The Story of Hermia – née Spud
Who would call a cat Spud for goodness sake? But she was rescued, together with her kittens and that name from a nasty situation somewhere in Macclesfield and was placed at Windyway our local animal sanctuary. We first met her in the large pen where she was housed, purring and rubbing round us, while her little daughter Lottie limped away from us, cowering suspiciously on her three legs, though she let her chief carer comfort her. Spud’s other kittens had all been successfully rehomed, but it was proving difficult with Lottie who had had to have a leg amputated, and for her mother, for far fewer people will take on a mature cat – most people want a kitten. The staff described ‘Spud’ as ‘so sweet’ and pleaded with us to take her as well as her daughter, for little Lottie was so nervous that they worried she would be terrified in a new setting without Mum. We looked at each other and could not say ‘No’ though it would push us up to five cats and Graham had always said ‘Four’s the limit’.
And so they both came home and were renamed Hermia (because it’s a pretty name) and Odette – after Odette Churchill, so brave in the war, and Odette in Swan Lake because she has to be so good at balance. Hermia proved to be a ‘mother superior‘ making a wonderful job of helping her terrified little daughter to settle well with us, but there was a price to pay. Hermia hated Adora Bubble, who was half her size, and the feeling was entirely mutual. The Tortie Wars broke out and our normally peaceful household was totally disrupted. We struggled for about 18 months and then it became clear that something had to give, and that something was Hermia’s presence in our household. I hated the idea of parting with her as she was so affectionate with us and loved the grandchildren when they came to visit us. But Adora Bubble was horribly traumatised, hardly coming out of her refuge up in the airing cupboard and telling me it was all my fault. She was right, so something had to be done. but it would have been awful to have to concede total defeat by taking her back to Windyway and perhaps not then know what had happened to her. It seemed she should be somewhere where she could be Queen Bee with no other cats. We were lucky. The problem was resolved by Phoebe and Ruby, who enjoyed Hermia’s company more and more when they came to our house. At bath time back in the girls’ own home when I raised the question of trying to find her another home with their parents, Phoebe burst into tears at the idea of Hermia going away and asked why she could not come to live with them. This had not occurred to any of us as Pudding and Pie were already in residence. But a week’s trial was agreed. Pudding and Pie swiftly put Hermia in her place and Buster the golden retriever was easy about another cat and he became her hero. Several years later, Hermia is still there.
She still has her little foibles, but her great and endearing strength is that she adores children. She was happy to let little Ruby lug her about and has become a regular feature of bedtime for the girls, settling contentedly on the bed. She has never shown any resentment to me for parting with her and is always delighted to see me, but it is Ruby with whom she has truly bonded and it is lovely to see . . .