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Two years ago my middle daughter came back for lunch with this on her shoulder:

We’d already heard how one of the tenants where she worked had left leaving all his animals behind including three cats with kittens.  To save them from being shot or poisoned my daughter rounded up all the mothers and 16 kittens and took them to the SPA.  Two days later the seventeenth kitten, which had been frightened by a dog, emerged from the woodpile.  He was four weeks old and so weak that he could barely walk and of course once he got his furry little paws under the kitchen table there was no question of taking him to rejoin his Mummy and siblings.

Within a week Bankie (he was called Bandit originally  but my husband nicknamed him Ban Ki-moon…) was plump, strong

and  really suffering from his hard life in our household.

We all love Bankie, it’s not his fault that being grey he’s the colour of the night so you absolutely can’t see him as he makes a dash to come inside and he isn’t really the embodiment of evil like several people have claimed (he is a cat after all) but there’s no doubt he has … issues.

My daughter says it’s because he’s still suffering from abandonment issues and a traumatic kittenhood; all the information I read about bringing up very young kittens said that if they survive they become very attuned to humans and enormously affectionate.  All I can say is that in that case Bankie shows his affection by playing ‘bite ankle’ – done at high speed as he dashes from one of the kitchen to the other, ‘bite sleeve’ – enormous fun with my husband’s dressing gown especially if he’s suffering from – ahem – a late night.  Extra points are scored if he gets through the sleeve to the arm below.  Then there’s ‘climb leg’ – only played when the wearer has shorts on.  The object is to hook one paw in the fabric and to use all the crampons on the remaining three paws to inch his way up.  He can be affectionate – at meal times, he used to bite if you weren’t quick enough with the can opener but is intelligent enough to realise that meant the tin went back in the cupboard as his victim searched for plasters, so he’s now sweetness and light.  Funnily enough the one person he never menaces is my daughter.

Currently Bankie is very fond of lounging on our bed, he’s quite well behaved there and even purrs but you’re never quite sure when the voices in his head will start up.  This morning my OH was sitting on the bed, half dressed, taking his blood pressure when Bankie started chirruping and purring and rubbing himself against the OH’s bare back.  Normally  my husband’s blood pressure is about 130 over 90, this morning with the Bankie effect it was 87 over 65.

I wonder if we could patent him.

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