It’s no secret that I love animals. I’m that person at a party where, if there’s a dog or a cat, I will disappear at some point and just sit there smoothing and talking to them. I once sat singing Mr Brightside to my friends’ family dog at a New Year’s Eve party because she was scared of the fireworks. Remember parties? Remember going into people’s houses? Ah. Those were the days.
Anyway, I drifted there. My point is, I love animals. I’ve always said that I could be in the process of being mauled by a police dog and I’d still say “Aww! What’s his name?” I’m the weirdo who has a resting bitch face 99% of the time when out in public, but if I see a dog I’ll suddenly get the biggest smile on my face. Specifically though, the animals that win my heart the most, are of course the ones I’m closest too. It doesn’t just extend to my own pets, it’s my friends’ and family’s too – shout out to Jessie, Copper, Pepper, Nina and Happy – poochies I can’t wait to give smooths to as soon as lockdown is over. Let’s also not forget Jasper, my Dad’s African Grey Parrot. So, I’m sure that you’re probably asking why am I declaring my love for animals that aren’t even mine? Well, the 20th February is National Love Your Pet Day, so I think that’s well worth paying homage to all fur-babies. In particular, today I’m focusing on 3 gorgeous kitties and a special little pooch that have all left their pawprints on my cold-ass little alcohol soaked heart.
Spoiler alert – two of these kitties are unfortunately no longer with us, but they were ridiculously special, so they had to be included.
Ozzy was my beautiful boy. One day in 2004, my Mum picked me up from my Dad’s house, and on the way home she took a weird turning that I didn’t recognise. She then told me we were going to look at some kittens. My little 12 year old self was BUZZING. We pulled up at this lady’s house and went in to meet a litter of four beautiful kitties. They were all gorgeous, and I had cuddles with three of them, before the lady’s daughter brought out the smallest one – my Ozzy. He was gorgeous and the second I picked him up I knew he was mine.
Ozzy’s name is a snapshot of what a weird ass tween I was. Many thought he was called Ozzy after Ozzy Osbourne, but he was not. Do you remember a 2001 movie called Osmosis Jones? Perhaps the subsequent spin-off TV show, Ozzy and Drix? Well, both of these, I became obsessed with (even though there was a HORRIFIC scene in Osmosis Jones emetophobia wise that scarred me for life and I still can’t watch to this day). Ozzy was named after Osmosis Jones. A sassy white blood cell cop. If you’ve not heard of either, look them up. Just, if you have emetophobia, be careful of the movie.
Anyway, Ozzy was absolutely insane but he made me laugh every single day. He was sassy, demanding, mischievous, and he had the most wonderful character about him. Every morning, my Mum would say to him “go and get Mummy,” and he’d run upstairs and jump on my bed to wake me up. He was there during some incredibly shitty times when I was being bullied, and he’d jump on my lap or on my bed when I was crying my eyes out because school was just shite. As I got older, he’d spend his days curled up on my bed napping, and occasionally would curl up and nap on my A-level notes. He was just always there.
Sadly, after being hit by a car (dickhead driver), Ozzy passed away after succumbing to some pretty nasty injuries. He lost an eye and completely smashed his jaw, so he wasn’t in a good way. We went to visit him a few times and even though he was different in appearance, he still responded to our voices and would purr when we gave him cuddles. The vets did their best but even then it was made clear that he would require more care than your average cat because of his injuries, and after 2 weeks he wasn’t even able to eat by himself, so we made the decision to let him go. I know people make light of pets dying, but this was one of the most painful things I’ve ever gone through, and I will never forget the moment Mum and I kissed him goodbye. He died two weeks before my 18th birthday (which also would have been his sixth – we had the same birthday believe it or not), so it was even more difficult. Despite how painful it was, I will never forget the happiness that my Ozzy brought me when I needed it the most.
Sooty was my baby brother. My Mum got him during my first year of uni and coming home to meet him was one of my favourite weekend trips we had. He was so tiny and full of mischief. I looked forward to my trips home anyway, but the thought of Sooty being there made it even more special. He was a beautiful boy that just loved cuddles and attention, and he would be the first on my lap for cuddles.
When I came home from uni officially, he’d be there waiting for me on my weekly trips to my Mum’s house. He knew the sound of my car, and he would sit on the pavement waiting for me to pull up. He’d meow at me until I picked him up and he’d be straight on my lap for cuddles.
Sooty ultimately ended up being diagnosed with OCD, which (in hindsight) explained a lot as to why we had such a special bond with each other. He was there during the stages of wedding planning where I arrived at my Mum’s house in tears because I’d seen on Facebook that a potential guest had a stomach bug, and he’d be straight on my lap drying my tears. Likewise, whenever he was anxious, he’d let me smooth him and scoop him up for a cuddle. We had each other’s backs.
I’ve talked about Sooty before on my blog, so if you want to read more about what a special boy he is, please check out one of my earlier posts. So many people see black cats as being unlucky, but for me, Soots was lucky. I was more than lucky having him in my life.
Of course I can’t talk about special kitties without a nod to my little Tilly. If you’ve followed my blog from the beginning you’ll know that Tilly is an incredibly sassy, spoiled little tabby cat who’s just a big fluffy ball of loveliness. She’s a beautiful girl, and she knows it too.
We’ve had Tilly for almost 8 years, and as she’s gotten older (especially since we’ve moved), she’s become more and more content. She spends her days napping and stuffing her face, while occasionally bringing her toys upstairs to where Liam and I are both working, and her evenings are spent snoozing on Liam’s lap. She’s a proper Daddy’s girl, much to my annoyance.
Tilly was born with a minor birth defect which means she has a bit of a head tremor and her reflexes aren’t as sharp as other cats (although you wouldn’t think it!). Generally, all it means is that she’s a house cat, because if something were to chase her, she may not get away as quickly or jump as high as any other cat would. Put it this way, she has to have a step or a chair to jump into any of the bedroom windows! Aside from that (and being a bit of messy eater), she’s completely fine, and we barely notice her tremor (although it gets worse when she’s frightened, so the vets always seem to see it at its worst!). Tilly certainly doesn’t let this hold her back either – she’s still hugely mischievous and curious, jumping up onto things she shouldn’t be and rolling around covering everything in sight with cat hair. She has both me and Liam (though he’d never admit it!) wrapped around her little finger (or rather, paw), but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite largely being a Daddy’s girl, she’s been by my side during times when my OCD was at its absolute worst, and for that, I’m incredibly grateful for her.
Keep up with Tilly’s latest antics by giving her a follow – she’s @queen_tillytots on Instagram.
Last but not least, we have my baby-fur sister. The one and only Daisy. Daisy is a cavachon and belongs to my Mum, who got her in 2016. Like Tilly, she’s incredibly sassy and spoilt, but because she’s so cute, she instantly gets away with it.
Daisy loves nothing more than walks in the woods, a good game of fetch, and most importantly, sausages. You just have to mention the word to her and she goes nuts. Thankfully, support bubbles are still a thing over here in the UK, so I’ve still been able to make my weekly visits to see Mum and Daisy. The reaction I get from Daisy as soon as I walk in will never get old. She goes completely insane (sometimes a bit too insane) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The second I sit down, she’s on my lap and won’t leave me alone. Throughout the first lockdown, Mum and I had regular Facetimes where I could speak to Daisy (and Daisy could speak to Tilly…don’t ask), and the first time I saw her on a socially distanced post lockdown walk, Daisy went absolutely nuts. It was the most adorable thing.
When my OCD was pretty bad in 2016, I spent a fair bit of time at my Mum’s house, which meant I had lots of Daisy cuddles to make me feel better. She knew every single time when I was upset or anxious, and she’d be straight on my lap licking away my tears and snuggling into me. She’s also looked after Mum when she’s been poorly over the years too, to the point where I once went over there to take her for a walk. We walked less than three feet up the road, where she did her business and then wanted to turn around. The second we got back in the door she was straight on Mum’s lap, like she didn’t want to leave her for any longer.
While Daisy isn’t my dog, I still love her as if she were. I love the cuddles she gives me, I love how she makes me laugh, and I love how she always makes me feel better when I need it. She’s a lovely, funny, happy little pooch and I always look forward to seeing her.
It’s so important to realise that pets are more than just pets. They’re not just animals. They have this incredible power to make us feel better when we’re at our lowest, and give us constant unconditional love. For that, they deserve to be classed as more than “just pets.” They’re parts of your family.
Tell me about your fur babies in the comments!
Be sure to check out Cheryl’s snaps too – she takes some amazing photos! She’s over on IG as @chiggs_photography.