Without a doubt the star of The French Adventure is Ziggy. Her appearance in this feel-good story of new beginnings, set in France, was a cameo role. But it was also an important part of the story because it showed how perceptive cats are when it comes to deciding who they allow to cuddle them! And it helped endorse the closure of one relationship for Anna.
Is she real? You bet and my husband and I dote on her … she is our little princess and the boss of the house.
She sits with me when I write, often making me stop as she ‘talks’ to me (she can be VERY vocal) and I end up following her downstairs to see what she wants. Sometimes it’s a chicken treat, other times it’s because she wants me to open the door rather than use the cat flap! If I pretend I can’t hear her she’ll simply get between me and the screen, or jump up on my lap making it impossible for me to type.
So many readers have asked about her that I decided to introduce her properly. She enters the story here:
Suddenly, I hear a loud meow that sounds uncannily like ‘now’, as a little cinnamon and brown ball of fur comes running in our direction and literally launches herself into my arms. I’m almost bowled over by the force with which we collide and hold onto her tightly while I regain my balance.
‘You missed me then?’ I whisper into her fur.
Now Bengals are known for being very vocal indeed, but Ziggy’s response is a long one that seems to go on and on. I imagine it’s along the lines of ‘Where have you been? No one does a tummy tickle quite like you and it’s unfair to make me wait so long.’ Or maybe she’s just complaining that she’s hungry and telling me off for not heading straight into the kitchen.
I’ve missed her so much, but Karl is allergic to cats and it was yet another moment in my life when Mum and Dad saved the day and took Ziggy to France with them. It was a huge wrench, as she’s my little star, but at two years old I figured she was young enough to cope with the upheaval. And I was right, because according to Mum she spends most of her time exploring the neighbouring fields and is a diligent mouser: frequently leaving presents outside the back door.
How ironic that Karl is now firmly in my past and yet it would be unfair of me to expect my darling girl to be uprooted again. At the time, he couldn’t understand how upset I was to be parted from her.
‘She’s just a cat. Animals re-adjust very quickly. She’ll soon forget you and learn to love whichever hand feeds her.’ His comment had stung. I remember thinking that this was a man who wasn’t brought up with animals. They never forget someone who has shown them love – ever. Suddenly I feel a sense of peace washing over me – I’m home and yet this has never been my home, as such.
I’m afraid that anyone who can say ‘just a cat’ isn’t the right one for Anna Lacey … but in the story Ziggy soon makes her presence, and her preferences, known!
In real-life, Ziggy’s a cat who likes to climb inside boxes, even though she has a cuddly nest, a very tall climbing tower and about a dozen ‘Ziggy’ spots around the house. If you sit in one of them she soon lets you know!
She loves to climb both indoors and out of doors. Ziggy will bring in presents … mice and, sad to say, the occasional bird. We have managed to rescue quite a few of her little gifts, who went on to live a happy life – we hope.
Before we had Ziggy, our previous cat, Tiggy, was with us for nine years. He was a black and white farm kitten; the runt of the litter and the feral side of his nature meant he could switch from wanting his tummy tickled to swiping out at you. But when he wanted his cuddles he reverted to kitten mode and losing him broke our hearts.
Ziggy came along six months after our loss and without him the cottage we lived in at the time felt empty. Full, whenever the family arrived – but even sadder when they left.
Princess Ziggy is a delight. When the sun shines on her fur the tips are like little golden pinpricks. Her favourite toys are small plastic balls and the caps off water bottles, which she flips in the air with her paws and will happily play with for hours. Oh, and feathers … and felt mice which we hope will make up for the fact our new house is no longer in the middle of a forest.
Bengals are very active cats and are quite demanding. When we’ve been out for the day and we arrive back home she has to be the centre of our attention for a while, or she becomes a manic cat racing around to let us know she’s missed us! But half an hour of playing, some extra treats and she’s happy to curl up on my lap, content to know that we’re back where we belong.
So, Ziggy, take a bow and I do hope you’ve enjoyed meeting her.
If you want to read the opening chapters of THE FRENCH ADVENTURE written under my pen name of LUCY COLEMAN, then click here:
Thanks for popping in …