Untitled uploaded by Tom Cox
website: Tom Cox
blog: The Little Cat Diaries
Cats' names: Janet, The Bear, Shipley, Ralph, Bootsy and Pablo
Human's name: Tom Cox
Length of cohabitation:
Janet: 8 years
The Bear: 8 years (with a few breaks early on)
Ralph and Shipley: 7 and a half years
Pablo and Bootsy: 4 years
How you came to live with one another:
The Bear and Janet were an extra perk of the package when I got together with my wife, Dee. I'd just been through the one catless period of my life: a time I've come to think of as somewhere between an anomaly and an extended lost weekend. Dee's ex-boyfriend hated cats, but loved The Bear, who is less like a cat and more like a scheming depressed poet who just happens to inhabit a cat's body. For a while, I even thought The Bear WAS her ex in disguise, trying to sabotage our relationship, but we have come to an understanding now, and I love him dearly (The Bear, not Dee's ex). Janet - a boy cat - was dropped at Dee's door by two East End orphans who announced, "Our dad's died miss, so will you take our cat?" (there was a crucial episode of Friends on at the time, so she didn't hesitate to take him off their hands). Shipley and Ralph and their late brother, Brewer, we got from friends of friends when we got married and moved from London to Norfolk. Bootsy and Pablo came about in a roundabout, reckless way after a rough calculation about the weight of a beagle - for the fully story, check out my book Under The Paw
Favorite shared activities:
Shipley likes it when I garden, and happy-claps my legs angrily when I go back in the house. He and Ralph both love nothing more than being stroked by a gardening glove-clad hand. Janet is a skilled footballer, The Bear and Pablo like to do "glove puppet" (lying upside down and being jiggled about by their chest fur), and Bootsy is a big fan of the Nuggin (click here for definition).
Tell us about this photo:
This was taken by Jason Bye, for a shoot for a Times Online feature. I wrote for The Times newspaper last summer. What I love about it is that it looks like a portrait of of something harmonic that happens on a daily basis, but the truth is that they stayed like that for about 30 seconds, and Jason was opportune and skilled enough to capture it. I will never ever get them to do it again, particularly as, now that the book is for sale in Asda Wal-Mart, they are increasingly aware of being exploited for commercial gain. A lot of people have asked me about the t-shirt in the pic, so to pre-empt any further enquiries, I got it from the excellent threadless.com.
What do you love most about your cats (or cats in general):
Their screw-you swagger, the timeless art of their paws and tails, their incredible dignity, the comic moments when that dignity is punctured (often by me), the way they make every bit of affection they give you feel like a hard-fought victory.