Tell us a tiny bit about yourself and a whole lot about the mog(ies) that share your current and/or past life.
My cat is called Dolly. I’m a full-time fiction author and editor, which means I mostly work from home – a fact Dolly loves. She used to hate it when I had to go out to do an employed day job and she had no company for most of the day!
Have you always had cats or are you a late convert to the Church of Mog? How did your cat procure you?
I am more of a dog person and grew up with them. Even when I didn’t have a dog I would dog-sit for other people, who would leave their dogs with me for a doggy holiday while the humans were somewhere else. But then Dolly turned up on my doorstep in 2010 when she was still a kitten. She’d left home, because the people who’d bought her weren’t very responsible owners. I found out where she’d come from and the owners didn’t particularly care about getting their cat back, and weren’t interested that I’d paid vet’s bills when Dolly cut her paw somehow, so after that Dolly moved in with me permanently. Here we are, eight years on, and she is curled up behind me on my chair as I type this (which means I am perched on the edge in a rather uncomfortable position – as usual). I miss the dog-sitting, but Dolly provides good company. Oh, she came with that name, I didn’t pick it.
What features do you like most about your current cat(s) or cat(s) that accompanied you through your life?
Dolly is very vocal (she’s a half-siamese tortie), and I like it when she tells me long stories about the rain or the cat next door. She often pauses, waits for me to say something, then carries on. She also has a great sense of humour and timing when she occasionally comments on something that humans are discussing. As a storyteller myself, I appreciate her communication abilities. She’s one of my best friends.
Oh, she makes me get up too – stops me sitting for too long by telling me it is time to go for a walk in the garden, or to check that there are biscuits in her bowl, or to do some stretches.
Do you have a special divert and distract method to keep your feline from bothering you while you’re writing? Or does your cat leave you alone while you are typing away?
She does what she wants. If she sits in front of my screen then she wants to watch cat TV for a bit and swat at animations of mice and birds until she gets bored. She often hogs the writing chair, especially if I make the mistake of standing up or leaving the room. She might seem like she is asleep in her radiator bed, but I’ll come back a moment later and find she is curled up in the chair space I’d just vacated. It signals another sore-bum writing session for me, sat on the edge.
Have you ever featured one of your cats or a cat in general as a protagonist in one of your stories?
No. A dog featured in my first novel, Turner, and a few readers contacted me to say how happy they were that the dog escaped the island. Actually, scrap that – I just remembered that I made a book for her once. You can download the PDF from http://www.karldrinkwater.uk/2016/01/words-for-cats.html
What’s the biggest catastrophe a mog has ever caused in your household?
I hate it when she’s been attacked by another cat – she has had serious abscesses from cat bites that needed treatment. She is recovering from one at the moment, in fact. As a squeamish person, I find that hard to deal with. But, other than that, she is an incredibly healthy and happy cat. Her main diet has been dry biscuits for eight years (a vet-approved vegan formulation we buy with all the minerals and vitamins cats need, taurine etc.), and the vet said she’s a shining example of good health. Occasionally she supplements her diet with things she begs from neighbours when she’s on the scav alongside a disabled cat from up the road. Oh, she loves a teeny bit of yeast extract or cheese sometimes, on one of her biscuits. The only other catastrophe is that she likes climbing, and didn’t understand that cat claw scratches on antique furniture as she scrabbled to get to the highest point is not something I approve of. But then I thought, “What the hell, it’s only furniture.” My cat and her friendship is more important to me than any possession.