A pet named Fiffi

About getting a pet.

To be perfectly honest we did not find our pet – she found us as so often is the case. It was a cool and grey December day three years ago, when she simply came along and changed our lives forever. This two-legged devil (we were not very fond of her in the beginning) put us in a soft carrier and together we traveled far to a completely new world.

In the gigantic room where we eventually ended up, we didn’t have to stay locked up in a cage anymore and instead it was the two-legged who set up a fence around her sleeping quarters. To ensure we wouldn’t again be thrown out with the garbage, we hid under the sofa for days, only coming out to play when the two-legged appeared to be sleeping.

Our new kingdom was grand with a big balcony, lots of room to run around, and a good selection of tasty geckos. Since the two-legged kept bringing other yummy food and she had the most fun, feathered and stuffed toys that kept jumping around, we eventually decided to adopt her as our pet. We call her Fiffi.

Out of the two of us, Robyn have always been the first one to courageously explore new things and surroundings, with Batcat tagging along once the coast is clear. So once we had accepted Fiffi, it came as no surprise that it took Robyn approximately five minutes to climb over the fence and into Fiffi’s very comfortable sleeping corner. Batcat however is a little heavier and not as athletic as his sister, so even though he really tried, the fence was just too difficult to climb. After all the fence was more than a meter tall, and he disappointingly found himself left on the outside. This was the exact moment that Batcat discovered his voice. Man is it powerful! Robyn gave him an encouraging smile and Fiffi quickly gave up on caging herself at night so that we could all easily enjoy the comfortable big bed together.

Back in the days when we both fitted comfortably in the chair.

Our first year with Fiffi was all smooth sailing. As Fiffi was away most weekdays we made a point of telling her about our day when she got back to us. She always replied and after awhile she even learned some basic Cat, though her meows were at times very puzzling to us. Encouraged by this language success we thought for a long time that we would be able to train her so that she might be of more use to us. Batcat was very persistent in trying to making her get him more food, but she seem to not understand at all poor thing. Since we needed her for claw trimming, getting occasional treats, and other essentials we accepted her not just as a pet but as one of us, as family.

But in our second year together, shit really hit the fan. Robyn was the first one to get the notorious cat flu and got so week that when Fiffi lifted her she just hung there like a rag-doll. There was real panic in Fiffi’s eyes and Batcat who was not feeling so well himself couldn’t even make a sound as they all traveled to the Vet. Now, if there was ever a point in our lives where we thought about getting rid of Fiffi, it was now. For ten days straight she kept bringing us back to the horrible Vet several times per days, and at home she forced us to eat disgusting medicine. As you all know, being sick is no fun so we were all in a terrible mood, hating each other and the world.

One night Robyn got sick so bad that she had to stay over night at the Vet, in a horrible little metal cage with lots of scary things around. A tube was inserted in one of her paws and as she simply couldn’t get it off, she stubbornly refused to eat or drink. Batcat couldn’t do a thing to save her, and to avoid meeting the same horrid fate he held on to his carrier bag with all his claws, screaming at the top of his lungs as soon as the Vet approached trying to lift him out of there. For Fiffi, this was clearly confusing as she had spent a good fifteen minutes and a lot of candy trying to get him into the carrier when they were still at home.

Anyhow, when Fiffi came back to the Vet the next morning Robyn had effectively scared all the other green clothed two-legged’s by being as difficult as possible. After loudly scolding Fiffi for leaving her in hell, Robyn managed to convince Fiffi that she had to bring her home again. And so begun the long nights where Fiffi sat watching over the shivering little ball of fur that was Robyn, whilst Batcat made aggressive moves out of jealousy or pms or whatever. This is the period in our life that we in the family refer to as the Dark Ages.

Batcat pretends that things are fine.

Not very long after the Dark Ages came the Big Journey. We knew something fishy was going on, because we had been given new strange houses to play and rest in, and Fiffi kept packing away her things. Never a good sign! One evening in May we once again found ourselves travelling far far away. No matter how much we begged Fiffi to take us home again, she just smiled with sad eyes asked us to try to stay calm. It was very clear that Fiffi herself was far from calm, so we ignored her pleads and kept shouting at her.

Getting out of the cab, we saw that we had reached a huge hall where there were countless two-legged’s walking around with suitcases. Robyn was anxiously shivering, breaking out into an oily sweat and basically looked like she was coming down sick again. Batcat was crawled up in the corner of his fairly big cage intensely wishing he was somewhere else where he could better hide. The last we saw of Fiffi was her worried face and then there was a very long dark but fairly comfortable Big Journey, until we found ourselves reunited with Fiffi in a much colder and dryer place.

As it turns out, we had moved to Sweden. We assumed this had something to do with the general health of Fiffi. You see, for quite some time Fiffi had been sick each time we hung out, sniffling, itching and tearing. It is never easy to let a pet go, but of course we must consider her health and well being first and foremost.

Robyn gets snugly with Fiffi.

With this new arrangement in Sweden, we don’t really get to see Fiffi any longer but we got something else that rocks our socks: a Swedish farm! We used to think our old house was a kingdom, but this new life is nothing short of amazing. In just three months we both doubled in weight (Batcat swears it’s all muscles) and we both grew so much more fur that we started longing for the cold winter in this exotic land. We are simply loving our new outdoors life, and we are free to hike as much as we like. Which is all the time actually.

What’s even better is that the new two-legged pets we have got instead of Fiffi, needs help catching mice around the property – something Robyn has mastered completely. Batcat is still always a few steps behind his sister, but he persists in teaching the new pets how to speak Cat, not giving up hope on being able to teach them to give him more sweets. We’ve also heard the two-leggeds refer to us as the special ones. For some strange reason they’ve never seen cats with short or curled tails before.

We always talk to our new pets, much like we did with Fiffi and it always reminds us of our life with her, mainly because they also never seem to really get it. But such is life with pets, you never know exactly what they’re up to or have in mind, but it’s wonderful to share this thing called life together.

Back in the days when we thought we could still fit comfortably together in the chair.

Catching up wherever we are

About friendship

There were a few mishaps on the way to Madrid, such as a very long transfer, a mobile phone that refused to accept Spain as a place to operate in, and because the airport express busses were mysteriously well hidden I kept my friends waiting for so long it can’t be mentioned in words.

But then I was there! It was Spanish dinner time (read; night time) so we grabbed some tapas while catching up in a whirlwind of questions, sangria, oh’s and ah’s. I hadn’t seen the Spaniards for over a year, and as we had mainly followed each other’s activities on Facebook there were a lot of news to share. It is true magic when you can simply continue where you last left off, and just roll with whatever is current. No need to “do you remember…” just to fill the silence. It rightfully gets a little jumpy, and there will inevitably be a few “what?!? ” and “didn’t you know??”. But knowing that you have a home with each other, whenever or wherever you are, is a blessing not to be taken for granted.

A day or so later the youngest ones and FF arrived in sandals and with open arms, brimming with travel memories. Now almost half the Singapore Family was gathered. It truly was glorious in all its normality. We ate an enormous amount of food, grabbed every chance (read; almost all the time) to hug one another, and just kept up light, deep, thoughtful and thoughtless conversations. Like with most families there’s a random mess of opinions, ideas, memories in the making or remembered, organizational discrepancies and lots of love. There were several times when I felt my heartbeat more strongly, when I tensed with shared pain, cried with laughter at things said or not at all explained, felt my chest expand with pride, moments of curiosity or insight, and sometimes I just smilingly looked at them all. And all of this in 12 wonderful hours.

Beautiful street sign above old style bar.

To me, friends we make and keep are like reflections of ourselves. They are almost different versions of ourselves, representing different parts of us and as such we grow together, we learn with and from each other and hopefully we challenge each other for the better. Someone said that friends are God’s way to apologize for family, but I think it’s more about creating your village. By taking an active role to find people and staying in touch with the ones that speak to our hearts, we take responsibility for our own village.

Having found myself back in Sweden after more than a decade away, I now have friends all over the world, and still I am blessed enough to return to arms that are still open and waiting. Overwhelmingly wonderful, I can’t express enough how grateful I am to have YOU ALL as my friends, old and new, near and far.

I never want to lose this feeling that I can jump on a plane tomorrow, or pick up the phone for just a five minute catch up, or write a letter, or spontaneously knock on someone’s door (watch out Gothenburg!!).

Reunion in Madrid.

Odd and interesting things in Spain:

  • Lunch starts at 2.30pm and dinner at 9pm. (Gah!)
  • A lot of doorknobs are placed in the lower centre part of the door, whilst the lock is where it should be, in the middle of the door on the side. Spanish people hence often open doors with their thighs.
  • People from Madrid are called “cats”. Adorable!!
  • 20 degrees and sunny, they call it cold. Ha! Welcome to Sweden; anytime of the year – bring thermal clothes.