see which cats choose you”, Ingrid said. The first cats came
running towards us as soon as we entered their enclosure. Patrick,
on the other hand, only ventured forth briefly from his retreat to
sniff our hands. However, when reached in to pet him, he arched his
back with pleasure until his hut wobbled. Ingrid told us that Patrick
had missed out on a few chances to find a home because he was hiding
from one of the more aggressive cats, so we decided that he really
needed us the most. We discussed renaming him, but since we thought
the Irish link very suitable to his ginger fur and green eyes, we
just softened the name to the more Gaelic form Padraig (pronounced
At home, he came out of the cage, checked that his kitty litter was
in place and then disappeared under the sofa for five hours. We had
given up on seeing him that day, but then we heard two insistent meows
from the living room. When we went down to see what he wanted, our
cat had come out halfway from under the sofa and was waiting for some
support. Once he heard us talking to him, he came out all the way
and collected equal amounts of reassurance and petting from each of
us. He then made it very clear that he wanted company in exploring
the house. Whenever he felt ready to discover the next room, he would
go to the door, then look up at us expectantly and wait for one of
us to lead the way before venturing into the new space. With this
touching display of trust he was guaranteed our full attention and
Right from the start, our cat was very sociable and people-oriented,
always trying to be in the room with one of us. At first, he even
preferred to have us nearby when he was eating or using his kitty
litter. Since this was invariably when we had just sat down for a
meal, we are pleased that this particular dependency has waned. After
completely ignoring two store-bought scratching posts, Padraig has
taken to our home-built model with pleasure and occasionally tests
whether we will let him use the laundry basket too.
During the first days, Padraig was intimidated by the toys we offered
him, so it was a real success when we he first followed a piece of
newspaper tied a string. Initially, 2 minutes of play was the limit
and we were adjusting to the idea of having a very sedentary cat.
However, he has been getting steadily more playful and now regularly
tosses his favorite mouse around or attacks the bottom step of the
stairs madly. Nevertheless, at heart Padraig is an extremely gentle
and rather timid cat. He has never scratched us and given the choice
will spend hours on your lap, purring and radiating contentment.
Padraig is very vocal: When we come home in the evening, he spends
a moment blinking and then throws his head back and utters two loud
greeting meows (HELLO! WHERE WERE YOU?). He holds long, chatty monologues
in front of the bedroom or bathroom door if he is not allowed in and
after he has been outside, you can be assured of a blow-by-blow description
of his adventures. Naturally, we don’t let on that we don’t
understand most of his report. When Padraig realises that he is alone
in the bottom story of the house, he announces himself as he gallops
up the stairs to join us and this comes out as the funniest staccato
Mrr-rr-rr-rr-rr. We find his talkativeness very endearing –
if he waits until the alarm clock has rung in the morning.
Looking back, Padraig has really blossomed since coming from the shelter.
He is much more active and playful and is working on the courage bit.
He has lost some weight, but still has enough bulk to be a fantastic
lap warmer. We can’t fathom how anyone could abandon this sweet
fellow and fully agree with Ingrid when she said that “he will
be one of the best cats ever”.
Ariel and Hendrik
Haven, PO Box PO Box 323, Broadford 3658 Victoria.
Call 0417 360 700.