Sullivan is our cat. We bought Sullivan from a horrible house in Kirkstall, Leeds, from a woman selling cats on Gumtree. I’m obviously morally very opposed to buying pets off Gumtree, even more so having see what can only really be described as a small scale kitchen based kitten factory. It smelt bad. The two mummy cats were so scrawny and the boy cats were coming in and out of an open window. It was basically a cat brothel. Who knows who the kitten’s dad was. But the kittens were all big-eyed cuteys, and we were fairly desperate to get a new cat asap so we gave the awful woman our money and saved Sulli from his hellish cat hostel. Also, the expert kitten seller sold us Sullivan as a girl kitty, which was why he was first called Sylvia. But wide eyed Sylvia grew into a boy and so we tried to find a similar boy name and thus Sullivan was born.
Our desperation to get a new cat was due to our lovely beloved previous cat Panda being killed on a busy road near our new house. I’d loved Panda, he was so much a part of our family. I’d got Panda while living on my own, and he was the kitten of my friend’s amazing two cats, so had come from a wonderful home. Dan and I had just started seeing each other, so we both watched him grow from a teeny cheeky kitten and later, when we moved in together, into the most chilled out cat. I think Panda was only two when he died, but I was incredibly upset by the loss and our house was terribly empty without him. Getting a new cat was very much the right thing to do for us, and a new kitten definitely brought the house back to life.
Sullivan was a great kitten, and is indeed a lovely cat, but he’s never really outgrown the label of Panda replacement. So it makes me very happy that he and Rose love each other very much so that he has his own role in our family, different to that which Panda had. We’re not people who dote on our pet all day long, in fact most of our communication with Sullivan is barked “get off!” “don’t” “go on then!”‘s. Sullivan goes out for most of the day every day, and is very much an independent chap. But we’re still happy to have him around.
After Rose was born Sullivan would worriedly wait outside the bedroom door whenever she was crying. He always loved being around her and never lost his temper with her right through her baby/toddler years. Now that she’s bigger and big enough to take care of herself a bit he’s not quite as hesitant to give her a swipe if she’s being mean to him, which is fair enough really! We live on a quiet little street, but oddly there is a big Sainsbury’s supermarket very nearby at the end of the street and down a little alley. We go there often. And almost every time we do Sullivan will follow Rose, hide in a bush outside while we shop, and then dive out and follow her home again! He also follows us (her) to the allotment, which is also luckily very near our house, and they love nothing more than racing each other home. She can shout at him even louder than we do, but she loves him very much and it’s made for a great set of photos watching their relationship grow as she has.