Tug, a long-haired ginger tomcat, joined us as a kitten in March 1998 shortly after Kimberley and I moved into our first garden flat. It became difficult not to think of he and Kimberley as siblings – the squabbles, squinty eyeballs during disagreements, the practical jokes (nearly all Tug on Kimberley), the deep mutual affection and the one-on-one connection. One of the lasting memories is of Tug’s ginger head sticking out of a large green shoulder bag which was flung over one of Kimberley’s shoulders as she rode her bicycle round and round the courtyard. Leather flying helmet and goggles a la WWI would not have been out of place.
Tug would likely have classified himself as a dog, dogs classified him as a nightmare, we didn’t attempt to classify him at all.
Back to the first few minutes of the rest of our lives. We were visiting the SPCA with the intention of choosing a cat/kitten. However, we had totally misread our role. Tug, at six weeks of age a confident little orange furball, strolled out of his shelter and immediately employed Kimberley as his primary agent.
As we arrived home he managed to escape Kimberley’s clutches and sped straight under the old house. I wasn’t at all happy about asking a five-year old child to crawl in and look for him and so we asked the teenage son of friends who lived further up the road if he would help us get the kitten out. This seems to have been exactly the kind of expedition that appealed to Byron who accepted with alacrity before his mother had much opportunity to say anything at all. The pair re-appeared fairly quickly and as a token of gratitude we asked Byron if he would like to name his temporary charge. After a few minutes thought, he decided one of the characters from the show Cats had a catchy name : Rum Tum Tigger. Kimberley and I almost immediately adapted it to Tug, although he had a myriad of other nicknames including BratCat and MonsterCat.
This sets the backdrop for another ten years this colourful character shared with us.