Me and My Pet - Kirsty Warren and Lodger
PUBLISHED: 00:00 23 May 2018
Animal Trust vet Kirsty Warren on her unflappable cat Lodger
I bought my first ever house in Morley, West Yorkshire, seven years ago. It happened to have a cat flap in the back door and after I’d been there for three months, I woke up one morning to find a little cat curled up at the foot of my bed.
She ran off when I woke but began sneaking into the kitchen at night for the next few weeks, which was when I started calling her ‘the lodger’. After a while, she started waiting for me to come home from work so she could curl up on my lap as I unwound from a hard day with a cuppa and a good book.
When I was off work with flu, she didn’t leave my side. When I got better, she turned up one night with a collar saying she lived at number 14, a neighbouring house. I was devastated. I can only assume she went back to her original home during the day and joined me in the evening, but then changed her routine to keep me company when I was ill. I put a note through the door at number 14, apologising for accidentally stealing their cat and sadly locked the cat flap.
After a very upsetting day, there was a knock at the door. It was the lady from number 14 saying her cat had come home with a very sore nose (from trying to get in my cat flap) and that she had found my note and realised why. She had nine other cats and knew Lodger (as I now called her) didn’t really like being part of a big feline gang. She realised, as all cat owners do, that Lodger knew her own mind and very kindly agreed she could come and live with me.
Lodger has graced me with her presence for seven years now and still waits for me to come home for a bit of R&R after a hard day.
A lot of cats are independent and resent sharing their territory, so much so that poor Lodger get stress-related cystitis if another cat so much as dares enter our house. This is actually quite a common condition and I can truly sympathise with the owners of the stressed-out moggies I see at my practice. Lodger now has a microchip cat flap to keep out intruders, a wet food diet and plenty of water round the house to help manage the condition.
She is getting to be a bit of an elderly lady now and her kidneys are starting to struggle. While a special diet slows down the deterioration, I know I won’t have her for ever – I just hope I can keep her comfortable and well for a bit longer. I see so many other cats with similar problems in my job and know just what the owners are going through, which I hope makes me a better vet.
I am so grateful Lodger wandered in to my house all those years ago and made it her home.
Kirsty Warren is lead vet at the newly opened Animal Trust, the UK’s first not-for-profit veterinarian clinic. For further information, visit animaltrust.org.uk.