born 2nd August 1953
Richard was our first cat. Like all our cats, his name was chosen only after giving it a lot of thought. We have never just happened on a cats name.
So, to understand how he became 'Richard', I will have to go back even before he came into our lives. By the way, when I say "we", I mean myself, Tony, and my wife, Myrtle. In both of our families we had always been used to having a cat around - it was a natural part of life. So of course, when we got married we automatically arranged to have a cat of our own, although I surprised Myrtle by booking our own little kitten before she had expected it.
I can't really remember the cat that my mother had (my father was away a lot, so didn't get consulted!) but I think it was the second since I was born and they were both called Dickie. Myrtle had actually been given a cat of her very own when she was about ten years old, and he was called Dinkie. We could have used a similar sounding name for our own kitten, but we liked the idea of at last having a cat with a real, human type name. I suppose we were influenced by "Dickie" and 'Dinkie" so Richard was the natural follow up!
It so happened that in the local grocers shop where my mother worked part time, the shop cat was in kitten and had given birth just a few days before our wedding day. I chose the jet black one from the four that the mother cat proudly showed me and arranged to collect him as soon as he would be old enough to leave his mother, after our honeymoon. I managed to keep it a secret from Myrtle, but I asked our new landlord, of our bedsit, before we moved in, so that was OK.
So now I had a new wife and we had a room of our own. Richard was by then only three or four weeks old, but the grocer didn't want the mother cat looking after her kittens for too long, so within only a couple of weeks after setting up our new home, we collected our first cat
Although he was so young, he turned out to be a very forward little kitten and was very easy to finish weaning. As our room was already furnished and decorated, we did not need to spend much time on it, so we could give Richard all our attention. Together with Richard, Mr. Reader the grocer, also gave us a kitten sized cardboard box for his very own bed. We found a small piece of blanket and arranged torn up newspaper in a tin for a cat tray and at the end of our first evening all together, two happy people and a full kitten retired to our two separate beds.
That arrangement lasted about half an hour, just the time it took for Richard to get lonely, discover where we had got to and then work out how to climb up the bedclothes to us. We woke up, scolded him gently and settled him back in his own bed. Carefully arranged the bedding to be even more comfortable and cosy and we all went back to bed. Richard found his way back to us within a couple of minutes and that was the last time he ever used his 'own' bed. From then on, we all three always shared the same bed and if the night was cold enough, we were all under the blankets together!
The following year we moved to a ground floor flat and got a second kitten. She was a lovely little tabby kitten who we named Susan after a friend of ours, but we thought that she was somewhat more scatty than a Susan, hence the more flighty, Susie. As it turned out, she was definitely one for the boys and became a pregnant Susie almost as soon as physically possible! Three more kittens in the flat!
Within a few weeks they were staggering around and at that point, Susie decided that she should catch up on the latest happenings in the world outside and that Richard was quite capable of keeping an eye on them while she attended to more important things, like, getting pregnant again. (We were rather naive then!)
Most of his story is in Chapters 1 - 5 of our History (link
under menu, Text). He was lost from 1959 to 1961 but was
found and lived happily to the age of 12½, dying on
12th March 1966