My Beelzebub is a proper witch's black cat. Wide-eyed and lithe, she is my familiar straight from central casting. And she adores her mother: she is a one-woman cat. Strangers come to the door and she hides until they have gone. I come to the door and she purrs. She wakes me in the morning by putting her face close to mine and 'singing' - for all the world as if she is humming and purring at the same time. This morning, I glimpsed her shadow behind the curtain in the spare room as I left for work. "Goodbye," I said, "I'll see you tonight." She came out, yowling her response. She is a very vocal cat.
She refuses to be put in a cat carrier. When we moved house for the first time, I tried to put her into a large cardboard box. She repeatedly punched her way out. Then I nearly lost her up the chimney. Eventually, I was able to get her into a hessian sack and carry her on my knee in the car, talking to her all the time. On arrival at her new abode, she hid for a day and would only eat Yeo Valley yoghurt.
The contrast with her black and white brother Wombat is immense. They have had the same life experiences but they are very different characters. Whereas she is finely-built, he is a chunky man in the Bagpuss mould. Where she is shy, he is confident and gregarious. Where she is vocal, he meows rarely and has a deep, low, reassuring purr.
They both sleep on my bed at night; B at my feet and Wom curled in beside me. I used to wonder how it was possible to have more than one pet and not have a favourite. Now I know: they are very different but I adore them equally.