Thursday, 13 September 2012

Polly's Tail

This was Polly, my parent's little farm cat, wished on her by a lovely Quaker farmer neighbour of theirs back in the 80's.

She was a matter of 8 weeks old when my father walked across the road to his neighbour and friend and collected the tiny, blue-eyed white bundle.

Minute though she was, when he brought her in to their conservatory and placed her on the floor beside his chair with food and water next to her, she made a tiny not quite miaow sound and leapt a prodigious great leap, onto his lap.

Uncertain until then how he felt about taking her on that clinched it, he was hers, completely under her tiny paw until the day she died.

My mother, less keen initially, fell also under her spell very
quickly and pretty soon Polly's squeak was law.

She loved listening to music, but when my father sang he would pick her up and she would put a firm paw over his mouth.  (A cat of taste and discernment).

Less so, where her sense of smell was concerned.
As I've said before, and illustrated by the pictures above (top two), she was addicted to sniffing my father's slipper.

She was a great climber and loved to climb on the rose arches in the garden and swipe at the hair or my father's hat as he passed.

Sadly she was injured (we think by a car) and her beautiful tail had to be amputated quite early in her life, and her balance was never quite as good again.

Her favourite place was in the greenhouse where she would curl up in the warmth for hours.  The third picture shows her 'hatching' the tomato seedlings under their cover of netting.

She was friendly with Sextus the feral from the farm until he took too much of my father's attention, then she would attack him and chase him back over the road.

She developed cancer at the age of about 15 and was finally taken for her last visit to the vet by my grieving parents who never really got over her loss.

They played host to many more cats from the farm over the years, but never gave a permanent home to any other cat but Polly.


  1. What a lovely story and wonderful memories Ray x

  2. Awe. Lovely cat! And clearly one who was in charge. She is much like Max, the cat from next door, pure white is inconvenient in a hunting animal but he seems to manage., he is particularly fond of David's chair in the summer house! Cats are things I know little about....but I'm learning!

  3. A lovely account, Ray, and so true to my own experience. Some cats just come in and take over your life and nothing is ever quite the same afterwards.

  4. Yes old photographs often trigger a whole string of memories (the reason we keep them I guess).

  5. She was a lovely cat, despite ruling her little kingdom with a paw of iron.
    The summer house/greenhouse thing is typical of cats doing what they do best. Looking after No 1.

  6. I think real cat lovers all react in the same way Perpetua. They are so beautiful, funny, clever and have ways of getting their own way which have to be seen to be believed, that we, their slaves simply fall into our 'proper place' without a murmur.

  7. What an immaculate cat - very much in charge.

  8. She was a lovely little soul Freda, but had absolutely no doubt about who was boss, and heaven help anyone who didn't recognise that fact and pay her due attention.

  9. we have a few shoe sniffing cats in our family, they are funny when they do that. Did Polly read the newspaper with her bottom, a very clever cat trick I have always thought :-)

    I love the picture of her you paint especially "but when my father sang he would pick her up and she would put a firm paw over his mouth."

    Thanks for sharing the memory.

  10. No, she wasn't a great reader but she was a music critic.
    Or at least that's what we used to say when she did her 'party piece'.
    I suspect it's more likely she was trying to 'feel' where the funny noise was coming from.