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Shades of Scarlett - By Marion Carter

Scarlett as a Kitten.

Scarlett was born on 24 August 1994 in Northumberland at the home of her breeders, Eileen and Barry Welsh. Her registered name is Feorag Fanny Blott, but she was usually referred to as "beery nose" because the only way to tell her apart from her sister was by the stronger red colour across her nose. I named her Scarlett because of her rich red colouring and also because it's the title of one of my all-time favourite songs "Scarlett" by The Adventures.

However, it didn't take long to realise just how appropriate her name really was! This cat is the feline version of Scarlett O'Hara! Convinced that the whole world revolves around her and determined to get her own way, she is fully aware of just how beautiful she is and demands constant admiration. She is the original "snooty agouti" and although she loves me, everybody else is considered to be inferior - nose in the air and with a flick of her bushy tail she utters a silent "fiddle-dee-dee".

Then in the spring of 1996 Scarlett took to staying out overnight from time to time. These overnight stays soon stretched into two or three days, and I was getting distinctly anxious about her. Sometimes she would come back of her own accord but more often than not I had to go and find her. Now we live in the middle of the countryside and there are numerous places for a cat to hide out. For a while I could be fairly sure of finding her up at the old quarry living on rabbits, but then she moved on from there and I didn't know where she was. Scarlett O'Hara had literally "gone with the wind", or possibly turned into the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel!

Snooty Scarlett!

A rather tearful phone call to Eileen and Barry elicited the information that Somalis have a tendency to revert to the wild if the hunting conditions are right. My posh pedigree had gone feral! They knew of a previous instance where a male Somali took to living rough in the woods at the back of his house, and although he was regularly sighted he never bothered going home again. My nerves were not up to coping with the constant worry of whether Scarlett was safe or not (by now I had got through most of my collection of whisky miniatures), so the only solution was to build her a secure run. Fortunately space was not a problem and so a 28 foot run with all kinds of climbing frames, scratching posts and a little house was built especially for madam.

Needless to say, she took umbrage at first - pacing up and down like a caged tiger and hanging on the netting shrieking. But after about ten days she seemed to decide it wasn't so bad after all. She had all these toys for her exclusive use without having to share them with the hoi-polloi that were my other cats of less exalted ancestry than herself, and she still got to be carried indoors at the first sign of inclement weather. Nowadays she regards her run as her palace and smirks regally at the peasants who aren't allowed in. Although Scarlett's freedom has been restricted, at least I'm no longer in danger of becoming an alcoholic because of her disappearing acts.

Marion Carter  

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