Seriously… why do dogs get to have all of the fun?
I currently live with 2 cats and have had many dogs. I grew up with a beautiful long haired polydactyl tabby cat called Hero. He was my sister’s really, but oh my goodness did I love that cat. As a little girl I would make camps for Hero and I in my granny’s sitting room. An upturned chair and scratchy blanket were all we needed before we were transported off to a secret land. Hero came with me begrudgingly. A captive more than a willing fellow traveller of the imagination. He lived until he was 24 years old. I still have his collar in a box of treaures from my childhood. Red pleather with a yellow zig zag underlay and a whopper bell. The thousands of scratches on my arms from where he tried to escape my loving, vicelike grasp on him are now long gone.
We have made cat collars almost since the beginning of Creature Clothes. In vintage silks, suedes, prints and weaves, studded and plain, reflective and muted. When I adopted my first cat, Slinky Malinky, 2 years ago, she had no collar. She had been found in a hole in a wall, hiding from dog attacks and foxes. She had been there for 2 weeks and was barely more than a kitten. No one came forward as her owner so she came home with us. We lived with Goose at the time, my 17 year old labrador. They tolerated each other with quiet fascination. Slink isn’t a cuddly cat, unless very hungry. She doesn’t curl up on you, she doesn’t need you. It took 5 days to get a collar on her and my arms looked like they did when I used to camp out with Hero all those years ago.
Team Cats & Dogs
Living with cats and dogs is a brilliant treat. I love the interaction between them. The quiet sitting and watching by the cats, the utter desperation to run around and play clumsily by the dogs.
My second cat, Pussidon, who really belongs to my eldest daughter, Ruby, came to us as a kitten. Pussidon was born to a dear friend’s cat and we fell in love with him immediately. He had been showered with love and attention from the moment he was born. As a result he suffers none of the trauma and behavioural hiccups that scar our dear Slink. Cuddly, soppy and only occasionally grumpy. We can wear him as a scarf without him as much as twitching a whisker. He can climb into the (high up, wall mounted) kitchen cupboard, remove a tin of treats, take off the lid, remove an inner packet, break into the pack and eat the lot. Outrageous.
The latest addition to our pack comes in the form of a very little black labrador called Beetle. She is 10 weeks old. My middle daughter, Juno, has saved her pocket money for 4 years to buy her. Beetle is currently asleep at the end of her bed. Pussidon and Slink are asleep with Ruby on the top bunk. And as for my third daughter, known now and probably forever as The Baby… she and the puppy are a delight to each other. I can see the same torment that I put Hero through – the pup is curled up with, climbed on & hugged so tight I fear she may pop. Everyone is intrigued with each other, everyone is very curious, everyone remains very happy. Harmony at times, chaos at others. A beautiful mix.
Me being me, I need them all to be a part of a team. The animals all have matching collars, the kids all have belts to match the animal’s collars. This makes me very happy indeed.
When I feel a bit worthless, a bit useless and pointless… You know when you look at your friends who are so incredibly successful and happy… & see other friends and family doing jobs that save lives. When I’m feeling a bit rubbish about not being more successful or rich or cleverer or worthwhile, I think back to Hero’s collar. His little red and yellow collar that I have kept in a box for nearly 30 years to remind me of him and our adventures to the land of my imagination. And I think about the collars that sit on the shelf above my bed. Collars that I made with my own hands, for my beloved dogs Vodka, Stolli and Goose. Their collars are all that I have left of them. They are what connects me to them & brings them to the forefront of my mind and warms my heart. Knowing that my collars do this for others too, it suddenly makes my job feel a whole lot more brimming with worth and use. And that is good.
My family and our animals pepper out Instagram feed – give us a follow @creatureclothes to keep up with their adventures, and probably camps…