I hope you're sitting down.
We're contemplating getting a cat.
Yes, I know I'm allergic to cats, and I know it's a risk, but in more recent years I've had much less strong reactions and maybe, just maybe, given the fact that our house has very few carpets and is more or less open-plan, maybe I'd be OK.
Well with the sad demise of the guinea-pigs the girls feel the need of someone to love and cosset.
(Love ME, girls! Cosset ME!)
Now a dog would be great, but the problem with dogs is that when we go to the UK we'd need to find someone willing to look after the dog for several weeks. Hmmm. Or pay kennel fees. Hmmm.
Pat suggested a hamster that would live in Catrin's room, but we tried that kind of thing before and the kids were woken up by the nocturnal antics of their little pets, who then had to live in the bathroom, the lounge, etc...
A cat, with the natural independence and aloofness of their race, could happily wander off roaming and also make friends with the neighbours, who would then be delighted to feed it and keep an eye on it during our absence.
That's the theory, anyway.
Which leads me to one snag. We are currently visited by two local cats.
Grey cat lives across the road and comes in looking for pieces of chicken defrosting in the kitchen. She found one once, and the memory is sweet. She sneaks in and seems genuinely alarmed if you show any sign of having noticed her.
Ginger cat is big and aloof and doesn't need to try to steal food. She seldom comes into the house, but she has adopted the garden where she sits on tables and seats and surveys her annexed domains.
Grey cat and ginger cat do not get on.
Which is why yesterday I was alerted to a brewing confrontation by their aggressive yowling from our garden. I went out to look and saw grey cat shooting down the driveway hotly pursued by ginger cat.
"You NAUGHTY cats, stop at once!" I yelled.
They took as much notice of me as I once took of General Pinochet.
I pursued ginger cat who pursued grey cat. They stopped and fought in grey cat's driveway across the road.
"Stop at once, you NAUGHTY cats!" I yelled, clapping my hands.
This time they did stop and stared at each other. Grey cat's ear seemed bitten. I advanced and clapped again. Ginger cat went off down the road. Grey cat shot through the gateway. Peace was restored.
Hmm. Adding another cat into this?