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The Ginger Darlings, a trio
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Since the account below was originally written towards the end of 2007, sadly three of the four 'gingers' have died and are buried in Jackie's garden. Martha, 'the old one', was first to go in September 2010, aged about 15. Of the three younger 'Ginger Darlings', as they were known, Maurice died in March 2011 from causes that weren't clear but may have been associated with breathing difficulties he had been experiencing. And Pixie died in September 2012; she also had been having breathing problems, but her actual death may have been down to a large dog that invaded the garden one day. All this is reported in the We Three Cats blog, and also Elmo now has his own Facebook page: I am Cat (also the title of a book by Jackie).
In August 2012, not long before Pixie died, Jackie posted A measure of life in cats with a wonderful illustration of all her cats to that point.
But now there are new arrivals! Rather than perpetuating the line of ginger cats, Jackie preferred to keep memories of them separate and special and take a new direction. Since December 2012 she has had two gorgeous Bengal kittens, brother and sister Mr Genji and Lady Spittifer, also known as Baggage and Bundle. As a pair they're referred to as the 'Bengal Babies' (selected images left and right, between the dividers). Elmo has got used to them, and there are numerous great images and short videos of them on his Facebook page and on the blog page, both linked above.
[ Mid-June 2013: tragically, Genji (aka Bundle) has also now been lost, to a road accident. ]
We liked the Things Maurice taught us, published after his passing, and reproduce them here with permission:
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Artist, book illustrator and writer Jackie Morris lives in 'a ramshackle cottage held together with spider's webs', as she puts it, by the sea on the Pembrokeshire coast of south-west Wales. She shares the cottage with her children Tom and Hannah, two dogs Bella and Floss and five cats.
Max is a dark tabby who enjoys posing for paintings and appears in several of the books Jackie has illustrated. Martha is the oldest of the four ginger cats; she sees it as her duty to purr Hannah to sleep at night and to wake her in the morning. And then there are the 'Ginger Darlings', otherwise known as 'The Three' or 'We Three' Maurice, Pixie and Elmo. The first two arrived after the death of Arthur, Martha's ginger brother; Jackie meant to get one kitten, but 'Arthur had been such a big cat, and they were so small' that she took home two.
They liked to curl up to sleep on top of dog Bella so it was natural that when Bella went for a walk, the kits followed, 'prowling like tiny tigers through the forest of grass, running and hiding and tumbling'. As the youngsters grew, the walks became longer. Elmo, the third of 'The Three', was taken in after black cat Bird died of old age; right from the start he took to joining the walkers. They walk up to four miles a day.
Now, morning and evening, two dogs and three cats accompanying their human make an unusual sight along the Pembrokeshire coastal path. The cats pick their way across moorland, have learned to navigate stiles, and sometimes climb up onto signposts. They don't seem to mind what the weather is like, but they do carefully avoid boggy and muddy areas. Generally Elmo likes to lead, Maurice will wander here and there investigating things and running up hills and gateposts, while Pixie likes to stand as though admiring the view and then leaps out at Jackie as she walks past. The cats will mew for her and the dogs to wait if they get left too far behind.
Ramblers and other walkers, of course, do a double-take when they meet Jackie and her entourage: 'But they’re cats ...' One walker told her, 'You're supposed to keep your dog on a lead'; Jackie replied, 'But he's a cat.' Generally the cats are wary of other humans, preferring to sit under a bush and watch them pass, but occasionally they'll say 'hello'. Wild ponies and the Highland cattle that came to share the hillsides made them nervous at first, but now they take most things in their stride. They especially love bees and dragonflies, whose movements fascinate them, and in late summer they enjoy watching and listening to the grey seals and their pups below them on the coast.
The remarkable trio have been featured in Your Cat magazine, in local and national newspapers and on BBC Radio Wales. They are said to be looking for a book contract! They also have their own website and blog which, says Jackie, receives nearly as many visitors as her own site. We hope you will join the visitors to both these excellent sites, where you will find many more pictures and a great deal else. I must say I find the cats' blogspot one of the best and most interesting I have come across, and it's beautifully presented.
We're most grateful to Jackie Morris for contacting us in 2007 about her unusual cats, and for her kind permission to use the superb photos illustrating this account. Many more can be found at the We Three blog/website, which is regularly updated with new additions. See also Jackie's YouTube channel.
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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Socks, pictured in 2003 surveying his 'estate' in the early morning sunshine. Affectionately known as Soxy, he blossomed from a thin and hungry stray into a substantial and handsome cat who loved life and company, and his gentle ways endeared him to many friends. He is now no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.
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Page created December 2007, with later revisions and additions