Amy, our Doncaster vet, quickly found out that her cat Trouble lived up to his name!
Meet Trouble and BlackJack. Growing up we always had cats, and in 2012, for the 1st time in my life, our home was cat-less (my sister having taken our previous cat, Missy, when she moved out). Our neighbour had found a cat under his oil tank, complete with litter of 5 kittens, and asked if I would mind checking them all over, having just bought my own house and plans to move out soon, it was the ideal time to get a kitten, safe from the family dogs who had never quite accepted that there was a cat living upstairs!
I selected the largest of the litter, a ball of fluff, simply because he had a mirror image face of Missy and all the cheek of our last cat Rascal. I already had a name – Trouble - because wherever Rascal went, trouble was sure to follow, so the next cat, following Rascal, had to be Trouble!
Once he was ready to come home, he made the long journey from 2 doors away to live upstairs at my parents until our own house was ready. He very quickly showed that he lived up to his name! My sister fell in love and asked if there were any kittens remaining, the neighbour had 2 still in need of a home, so I popped back round and home came the fluffier of the 2 black ones.
My sister planned to name him Jack (after Jack Skellington), which was quickly turned into BlackJack by our father (and Trouble got FruitSalad...) It soon became apparent that Trouble and BlackJack were the best of friends, and BlackJack wasn’t going anywhere!
They quickly learnt to sit, give paw and play fetch, and got themselves into a lot of trouble as well! I remember spending 3 hours searching the house for Trouble, with BlackJack running round behind me every step of the way, only to finally hear a pitiful meow – he’d got himself on top of the wardrobes and managed to slip behind! They were screwed to the wall, so I had no way of helping him, beyond passing a towel down and hoping he’d grab on so I could pull him up – 3 attempts and he managed it! You’d think he’d learn, but he fell down again, and then so did BlackJack over the course of the next year (yes, it took that long to make my new house habitable!)
Trouble is more outgoing and will allow strangers to pet him, BlackJack hides until they leave then refuses to vacate my lap for several hours! He even chooses to allow Trouble first choice of breakfast when I come home in favour of snuggles (usually as I’m trying to eat my own breakfast!) After a long, stressful or upsetting night shift at work, I know I will always have someone to come home to with unconditional love and all the cuddles I could want.
I certainly think the strong bond I have had with all my pets, past and present, makes me a better vet, as I am more understanding of the bond that exists, often being stronger than that between humans.
Amy Johnson is a Veterinary Surgeon at Vets Now Doncaster