One of the expected joys when moving from London to Kent was the idea that I could have a cat again. My last cat, Caspar, died of old age in 2017 and since then I have been missing the company of my cats.
As it turns out, there is no shortage of creature sociability in the new house: there are bats and newts, and recently a stately rat was seen strolling through the garden: another reason if you needed one to get a cat.
I got the late Caspar – a strikingly pretty black cat – from a card in the window of a newsagent’s offering kittens for free in a good home, and I was hoping to find another kitten in the same way. But an online search found commonplace moggies selling for over £ 100, while even cat rescue centers, where black cats are often the last to be relocated, had no adoption candidates.
That is likely to change as the rise in pet lockdowns turns into regret for pets. In March, the BBC reported that around 3.2 million households had purchased an animal during the pandemic, 59 percent of them in the under 35 age group who may have fond memories of dogs and cats from their childhood. Expectations for these pandemic pets were high: many new owners said they had “helped with their mental health problems”.
But as ownership grew heavier, many newly acquired pets turned out to be more of a source of stress than a panacea. Animal welfare organizations report a sharp increase in the number of people seeking advice on problem behaviors (that of the pet instead of their own).
As lockdown restrictions wear off this month and owners return to work, this problem behavior is likely to intensify – and with it the number of animals given to charities or simply abandoned.
Years ago I found an abandoned tortoiseshell kitten in a remote alley. She was hungry, bug infested, and clearly had once been a pet in desperate need of human company. I don’t want to get to know my next cat like this – but I keep an eye on the hedges just in case.
Let’s not forget Mark Cavendish
As I write this on Sunday, I have no idea whether it is coming home or not. And honestly, it doesn’t really bother me either. My partner and son are football crazy, so I try to get interested (and sometimes scare myself with my unwanted knowledge) and I’ll watch the game – if only to gauge the mood on Monday morning.
But while football leaves me cold, the Tour de France grabbed me. On Friday night, Gary Imlach, the captivating Hangdog host on ITV coverage, predicted sprinter Mark Cavendish’s brilliant performance with winning his 34th and so it mainly proved itself (although The Sunday Telegraph posted a full-page profile of Cavendish ).
I started to watch the tour to keep my partner company, but was quickly fascinated by its drama: the peloton unraveling like a ball of rainbow wool over the spectacular French landscape, the complexity of the competition and the changing fate of its own Attendees.
If soccer is a cartoon full of cheers, tears, and ridicule, the tour is a novel: an unfolding narrative that will captivate you inexorably, with extraordinary characters, strange twists, and a cliffhanger in each chapter.