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The cat that glues our family together

The cat that glues our family together

by Rebecca
(Christchurch, New Zealand)

Classic cat face

Furry legwarmers

Basil's first day with us

The tabby tummy

My husband Phillip never used to like cats but by the time my tabby, Pixel, died at the advanced age of 19 he'd known her for 15 years and that had changed.

We adopted a rescue kitten in 2006, but sadly only had him for two years; his unexpected death devastated our little family as he was Phillip's best wee mate, and his two sisters (other rescue kitties) were just lost without him. We realised we needed a third cat to balance the family again; Phillip insisted on one as like Boofycat as possible, I knew one would just be 'right' no matter what the age/gender/looks.

When I rang our adoption contact (the head nurse at our vet's practice) they'd just neutered two adolescent long-haired males one of which was a tabby (like Boofy!). I insisted we go and see him, and got a better result than I could have hoped - mutual love at first sight for him and Phillip! This kitten was so sad - a poor underfed little mite, starved to nothing but lank fur over skin & bone, eyes almost all black because he was so scared... but when Phillip went into a separate room with him all this kitten wanted to do was get closer to him. And his lovely long almost-plumy tail (Boofy again!) was up and waving the whole time too. He came home with us two days later as soon as we got the ok from the vet!

When we got him he was 6/7 months old and weighed a skinny 3 kilos; his eyes (once he relaxed) turned out to be golden with a green inner ring; his fur is "mackerel" or "butterfly" tabby and although mostly black he has some lovely creamy caramel mixed in, and classic stripy tabby legs and spotted belly. His tail is the reason for his name - BASIL BRUSH, like the English fox puppet - and it's grown out from lanky fluff to sheer magnificence. We don't know his exact breed - most likely several! - but I believe it's NFC, that seems to be the dominant part as specific NFC characteristics like the triangular head, long ear furnishings, BIG feet with fluffy toes, uptilted eyes, etc, are really obvious in him, and there are NFC breeders here in NZ.

In the last 2 years Basil has really grown - his weight has doubled, he's inches taller, his fur has fluffed out and grown beautifully silky. He's got funny long lanky legs, he's strong and incredibly fast - which the girls love, because they can race and chase each other around the lawn and up & down trees, up & over the bed... our home is just one big playground! Basil adores us and over 2 years has just become more & more cuddly and smoochy; he adores his sisters too, and when they're not play-chasing there will be mutual washing followed by a cuddly pile of sleeping cats. He doesn't just like affection, he NEEDS it, and demands pats when he thinks it's been too long. He answers to 'Basil', 'Bazzycat'... and 'Boo' - because he's Just. So. Bootiful.

Basil & Phillip have a special bond: 4 months after Basil joined us Phillip was seriously ill - he'd had at least one possibly two undiagnosed heart attacks which he thought was just food poisoning, and was lying at home feeling awful for 5 days until we took him in to Emergency. Basil did not leave Phillip's side while he lay sick, and missed him hugely while he (Phillip) was in hospital. Even now we know if Phillip is not right because Basil hangs around him even more than usual. Basil is a truly special cat because he's done so much to heal our family; every day, being around him makes us all happier, the two girls are much better with people than they used to be... and just the thought of our Boocat makes Phillip and me smile.


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The cat that glues our family together

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Aug 03, 2011
chocolate boxing
by: Alix

Fergus cats are always photogenic 🙂

Jul 25, 2011
Basil update
by: Rebecca

thanks 🙂 we'd like to take credit for the photo but it's all Basil - all Phill has to do is hold the camera and he wants to pose!

UPDATE: Christchurch just had the most snow we've had for 16 years, so Basil has seen his first snow... and yes his big fluffy feet ARE good snowshoes.

Jul 25, 2011
nice article
by: Kathy W

I liked your story it was a great positive way for me to start my day. Your cats are all beautiful. Im glad you rescued them, you and your boyfriend both have big hearts.

Jul 24, 2011
Nice story
by: Michael

I really liked your story too. It is very positive and shows how the relationship between cat and human can be so beneficial to both.

And Basil is very handsome as Ruth says. He is a cracking good cat. That photo heading the page is a cracking good photo too.

Jul 24, 2011
To Rebecca
by: Ruth

I so much enjoyed reading your article and seeing your photos, your obvious love for cats just shines out !
Basil is a very handsome boy and I'm so glad he has such a wonderful home with you.
It's great that your husband was converted to being a cat lover too, cats can work magic that way.
Having cats around is good for your health, they make very good 'nurses' lol
I hope Philip is back to his full health soon.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • 4 years ago after the Christchurch earthquakes Basil became very territorial, began fighting. One incident 2 years ago got him the name "chickenfoot" - one back paw was bitten so badly it had to be shaved, looked like a little drumstick. We think that's when it happened... he's just been tested positive for FIV. He's had a full bank of blood-tests done, at present his immune system is NOT compromised. We decided he has the right to outdoor freedom during the day - he loves the backyard, loves being out there with us and the 2 girls. But he has to come in at dusk to cut down the risk of exposure to other cats, we don't want him spreading or catching anything. We've added a bigger cat-condo, more toys, we play with him and give him treats AFTER he comes inside; we've started a specific fund for his future vet bills. We know the signs in him that he's not well and with care he'll be able to stay the same funny crazy cat for a good few years.

    • Wow, a good story and a bit sad. Also I find the effect of the earthquake very interesting. You are doing really nice work to look after him. There is a heavy responsibility looking after a FIV positive cat. More to think about. Thanks for sharing, Rebecca.

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