way they play,
sleep and interact with each other.
An abused animal might not be for everyone
– as Katina explains, you can’t expect them to be
all over you from the minute you get them home
– but it has only taken a few weeks for Teddy and
Pun’kin to come out of their shells and the five of
us couldn’t be happier.
It’s election day on Saturday and while the main
battle is between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott,
the competition can be just as fierce when it
comes to which polling booth has the best
sausages and lamingtons!
To help you decide where in your electorate
to vote, the Booth Reviews website is back. Click
on www.BoothRev.net now and you’ll get the
idea. Once you have voted, go back to the site
and leave your comments. As the day progresses,
it will become more and more useful for those
who have yet to vote. (Mischievous Spencer loves
the fact that a sausage-review-based decision on
where to vote will completely muck
up Antony Green’s analysis on
ABC TV on Saturday night when
he talks about the way certain
booths voted in 2010).
Meanwhile, 612’s Saturday
Breakfast presenter Phil Smith has
already crowned his Best Booth in
Brisbane. Phil ran a competition over a couple of
weeks and will broadcast from the winner, Seven
Hills State School, on election day.
Finally, in response to my column on kids vs
children, ABC radio family affairs reporter Susan
Hetherington says: “Don’t you remember the
Sesame Street song that says `goats have kids,
like people have kids’? Case closed”.
And from Brisbane author Nick Earls: “With
`kid’ first used to mean `child’ in the 1590s, I
think I’m ready for us to relax the `only for goats’
Roman Masiarek goes further: “There is a
much more important issue - the insidious way
the Australian language is being sold out to the
Americans. More and more, our biscuits are
becoming cookies, our chips are becoming fries,
our toilets are becoming bathrooms and our
Zeds are becoming Zees”.
But then Pauline Taylor asks: “For folks who
persist in calling them kids, how would they like
to be addressed as `goats’?”