Albert in his kitten cardboard box
In the Autumn of 2008 on a whim I drove into the animal rescue centre at Dyserth and asked a remarkably wizened old lady with an unlit fag hanging out of her mouth if she had any cats who could hold their own against a quartet of terriers. She told me that she hadn't but took my telephone number " just in case"
That very afternoon she rang me
" we've just had an older kitten brought in by a woman with two staffies" she rasped
" He's a feisty little bugger".
I called down to the shelter later that day and literally minutes after seeing him, I took possession of a tiny wide eyed black kitten with a sad history.
Albert was the only survivor of a littler of feral kittens . His mother had brought them up in a farm outbuilding next to a busy road and had herself been killed the day after Albert's brother had been knocked over by a milk lorry. Albert and his sister had carried on in a fashion through the charity of one of the farm workers. It was the farm worker who had rescued him after Albert's sister was killed on the same patch of road.
It was the farm worker's wife who had re homed Albert after one of their staffie crosses had taken a dislike to the kitten.
The sob story was worthy of Walt Disney's BAMBI.
Albert arrived wide eyed yet remarkably calm, and set up home inside a cardboard box placed carefully on the dining room table. For six weeks he lived on the table and on the kitchen cabinets without once setting a foot on the floor ( even the cat littler was placed out of dog sniffing) and for six weeks he drove the dogs mad by remaining just that bit out of reach.
The resulting hysteria bubbled just under boiling point as the terriers lived in a permanent state of cat arousal
It was a long , long month and a half!
Then it all changed.
For one very cold night , he left the safety of the kitchen table and took his place in front of the fire with the other dogs as if he had been doing so for years
Apart from William raising a single eyebrow , nothing was ever said about this sudden assertion .
For nine years now Albert has been a true delight.
He's been knocked over by a car , breaking a leg, (which he still can't bend properly)
He has killed hundreds of rabbits, mice , small rats and birds
and he has gone out of his way to be an active part of the cottage dog pack spending a few minutes every day head rubbing each dog in turn in happy recognition of a friend well loved.
Albert is a constant backdrop to the more boisterous animals at bwthyn y llan, and is necessary to the running of the place as oxygen