Crafty Cats Alert

19My housemate, Christina, has been pet-sitting a friend’s cats for the past month while she’s away on a two-month book tour. Today, Christina made me come with her to visit Hansel and Gretel, 5 year-old Siamese siblings with profoundly winning personalities and something of a wild streak. She did this to demonstrate why she has to stay at the house in order to do her duty, which is something that I’d been sceptical about.

Turns out that Hansel and Gretel consider themselves more human than cat. Left to their own devices in the elegantly styled three-story townhouse, they’re liable to get into all sorts of mischief, exploring everything from how to create a hammock out of the curtains to what a cabinet full of expensive dinnerware is all about. The only way to limit their mayhem is by spending a good chunk of time ‘chatting’ with them daily.

In addition, their owner is somewhat paranoid about the cats’ health after Gretel developed a respiratory infection last time she went away. That time, she forgot to alert her vet to the cats being under someone else’s care, the sitter was unable to provide consent for veterinary treatment, and it was all a big drama.

Needless to say, Christina has been fully equipped with the details of two of the best Brighton vet clinics, together with strict instructions to monitor the duo closely on a daily basis. Alongside this, she’s been provided with a folder outlining their (rather detailed) schedule, an array of cat-oriented puzzles, and even a particular book that they like to be read from before bed – a battered 80s crime thriller, if you want to know.

Christina said she can’t see there being any need to call a pet surgeon. Bayside luxury aside, Hansel and Gretel are surprisingly down to earth, show a strong inclination towards cuddling up to tell Christina about their day. Hansel even brought me a blanket to put over me when I said I was cold. Just… what? Maybe they can understand everything.