Me and my Pet - Lotte Inch and Saffie

PUBLISHED: 09:10 25 June 2018

Where is that blooming cat? Oh, there she is. Saffie welcomes Lotte home in her own unique way

Where is that blooming cat? Oh, there she is. Saffie welcomes Lotte home in her own unique way

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York gallery owner Lotte Inch paints a picture of life with her cat Saffie

Saffie celebrates the launch of York’s first Bloom! Festival by sitting in a box of flowers (cats can be very literal sometimes)Saffie celebrates the launch of York’s first Bloom! Festival by sitting in a box of flowers (cats can be very literal sometimes)

I will never forget the day that little Saffie (Saffie-Cat, the Safster) joined our family. After a less than calm journey back from Pontefract during which our tiny kitten escaped from her carrier and clambered around the car, it was a relief to arrive home.

For a while, Saffie and I both just sat, contemplating each other, her watching cautiously from half-closed eyelids, me wondering if this had been a good idea after all. She was so little. And I’d never owned a cat before. She quickly started purring though and promptly fell asleep.

Later that day as I came home with mountains of cat food, I was welcomed back by this tiny little creature, so obviously happy to have company again and running straight towards me with glee. It was at this point that I became a crazy cat lady and any doubts I’d felt about bringing this fragile thing into our home vanished in an instant. I just had to persuade my other half now.

Over Skype between York and Ibiza, Dan was introduced to this timid little feline being. They met two days later, when we began our new life as Lotte, Dan and Saffie (as we finally agreed to name her). I can’t believe that was five years ago!

From this miniature thing that slept inside Dan’s slipper to a still-little but thoroughly fearless and determined cat, I really don’t know what I’d do without her. Annoying as she can be, scratching the sofa, chasing butterflies and the occasional bird, she is also an intuitive and sensitive creature.

Many people say she’s more like a dog and sometimes I have to agree, particularly when she’s following me around the house, sitting at the table watching me work, jumping on my lap as soon as I take a seat and getting under my feet whenever I open the fridge. She also frequently follows me to the local shop, where she sits patiently underneath the residents’ noticeboard and waits for me.

Saffie is very aware when I’m not well or feeling unhappy, picking up on my emotions before I’ve even got a handle on them myself. Her presence in these moments is always calming and reassuring, providing a distraction from the mountains made out of molehills.

This is so essential at the moment, when life and work have blurred into one hectic tangle. Juggling two jobs and trying to live some semblance of a normal life as wife, daughter, sister and friend can be trying. Curating Bloom! for Make It York while managing my gallery requires my unfaltering attention, but I know I can rely on the comfort provided by my excited cat welcoming me home every evening.

As she rolls on her back purring with relief that someone is home to feed her, she’ll never know the relief that I feel when I hear her pawsteps coming down the stairs to greet me or when her face appears around the front door at the end of another long day.

* Bloom! is York’s new horticultural festival, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Ancient Society of York Florists with more 120 events across the city from July 5th-8th. Find out more at bloomyork.com. The Lotte Inch Gallery is in Bootham, York. For details, visit lotteinch.co.uk.

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