The two of us were
meant to be. There's no doubt about it. We'd had 2 seal
point Siamese when I was a teenager and when they died,
although I'd left home by then, I began to get twitchy
about there being no cats in the family any longer. I
wasn't sure, living on my own and working shifts, that
I could cope with a full blooded Siamese, so I'd looked
around unsuccessfully for a half Siamese cat. Things got
left, until that summer I read "Cats in the Belfry",
a very funny book about 2 Siamese cats, became completely
broody and decided to phone some breeders again. When
I rang the first one, I couldn't believe my ears. Yes,
they had a half Siamese kitten. Yes, he was male. Yes
he was all black. Yes he was 4 months old. (I couldn't
have coped with a younger one because of the problems
of shift work and feeding a very young kitten 4 times
a day.) The only thing they couldn't tell me was whether
he had the Siamese yowl. They thought he might be dumb
because they'd never heard him miaow or purr.
I didn't drive in those days, so a friend took me round
to the breeders. Alexander was brought to me, wriggled
straight out of my grasp and vanished. When he was brought
back I could feel him tensed the whole time he was on
my lap despite the fact I was talking to him and fussing
him. If I hadn't held him firmly, he'd have been off like
a shot again (one of his subsequent nicknames was Black
Flash). Cats normally relax very quickly with me, so I
really had serious doubts about whether he'd settle. We
agreed that I'd take him home and if he was clearly unhappy,
I'd bring him back and take an 8 month old pedigree queen
who, unlike Alexander, was doing her best to sell herself
to me. Because he was such a wriggler and so quick, the
breeder said that it would be best if I got into the car
and she'd bring Alexander out and hand him to me.
his new territory
This was when it
became embarrassing! As soon as he realised he was leaving
home and coming with me, Alexander began to purr, more
loudly than I've ever heard any cat purr before or since.
He spent the entire journey bolt upright on my lap and
purred at full volume the whole way home. We got back
to my small flat and he promptly did a tour of the whole
place commenting freely and at length on everything he
saw. And this was the cat the breeders thought might be
dumb! Once he'd done the entire circuit he jumped on the
settee, made sure he was touching me and promptly fell
asleep, one very relaxed little kitten - provided I didn't
move! Talk about a U turn, and all in the space of a couple
The kitten who'd never miaowed
or purred had certainly made up for it within a day of moving
in with me.
Although the breeders
had looked after him and certainly hadn't mistreated him,
there were a lot of cats in their house. I realised afterwards
that Alexander had the Siamese bonding instinct and just
desperately wanted a human all to himself. He'd been thwarted
in a house heavy on cats and short on humans.
They say you never get a 50/50 mix with a half Siamese
and I certainly didn't with Alexander. Apart from his
colouring, he was almost entirely Siamese in build, coat
and temperament. By the time my Mum came over to see him
the following day, he wouldn't let me out of his sight
and was very clearly "my cat".
ownership - his ownership of me. This picture was taken
the day after he came home with me.
One of the things
I love about Siamese, is that all the ones I've had anything
to do with have purred at the drop of a hat. Alexander
was a hunter and when he was in his prime, he'd see me
off to bed and then I'd hear the catflap bang as he went
out for the night. Occasionally (I'm a very sound sleeper),
I'd hear the catflap bang when he came home again, then
I'd hear the sound of him coming up the stairs, followed
by the thud as he jumped on the bed and settled down,
purring away to himself. One of the nicest things of all
is to hear a cat purr for no reason other than all's well
in his world and he's contented with life.
A model cat!
Alexander loved playing games and we had several ongoing
ones. A favourite was for me to clap my hands and say
"where's that cat?" which was the cue for him
to hare off, usually up the stairs (I'd moved to a house
only a few months after I'd got him), and "hide"
- usually in the same place. I'd run up the stairs after
him and find a pair of bright eyes, full of anticipation
looking out from some hidey hole. I'd pick him up and
he'd purr away. We often had to repeat the game several
times in quick succession - who needs to work out at a
gym when they've got a cat?! We also had a ritual at bedtime.
Once I was finished in the bathroom, I'd come downstairs
to get him and there'd be no sign of him. He was invariably
hiding under the coffee table pretending he didn't want
to be picked up. I'd retrieve him and take him upstairs
with me, purring his head off yet again. The games I wasn't
so keen on were the ones that involved me going upstairs
with a cat's jaw firmly attached to my ankle. There was
also the occasional night when he didn't wait to be collected,
but was sitting by the bed waiting for me with a particular
glint in his eyes that told me as soon as I moved either
foot from the floor to the bed, I was going to have a
cat pouncing on it..
Me and my boy
He enjoyed going for
walks with me and when he was older, would often sit by
the door waiting for me to notice that it was time for
our late evening stroll. I had some very strange looks
when people out walking their dogs saw me, walking around
the block, apparently on my own. On passing the time of
day, I could see the incredulous looks on their faces
when I threw into the conversation that I was taking the
cat for a walk. The looks then changed to amazement when
Alexander, who didn't like to be kept waiting, would appear
out of the shadows to chivvy me along.
The welcome I got when I came home depended very much
on how long I'd been out and the time of day. He'd never
forgotten the days when I worked a night shift a couple
of times a week. (When he was out hunting, he liked to
know I was available to run home to if needs be, so my
night shifts didn't suit him at all.) So if I came home
late at night, he was so pleased I was back that I was
met at the garage and escorted home. (It's in a separate
block very near to the house.) If I'd been out all afternoon,
I was met at the foot of the stairs, although if I stopped
to talk to a neigbour for too long, I'd hear the catflap
bang and he'd be out asking me what I thought I was doing
keeping him waiting..If I'd only been out an hour or two,
it didn't justify him getting off the bed.
Keeping a watchful
eye on things
Alexander saw himself
as a very important member of the household; which indeed
he was, and couldn't bear to be left out of anything.
When it came to building this website, he would never
have forgiven me for excluding him, so you'll find him
at the bottom of a number of pages, usually making a comment
or two. He'd be on more, but I didn't have a digital camera
in those days, so the pictures I have of him are limited.
made sure he was included in anything that was going on.
Alexander lived a
long and, I think, a very happy life. Talking to other
catlovers, it seems we all have one cat that stands out
from the rest. A cat with whom we have a very special
relationship that's never quite repeated with subsequent
cats, however much we love them. Alexander was mine.
One of my favourite
pictures of Alexander