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Tiffanie Troubles with Lena:
(Ad – I have been paid to write this post. All thoughts are my own)
Lena, or to use her full name Seysiana Evangeline, is a Tiffanie cat. Some 14 years or so ago now I was looking for a new kitten. Despite having lived with moggies all my life, usually rescue cats from a sanctuary, when I came to look for a cat to share my home in Fulham I started to research ‘posh cats’.
With limited outdoor space, I didn’t want to end up with a street cat, unhappy to be confined to a tiny terrace. Tiffanies are a cross between Burmese and Chinchilla cats and temperamentally are well suited to indoor life. Even to this day, despite a pretty garden looking out over the park, Lena likes being ‘safe’ and stays within the garden walls.
She does behave exactly as the breeder predicted – she’ll take a good look at opportunities for what I regard as normal cat behaviour, put her head on one side and seem to say
‘Well, why exactly do you think I should chase that mouse. You want it caught? You go chase it…’
‘I don’t think I can jump that far – and if I did manage to get up there, I’d never make my way down without help. So, I’m digging my claws in and staying put!’
In many ways, she’s the perfect London cat. I work from home and she’s a chatty little thing, who spends a lot of her time looking at me and asking me why I am not spending more time cuddling her. Right now, I can feel her eyes in the back of my neck and she’s chirruping away in the background.
Having decided I wanted a Tiffanie, I came home from the breeder with two kittens – Lena and a half brother, Misha – a cross-breed from another litter. Sadly, he was not a healthy boy and for most of his life was on medication. As he became more and more poorly, he hated anyone except him getting my attention. Lena became an object of hatred for him and so she and I developed a strategy to make her life comfortable. She slept under the bedcovers, cuddled up to me so that he didn’t notice her. She would hide on my lap under the desk. And, when he went out onto the roof terrace, she’d come back in. I loved him too – but we believe he was never completely comfortable and he behaved like a grumpy old man most of the time. But, when he passed away, I resolved that Lena would be an only cat for the rest of her life.
Meanwhile, the presence of a bigger, fiercer brother didn’t stop Lena from finding her own space as a young cat. While she never hunted she did empathise with her larger and wilder cousins. And, from the photos of my young cat, it is obvious that Lena was a diva from the start. She loved being photographed and would pose even when I really didn’t need her help.
We moved house a couple of weeks after Misha’s death – and now both live in South London where Lena has her own garden, a cat flap that she rarely uses as she prefers her human slave to open doors for her and sole occupancy of the cat tower. Very occasionally we have a temporary lodger or 6. Charlie Shed Cat came to live in my garden shed one winter and she let him stay for a month or so until he could find another home. In fact, they got on quite well, mostly because Charlie seemed quite relaxed about Lena occasionally taking a swipe at him. As if he was looking at her and suggesting that she wasn’t actually a real cat at all.
We’ve had nursing mums and kittens on a foster care basis in the spare bedroom. That usually results in Lena sitting guard outside the door while the foster mum and her babies take ownership of the bedroom. This is definitely Lena’s house.
She does still sleep under the bedcovers with me, especially if it’s cold. And she prefers whatever I am having for supper to her own food (unless mine turns out to be spicy). Her biggest angst is that I have something called a ‘laptop’ which I put on my lap and which gets in the way of cuddles. And she loves the fire in the living room and the fact she is a sole cat and can pick her perfect spot. I really need to make sure she has a cat-tree in every room – her absolutely favourite place to sit.
In the summer she joins me in the garden and picks a spot usually on top of whatever flowers or seedlings I am trying to nurture.
Or occasionally she’ll try to help the washing dry…by sitting on it!
It’s difficult to be cross with her though because she is very sweet natured and spends most of her life posing, purring and sleeping.
Tiffanies are semi-long-haired cats. But, the breed doesn’t need a lot of grooming. Despite that, Lena is full of purrs at the sight of the grooming comb and brush. She knows she looks especially lovely when her fur has been fluffed up.
She’s been aPetplan Pet Insurance baby all her life (on the Covered for Life scheme)- and has benefited from various treatments most recently including some dental work. Pedigree Cats do tend to be a little more delicate than moggies. That said, I wouldn’t consider owning a cat without a good pet insurance policy, whether that be a moggie like Marmaduke, my old boy who tried to escape from a 4th floor window and suffered nothing more than a broken tooth and a black nose when he landed in the bush below, or a precious little Diva like Lena.
I’d hate to be in a situation where I was struggling to afford the right treatment for her and although to-date she hasn’t needed too much support, her half brother did benefit from thousands of pounds of specialist care covered by Petplan – and lived till he was nine years old, rather than the eighteen months that the vet initially gave him.
Lena is a part of my family – and since there’s no NHS for cats, I’m very happy that there’s a good and reliable insurance scheme.
I know I’m not alone, the Petplan Pet Census 2018 tells us more about pet ownership across the UK. And, Petplan also has a whole series of Pethood Stories on their site. So if you want to read more about how much people in the UK love their animals, take a look and you can check out some fascinating real-life relationships.
Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with Petplan but all thoughts are my own.