Basil’s Tail

The cat I want to tell everyone about this month is one of my first and best pals on Twitter. I love him like a brofur. He is the ‘King Of Floof’, the ‘Tail From Wales’, Yes you guessed it . . . ‘Sir Basil Of The Floofy Tail.’

I will let his Mum tell you how he came to live with her as she tells it better than anyone. If she were to sing it, I would, most definitely, swoon. (I have to admit, I am a bit in love with, my Singing Angel, Bas Mum.) This is the interesting narrative that she wrote for Hugo’s (another cat pal) Website . . .

‘Basil’s mum here. This is our story.

Getting Basil (or any cat), was a long and serious decision for me. Generally, I think people make the decision to take in a pet too lightly. Its hard work and a huge responsibility – I was concerned whether I would be able to live up to the commitment.

I’ve always loved cats, but was never allowed one at my parents home. My mum can’t stand the fluff! (although she seems to like Basil’s ok). Then, for years at and after university, I lived in shared digs which was unsuitable for pets, but even when I eventually got my own home about 9 years ago, I still did not go for it.

I was troubled, thinking about the amount of time I spent away, both for work and travelling at weekends. Then my brother got a cat, Pepper (adopted) who I fell in love with, and then another, Oscar (‘the terror’). My brother worked long hours too, so I thought, maybe I could manage a pet as well.

A couple of summers ago, I went on a big trip to Canada and whilst there I decided I needed a cat in my life! When I got back I committed to not travel for 3 months and planned to adopt.

There is a Cat’s Protection adoption centre near by, so I visited it one evening after work. They reassured me that my life, as busy as it could be, was perfect for a cat who enjoyed the quiet life (no children) and that it would be fine for a self-contained feline to be alone for most of the day.

The first visit was heart wrenching. In fact, its been difficult on every visit since (I now volunteer occasionally). On average they have 70 cats in need of homes. Kittens are only kept for a few days before being adopted out but many older cats are ignored. The staff do such a wonderful job, in difficult circumstances, for all the kitties.

Many of the cats put on a real show for me, purring and flirting against the glass. One girl kitty called Jess really tugged at my hearts strings. She was so friendly and had a beauty spot just below her nose, with white and black, long hair and was an indoor kitty like I ideally wanted. (This indoor thing wasn’t a deal breaker, but it would just be easier in the area I live as the roads are very busy.)

Then I spied Basil. God he was grumpy. He did not look at me and refused to move from the corrugated card scratch post he was sleeping on (they told me, he lived on it!) but, there was something in that face…… I took a picture of him and said I would think about it overnight and come back the next day. I thought about Basil’s little face all night. All the ladies at work said he was the one, but I worried about his peevishness and how hard it would be to look after him.

I went back as promised and got to actually spend time with several cats, Jess and Basil included. They just open the front of the cage area and you can stroke and touch them, if they let you. Jess and a few others were very friendly and loveable, purring and brushing up against me. You could tell that in a few weeks they would settle in a new home with no problems.

Basil, however, hissed as I went to stroke him and he seized up in nervousness. He cowered away from each touch. They told me they thought it would take him longer than most cats to adapt to a change in circumstances, as he was very stressed. So we shut the door and my head said ‘go back and see the others – as a first cat, Basil would be far too much work’. But, as I walked away I looked back, and Basil had crept off his scratch post and looked round the corner at me. That was it…. My head lost and my heart won! Smitten.

So I agreed and signed the paperwork. I collected him after a few days.

It was not easy sailing. He yowled in the car all the way home, peed in the carrier & hid straight away. He ruined a rug in the first week by using it as a litter tray. I spent about 3 months on my knees talking to his silhouette behind the sofa, tempting him with treats & talking in hushed tones. No visitor would know I even had a cat! He only ate when I was out of the room and gobbled it so fast the bowl shot across the room. He cowered if you went anywhere near him and incessantly hissed.

It upset me to think about what had happened to my Basil for him to be this scared. All they could tell me was he had not gotten on with other pets in the house. I know deep down it was worse than that. He was so traumatised.

I spent about an hour or more each night tempting him with food and play. My social life suffered, but all I wanted to do was try and help him get to a happy place.

After 4 months I’d still not managed to touch him, but he was by then, out from behind the sofa about 70% of the time, lying in the same room and playing with a number of feather wand toys. When he first appeared so I could see him properly I couldn’t get over how stocky he was and how chunky his paws are. He’s like a Teddy bear.

Then I went away for Christmas. I left with some trepidation, but I found a lovely petsitter, Amy, who loves all animals & comes to our home, to save Basil the stress of the cattery. She sent me pictures most days and kept me up to date. She fell for him too.

When I got back we had a real turning point, he let me stroke him for the first time and he purred. I cried. They were tears of happiness and relief, but also sadness as my boy’s coat was thick with mats. He had remained un-groomed for months, as I’d been unable to get near him. His coat was all lumps and bumps.

Fast forward to today, and all his lovely followers know the handsome sweetie he is. He loves his daily brush, and, after months of dedication I’ve slowly cut and brushed out all the mats and tangles.

He struts around the house, is fun and lively and loves showing off that belly. He, also, enjoys a good chin rub. Basil has even accepted my new rug -although those who know us are well aware this took several weeks! We have a daily cuddle & I can’t imagine life without him. Everyone who meets him melts – all he has to do is roll over and show that lovely curly floofy belly.

He can still be grumpy though, and has finally begun to sit on my lap about once a week. That is a triumph in itself. 🙂

Please Adopt don’t Shop

Gretchen & Basil’

There you have it! Is this not an epic tale of ‘love conquering all’?

Basil was an older cat, about one year old when his Mum found him. She did not name him Basil, but thought the name very fitting as his grumpiness mimicked, to a tee, that of Basil Fawlty (of ‘Fawlty Towers’ fame.). Personally, I think he’s a comic genius and plays up the surliness to humorous perfection. Any of you who saw the first #MTIFF award announcement on ‘The Basil Show’ (on Periscope) can attest to that. 😹

Since the article was written, Basil has moved to a new home which caused his Mum a few sleepless nights, anxiously brooding about how he would cope. But he has flourished. In fact, when Amy came to the house for the first time, Basil took her from to room to room, proudly showing off his new castle.

I first met Basil about two years ago and knew right away the young Ragdoll Persian had star quality. (I am a bit of expert when it comes to spotting light entertainment talent). Basil can make me laugh like nobody’s business. There is nothing funnier than when he leads his Mum around the house while walking with his favourite TOY lodged safely in his mouth. Comic genius!

Basil has the cutest cat-friend too; Moët the blind cat. The two of them began some harmless flirting, (to which, I heartily approved) a couple of years ago, it led to an invitation for a date from the bold, fluffy, lovelorn Tom. They attended the wedding of Marley and Bear and had such a good time, the rest, as they say, is history. Moët and Basil continue to enjoy each other’s company and make an outstanding twosome.

I must admit that Basil’s greatest trait is his gentle kindness and generous nature, which he offers to everyone. (Despite the lapses into irritability. 😹) The love he and his Mum share is what we all aspire to with our pets.

Love ya, Bas!