Let me tell you about Bagheera.

The bundle of fun above came to us by way of the wonderful Cotswold Dogs and Cats Home in March 2017. We’d recently said goodbye to the spiky but soulful Sid Vicious – who’d come to us as a kitten from the Cats’ Protection League – leaving a black cat-shaped hole in our lives.

Baggy had had a troubled first three years of his life. We were told he’d absconded on more than one occasion – once from a farm (you have never met a cat less likely to suit life on a farm than comfort-loving, scared-of-his-shadow Bagheera) and had sought shelter in an elderly lady’s garage. The only way the team at CDCH could coax him out the corner of his run was by talking very quietly and leaving a trail of Dreamies. Consequently, he was a very big lad when we brought him home in a borrowed small dog carrier (there were actual titters when we produced our own modestly-sized cat carrier… complete with Martin Brody-esque murmurs about needing something bigger).

Great British Life: Bagheera's notes at CDCHBagheera's notes at CDCH (Image: Candia McKormack)The years have passed, and Baggy has become a confident, much-loved member of the family… complete with baffling quirks and idiosyncrasies. This spring, he took to hanging out behind the railings of the university halls of residence next door, seeking attention, ear rubs and treats from passers-by. Concerned neighbours wondered whether he might be homeless, which led to him being taken to a local vet’s where he was given a health check and micro-chip scan. After a phone call from the vet, who declared him to be in fine fettle, we brought him home.

The neighbourly concerns continued, though, and I’d find myself loitering by the railings next to Baggy, telling people that, honestly, he had a loving home and was just laying it on a bit thick to get attention. Realising this behaviour wasn’t sustainable, I penned a little note, laminated it and attached it to the railings:

This adorable little monkey’s name is Bagheera. He lives happily at number 52 (the door to your left) and has a cat flap round the back that he gets to by jumping over the wall at the back of the halls of residence. He loves the fuss he gets in the summer months as he ‘hangs out’ behind the railings, but please be reassured he’s well loved and will pop back home when he’s hungry (he’s also micro-chipped so will find his way back to us if he were to go on adventures… but we’d rather he didn’t). Thanks for caring – Baggy and his cat-loving human friends at 52 really appreciate it. x

So now, as long as the weather holds, our neighbourhood has a new attraction, Baggy is lapping up the attention, and he’s even been anonymously left a small toy monkey to keep him company.

Welcome to our pets issue – may all your friendships be long and filled with love.

Candia McKormack
Editor, Cotswold Life
Twitter: @cotslifeeditor


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Will you marry me?
When 26-year-old Anne Hathaway married William Shakespeare, he was a comparative youngster at 18.