Metro 50

Richard Herring: Never underestimate the roar power of kittens

Friday 1 Feb 2013

My wife has wanted us to get cats for a while. I have been a little bit resistant because I hate all living things. Plus I don’t really like the idea of clearing up someone else’s poo. I slightly resent having to deal with my own.

I have always been a bit suspicious of pets anyway. As I see it, humans and animals are engaged in a one-sided war, in which the humans kill and eat most of the animals and the animals only very occasionally manage to take one of us down. But some animals, such as cats, dogs and horses, suck up to the humans by being cute, stupid or useful, attaining a status where eating them seems abhorrent. If only a tiny part of one of this special elite somehow ended up in a burger (that could never happen, obviously) then people would go crazy.

Meanwhile, all the non-cute animals are being ground up for sausages or being shot at by AA Gill and hardly anyone gives a hoot.

The way I look at it, cats and dogs are collaborators with their fascist overlords (that’s you) and that’s why if I ever get my hands on one, I shave off its fur and parade it around town in a cart. People don’t seem to understand and treat me like it’s me who has done something wrong.

I am joking of course (I would never wish anything bad to happen to any of the cute animals, it was a satirical historical allusion), though I do find this selective carnivorism slightly strange. And I feel sorry for pigs who lose out so massively for being fat, bald, dirty and useless (like many of the people who eat them, ironically).

Anyway, my wife wore me down and last week we drove over to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on the lookout for a couple of kittens. It’s an impressive organisation, staffed by efficient and friendly people who really care about making sure their animals are placed in the right homes and who look after these sometimes troubled waifs and strays when no one else wants them. Their dedication and selflessness is amazing. I wonder how we’d get on if we elected people like them to run the country… no, you’re right, ridiculous idea. The selfish and uncaring politicians are doing such a brilliant job.

After an interview process, we were introduced to a five-month-old brother and sister. The boy was a whizzing ball of white fur and the girl was dark, half his size and sporting an impressive brown mane. They were both high-spirited and playful and melted my frozen heart immediately.

They had some problems: the male kitten was deaf and the female had a heart murmur but none of us are perfect, so I felt some empathy with these bright-eyed misfits. These were the cats for us. I was besotted. I couldn’t work out why my wife had resisted getting pets for so long.

We had to come up with names. With her impressive mane, I felt we had to call the black one Lion-O (after my favourite Thundercat). Sticking with the animated theme, my wife named the white one Smithers.
Lion-O and Smithers – now that’s a cartoon I’d love to see. It might just be the gayest thing on Earth.

They are an absolute delight. If you’re looking for a pet, then please check out your local animal home rather than buying some pampered pooch from a breeder.

When the animals finally start winning this war, they’ll look upon you more kindly if you do.