16 August 2017

The ‘Tinies’ story so far…

When our dear Timisoara died of advancing age & ill health it soon became apparent that our darling boy, ffoulkes, (then aged twelve) was lonely & needed some feline companionship. He had only known older ‘sisters’ so we decided that a pair of girls would be just right – two to play together as ffoulkes would be so much more mature. The hunt for kittens began…

Who could resist those two little faces on the WCWT’s ‘Cat’s Needing Homes’ web page? A little Tortie with a dramatic nose blaze centre stage & a shy little black face huddling under a mini scratching post… It was love at first sight. Sister & brother but it would, we reasoned, be good for ffoulkes to have a little boy to play with as well as a new sister.

We phoned Jackie & explained; she came to Cowfold to do a home inspection – we had a massive spring clean before she arrived! ffoulkes played to the gallery, he has had an admiring circle of devoted lady admirers since he was a kitten & knows just how to smooch. Jackie gave us Sandra’s phone number & she invited us to come & meet the kittens.

On arriving at Findon we were greeted by Sandra’s handsome Guy, who graciously accepted a few kitty sweets. Sandra (& Guy) showed us the kittens through the window of their pen, they were born at Sandra & Andy’s after their mother had been rescued. She & their two litter siblings had already found good homes and these two were waiting for us…

The little girl made a beeline for Paul, a real “you have come to take me home” moment while I coaxed the little boy out from, guess where underneath the mini scratching post. We were wholly beguiled, those wide ‘phoenix eyes’ & must I think in retrospect, have overwhelmed Sandra with what we hoped would be our acceptable (previous) cat & kitten credentials.

Sandra kindly agreed that we could take the ‘Tinies’, as they immediately became known, & we arranged a mutually convenient date a few days later when we could collect them. As we zoomed home elated the great name debate began; the Tinies had arrived in fragrance month, i.e. their WCWT names were Chanel & Paco. But as we have a tradition of rather eclectic names for our cats we had already decided that they would be named anew. The little girl was easy, we had fairly recently returned from a stunning astronomy holiday in Norway chasing (with great success) the Northern Lights & Nordlys (the Norwegian for the Aurora) with a few grammatical adaptations, suited her perfectly. The little boy was more challenging until Paul had an inspiration & we opted for Portuguese this time – Purpurino Atlantico after our favourite space in the beautiful island of Madeira. We told ffoulkes that he would be having a new little sister & brother, an announcement to which he listened with disdain mixed with disinterest.

Luziferus ffoulkes.

Several days later the Tinies came home… ffoulkes was outraged & sulked with sensational sound effects. They were ‘confined to quarters’ in the main bathroom which, even two years later they still regard as their personal property, to acclimatise. Apart from a small mishap with a bean bag both were soon in bouncing & ripping form with lots of pouncer time & their floor to ceiling Leopet scratching post providing hours of entertainment & exercise.

Purpurin Atlantico & Nordlys at four months old.

A few weeks later it was time to introduce them to the great outdoors; by now Sandra & Jackie’s warning that “Torties are different” had been aptly proved as Nordlys developed ‘Attitude’ (definitely with a capital ‘A’) being in most things was more confident & outgoing than her brother. Until they went outside… Purpurin took to sunshine, shrubs, trees, flowers, grass & hero worship of his big brother effortlessly while for the first few outdoor days we did wonder if Nordlys was agoraphobic. Which, as a friend commented, would have been incongruous for the ‘Northern Lights’. However, they both soon decided that outside was & remains splendid fun (although all the cats come indoors at night) with the selection of vegetation, arbour seats, garden chairs & tables to say nothing of the former bean & vegetable bed, which is now the world’s largest outside litter tray, with a large accessorised palmetto to provide protection during use on rainy days.

ffoulkes has proved to be a wonderful mentor to both of them; although thankfully he hasn’t taught Purpurino how to spray, fight or either of them to hunt - all of which he had done from a very early age. They both have more entomological tastes & indulge in a great deal of beetle studying. On high days & holidays, their big brother will play with them, unless he sees anyone watching & then it is “I see no Tinies”.

Neutering & spaying went well, Purpurino was a trifle precocious but since then in the words of the inimitable Nigel Molesworth, he has decided that, with the exception of his sister, “girls are silly”. Nordlys is blissfully healthy with a fabulous purr & that penetrating “Mew, Mew, Mew, Mew!!” (she is the only cat we have ever had who actually says mew) is frequently heard as she demands her sweeties. It has to be confessed that our teeny tiny Tortie now has a tendency to be a tiny tubby Tortie! Purpurin is fey, there is no other way to describe him & very highly strung – he has a fragile soul. Unfortunately, he suffers from chronic anaemia but with medical advice & the requisite medication provided by our splendid vet Fabian, he remains happy, entrancing & active.

Nordlys & Purpurino Atlantico at two years.

All three cats happily accepted the arrival of my mother, who came to live with us in the autumn of 2015, & the Tinies – Nordlys in particular – are very fond of a spot of ‘Granny’ time. There are a few more reservations about Mummy’s cat Seti – integration proceeds slowly with the occasional spats & exchanges of bad language but as ‘Uncle Seti’, ffoulkes & the Tinies at the moment of writing still live somewhat separate lives the equilibrium is maintained.


Two & a half years from the date of their arrival our Tinies are beautiful, loving adult cats with the sweetest of natures & very clearly defined characters. They bring & give so much joy to us (& ffoulkes… whether he admits it or not!) & have many years ahead of them to experience & explore new sensations & develop further interests. Which is why we are having our new collection of bathrooms & loos fully tiled - they do so love to scratch figured wallpaper, to say nothing of soft furnishings, doing both with dedication & unwearying zest…