Basil I was one of a litter born to Smokey at our house 22 years ago. He was a large smokey grey tabby, really quite a magnificent animal. However, he was nervous around strangers, and would only let the family approach him.
On the day we moved here to Devon House 11 years ago, we had four cats to make the move with us. On the evening of the day of the move, I had to fly out unexpectedly to Sydney, because my mother was dying. We were not able to find Basil before I left. The new occupants of our former house moved in that day, and no doubt Basil decided he was not going to hang around with strangers. We never saw him again.
Six years ago, Peg Dale, who ran a Cat Shelter, advertised that she had a smoky grey tabby who had obviously been feral for a while, and did anyone think they knew where he had come from. He was a huge and proud animal, and Peg refused to have him desexed, even though she was President of the Cat Welfare Association.
A few months later, Peg rang to say that she needed to go into hospital, and would we consider taking the cat. We said we needed to think about it, and rang her that evening to say we would. But she said she had just found a home for him with someone else.
The lady who took him shut him in her house while she went to work the next day. Some tradesmen who came to the house let him out...and not only that, they accidently ran over him and killed him.
What we had not known was that when this cat had been trapped in Cascade Valley some months before, he had two kittens with him, obviously his own offspring. One of these had been given to a doctor who was working here at the time. But around the time the father cat was killed, the doctor left the island, and a new home had to be found for the young one.
To cut a long story short, we ended up taking him, and he has been a most wonderful companion. Dr Foong had named hin Oscar, but we re-named him Basil II, because he looks so much like our original cat, and we are quite convinced he is probably descended from him, because he was found in the valley where our old Basil would have gone 'wild'.
He hates to be picked up, but adores a lap. When he hears visitors pull up in the driveway, it is a race between Basil and Digby the Chihuahua to the loungeroom, in order to get the first lap when people sit down. He adores it when Trevor, our plumber friend, comes, because then he is given a most wonderful animal massage. Once again, it is a race between him and Digby, to see who will be first in the queue!
In the picture below, Baqsil is cuddling up to Oliver, the Si-Rex, who is around the same age.
We only have two cats now. It is many years since we have had as few as that. At one stage, we had five cats and three dogs. Come to think of it, we nearly always have three dogs even now, because we mind Charles' and Peter's dogs when they are out, and Charles and Kim's two cats always come to visit when their owners wander up to our place. But we would not have it any other way! Our pets really enhance our lives!
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